Edwards plays the bully
Franklin County Times
It looks like there is trouble brewing among the Cat in the Hat's bunch over at Roush Fenway Racing.
What was Carl Edwards' intention after the race at Martinsville? If you haven't seen the video clip, Matt Kenseth was about to be interviewed on the Speed Channel after the race when Edwards appears, in view of the camera, and pushed Kenseth down the pit-wall and proceeds to have a very animated discussion.
Then, after Edwards jumped on the other side of the pit-wall, Cousin Carl did his best impersonation of Hulk Hogan and faked a punch at Kenseth. Now you might say that the Roush teammates were just joking around and Carlreally wouldn't punch Kenseth.
Not hardly – if you saw the clip, you saw the look on Kenseth's face, and I don't think he thought it was a joking matter. Evidently, this tiff between the two teammates has been brewing for a couple of months now. I guess Carl thought the best way to handle the situation was to confront Kenseth, in view of a running camera, and threaten to beat him up.
Did I mention that these guys are teammates? Well, at least their cars are owned by the same guy. Now, it seems the other Roush drivers are letting their real feelings for Carl come through. Both Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray have stated publicly that Edwards stepped over the line and are squarely siding with enseth. Only rookie David Ragan has remained silent on this issue. Even the ultimate diplomat, Mark Martin, couldn't make sense of this situation.
Maybe the midwestern, constantly smiling, health nut, back-flipping, aw-shucks persona of Edwards has another side, a darker side. Look at the clip for yourself – you can find it on YouTube – looks to me like Edwards was playing the school-yard bully. It was intimidation at its best, with the crooked little smile that Edwards gives Kenseth when he acted like he was going to throw a punch.
I don't know if we have seen the last of this deal. Remember the last guy who acted up under the Roush umbrella? That guy was Kurt Busch and Roush parked him for the final three races of the year.
With only four races before a champion is crowned in Miami, it looks like it is a two-man race. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are in the top two positions in the standings. Gordon is 53 points ahead of Johnson, who is 62 points ahead of third-place Clint Bowyer. Obviously, much can happen in the four remaining races, but it is hard to believe that one of the two Hendrick drivers will not take the championship.
The four races remaining are at Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. Both Gordon and Johnson have had success through their careers at those tracks. Gordon has 5 wins, 28 top 5 finishes, and 52 top 10's while Johnson has 2 wins,15 top 5's, and 24 top 10's at the next four venues.
It will not take winning races for one of these two guys to win the Cup – it will take solid finishes. But, one blown engine or a wreck will throw the entire chase into a jumble and we are set up for a wild finish. Atlanta has produced some of the closest finishes in NASCAR history and here's hoping that the race Sunday is no different. My pick to win the race is Tony Stewart.
Jeff Findley is a guest columnist for the Franklin County Times. Findley is the publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald.