HAMPTON, Ga. – Carl Edwards might have defined the limits of a policy and the consequences of a feud on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
More than 150 laps down after being bumped up into the wall and Joey Logano early in the Kobalt Tools 500 by Brad Keselowski, Edwards appeared to intentionally wreck his old foe from behind as he ran sixth with two laps left.
NASCAR immediately ordered Edwards to park.
Edwards’ tap sent Keselowski’s No. 12 Dodge skidding and then airborne. The car slammed upside down and sideways into an outside barrier, crushing the top.
Keselowski, who was woozy but unhurt, called for the suspension of a driver with whom he’s had a sour relationship since last spring.
“To come back and just intentionally wreck someone, that's not cool,” Keselowski said.
“He could have killed someone in the grandstands. I know it's a little ironic that it's me saying that, but at least I didn't do it intentionally when it happened. ...
"If (NASCAR is) going to allow people to intentionally wreck each other at tracks this fast," Keselowski said, "we will hurt someone, either in the cars or the grandstands.”
Last April, Keselowski and Edwards made contact in the final stretch at Talladega Superspeedway. As Keselowski raced ahead and took his first Sprint Cup victory, Edwards took off.
The No. 99 Ford left the asphalt, twisted in midair and careened sideways into the catch fence in one of NASCAR's more spectacular wrecks in recent memory.
Keselowski deflected blame for the first incident on Sunday. And while he saw the symmetry in their violent confrontations, Keselowski noted that he had been racing Edwards for the victory when they made contact at Talladega.
Keselowski “knows the deal between him and I,” Edwards said, adding that he wished “that wouldn't have gone like it did.”
NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton, whose “Boys, have at it, and have some fun,” became the mantra of NASCAR’s new self-policing mindset, said Sunday's incident “looked like it could have been a payback.”
He said officials would “look at the severity of the accident,” before making a formal determination. Any penalties could be expected Monday or Tuesday.