A Little Consistency Goes a Long Way

In April 2002, Kevin Harvick was competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, NASCAR's third highest touring series, in the Advanced Auto Parts 250 at Martinvsville, Virginia when he tangled with the No. 20 truck of Coy Gibbs. NASCAR viewed the incident as intentional and black flagged Harvick and ordered him out of the truck and out of the event. Further, NASCAR suspended Harvick from competition the rest of the weekend preventing him from competing in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Virginia 500.

Read the full story from NASCAR's website

NASCAR state they felt it was a blatant intentional act, and thought it looked like retaliation. The sanctioning body decided it had to step in and respond to the driver's actions, so they suspended him.

This past weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Carl Edwards attempted to turn down in front of Brad Keselowski early in the going but was not quite clear of the No. 12 Dodge. Video replays show Keselowski turn lower to try to avoid Edwards but the two made contact and Edwards spun. The contact caused enough damage to Edwards No. 99 Ford that he spent 150 laps in the garage for repairs.

With less than 20 laps left in the event, Edwards returned to the track. He attempted to ram Keselowski's No. 12 but missed and almost hit the wall. He ran Keselowski back down on the front stretch and turned into the No. 12 Dodge. Replays show his white driving gloves on the steering wheel making a very sudden and hard right hand turn into Keselowski's Dodge. The bright red No. 12 Penske Dodge turned sideways from the contact and became airborne landing hard into the wall and the track surface on its roof.

The damage to the car was so severe some of the 1 3/4 inch .095 wall thickness chromemoly roll cage tubing was mashed flat. Fortunately for Keselowski, the young driver escaped dazed but uninjured.

NASCAR black flagged Edwards and ordered him to immediately take the No. 99 Ford to the garage and then report directly to the NASCAR Official's trailer. Edwards responded by driving down pit road the wrong direction and then heading to the garage.

When interviewed by the media, Edwards said, "Brad knows the deal between him and I. The scary part was his car went airborne, which was not at all what I expected. At the end of the day, we're out here to race and people have to have respect for one another and I have a lot of respect for people's safety. I wish it wouldn't have gone like it did, but I'm glad he's OK and we'll just go on and race some more and maybe him and I won't get in anymore incidents together. That would be the best thing. I'm just glad everybody is alright."

Edwards comments clearly indicated his actions were intentional. A driver 150 laps down crashing another that is running in the top ten with a handful of laps left in a race is a blatant action. So, the NASCAR world waited for Tuesday when the sanctioning body hands down its judgements for anything occurring during the race weekend. Many expected that NASCAR would suspend the driver from competition for one week as has been its action in the past for such incidents.

Instead, NASCAR's Mike Helton announced they would place the driver on probation for 3 events meaning that NASCAR would watch him.

The inconsistency of rule enforcement has been a black eye that NASCAR has carried for years. On Tuesday, the sanctioning body proved that the only thing consistent with its rulings are its traditional inconsistencies.

Perhaps in a period of low attendance and low television ratings, the series has decided that this drama is good publicity and will fill the stands at Bristol in 2 weeks and have the folks tuning in at home to see if Keselowski seeks revenge at Bristol.

For a little history on Carl Edwards, enjoy the following:


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