Friday, July 23, 2010

Edwards Gets Candid About Brad K Incident

Carl Edwards faced a barrage of media questions today regarding his Nationwide dustup with Brad Keselowski and the resulting penalties handed down this week by NASCAR officials.

Edwards didn't field many softballs and he seemed to answer each question with candor and honesty.  In case you missed it, here are a few of the highlights -

Q: What is your response to the penalties?

"Immediately after the race last week I felt like what I did was right and it was a fair outcome to the race, and I felt like it was within NASCAR’s boundaries that they had set. I think NASCAR felt the same way right then, but then as the week went on, I had the chance to talk to Mike Helton and I understand and respect that those other teams that were caught up in that wreck that Brad and I had initiated, I mean, those guys are working hard. I’ve been in that position, working hard for sponsorship and working hard for finishes, and I feel that NASCAR’s penalty is fair. I talked to Jack and Geoff Smith and I don’t plan on appealing it. I think it’s fair in that respect. I sincerely apologize to those guys that were caught up in that wreck. I would rather finish second in a good race than have to win a race the way I won the race. Now, I’m not gonna finish second in a race the way that one was going, but I respect NASCAR’s decision."

Q: Is it personal between you two?

 "There’s nothing personal between Brad and I – from my side there’s not. I have a lot of respect for him and what he does on the race track, but the problem is that he can’t just run into me to get an advantage, especially for wins. That’s happened way too much between us. The part I’m real happy with on these penalties, I can accept my penalty, but I’m happy that NASCAR recognized that Brad needed to be penalized too – that my race car could have been the one turned around, run into by people behind me, all in pursuit of a win. I think it’s important that NASCAR recognized that."

Q: If it wasn't Brad in the other car, would you have finished that race the same way?

"If that were somebody in that car that we hadn’t had all the trouble before, then that finish would have turned out differently, that’s for sure. Because I maybe could have accepted that it was unintentional, but Brad is a really good race car driver and he knows what he’s doing. I know that and he knows that, and that’s why that race went the way it did."

Q:  How would you have raced him to get the lead if the positions were reversed on the last lap?

"I would not have hit his car, if I could. And if I did hit his car, I would like to think I wouldn’t take advantage of it as much as he did. So, it’s like I said a minute ago, I would truthfully rather have finished second in that race, and had a good race, which, I think if he wouldn’t have hit me, he still would have been able to beat me. He had a stronger car. I would rather that than the way the race went. I mean, we had an unbelievable race 30 laps previous to that. We raced side-by-side. It’s just a little bit coincidental that at the last lap he, oops, he accidentally messed and got the winning advantage."

Q: It's not okay to move somebody out of the way?

"It’s not okay to move me out of the way. If somebody else wants to let people move them out of the way for the win, that’s okay with me. They can do whatever they like, but I can’t allow myself to be run over like that. I’m not gonna win championships like that."

Q: People see all this stuff and wonder who is the real Carl.  Can you understand that?

"I can understand that, but the people who know me and the people who take time to look at the entire picture understand that it is very possible to be kind, but not be weak. There’s a big difference, and I feel as a person it’s my job to be kind to people, treat everyone the way I’d like to be treated, but I will not be walked on. I won’t be stepped on. The people who are my fans and the people who know me respect that, and the other ones, if they don’t respect that, it’s either they can’t understand it or they don’t want to, and that’s a good enough reason for people to not like me, I guess, and that’s okay."

Q: There's a fine line between being walked on and bullying and a lot of people have been saying this week that you're a bully. Do you worry about that and how do you know where the line is between standing up for yourself and being a bully?

"In competition it’s really easy to determine that line. Saturday night was a perfect example. Somebody takes something from you in competition and they take it unfairly, then you either accept that and you can go on and live with that, which, Saturday night I couldn’t, or you go get it back. That’s for other people to decide. I just go do the very best I can. When I was done, I walked out of that race track with my head held high."

Photo info: Driver Carl Edwards pushes his car during practice for the NASCAR Brickyard 400 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis today -  Associated Press.

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