It is time for NASCAR to put an end to the feud between Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards.
Edwards purposely sent Keselowski careening into the wall in the Nationwide Series race last Saturday night.
Keselowski could have been seriously hurt. The same with Shelby Howard, who plowed into a helpless Keselowski as his car sat sideways.
Howard was one of several drivers who was an innocent victim in the bitter feud.
And it could get worse if NASCAR doesn’t punish Edwards or threaten to park him for a race in the Sprint and Nationwide Series if he takes Keselowski out again. That could cost him a spot in the Sprint Cup Chase and wouldn’t endear him to owner Jack Roush or his sponsors.
Keselowski should also be warned about any retribution.
Edwards admitted that he took Keselowski out because Keselowski had bumped him up the track to take the lead earlier on the last lap. But Keselowski didn’t take him out.
Edwards was put on probation for sending Keselowski flying dangerously with a deliberate hit in the March 7 Sprint Cup race in Atlanta so Edwards simply didn’t get the message or chose to ignore it.
The second-running Keselowski had sent leader Edwards flying at Talladega in 2009 without punishment.
At the outset of the season, NASCAR officials, in an attempt to boost sagging attendance and TV ratings, let it be known that they were going to allow the drivers to police themselves. In other words, there was no threat of punishment if somebody bumped the leader out on the last lap to earn the win.
Confrontation sells and puts people in the seats, they felt.
So, is it worth it to have collateral damage in the name of ratings and attendance? Is it okay if someone suffers a broken leg or worse because they got caught up in a wreck caused by feuding drivers?
A resounding NO!
If NASCAR doesn’t intervene, its obvious answer is “yes.”
NASCAR is in the midst of an image problem.
Four-time Sprint Cup points champ Jimmie Johnson has the charisma of a Buckingham Palace guard. Dale Earnhardt Jr., the series’ most popular driver, finished 25h in points a year ago and has only one Sprint Cup win in four years.
Earnhardt Jr. is currently 13th in points and could very well make The Chase by finishing the first 26 races in the top 12 in points. But who knows?
They are thinking of revamping the points and here is how they should do it: The 12 Chase qualifiers should continue to be seeded based on their finishes.
A driver should receive 20 points for a win, 15 for a top-five finish (second through fifth); 10 for a top-10 finish (sixth through 10th) and five points for finishing 11th through 20th.
Over the final 10 races, they should follow the above-mentioned points allocation along with awarding points based solely on how they finish among the 12 Chase drivers.
The highest-finishing Chase driver should earn 120 points, the second-highest finisher should earn 110 and so on in 10-point increments. So if a Chase driver wins a race, he would receive 140 points (120 plus 20).
Based on this formula, current points leader Kevin Harvick would currently have 320 points with Jeff Gordon at 300, Jimmie Johnson at 285 and Denny Hamlin at 260.
If the Chase started this weekend, Harvick would have been awarded 120 points for leading the points, he would have 40 more points for two wins, 90 points for six other top-fives, 50 for five other top-10s (6th through 10th) and 20 for four top-20s (11th through 20th).