Of all the changes in NASCAR in 2010, none got folks more riled up than the decision by the sanctioning body to loosen its hold on the behavior of its drivers.
When NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said “We will put it back in the hands of the drivers and we will say, ‘Boys have at it and have a good time,’” it profoundly changed the nature of the on-track conduct.
And in 2010, no two boys had at it with more intensity and passion than Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski. The two had contact going for the victory at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2009, with Edwards getting the short end and going airborne and into the catchfence.
But Edwards and Keselowski took it to a whole new level in 2010. At Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, Edwards crashed early in the Sprint Cup race, which he blamed on Keselowski not giving him enough room. Late in the race, Edwards, turned his steering wheel to the right and sent Keselowski’s Penske Racing Charger upside down on its roof.
And then at a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Gateway International Raceway in July, Keselowski bumped Edwards out of the lead in Turn 1. As the two raced to the checkered flag, Edwards turned Keselowski, leading to an eight-car pileup on the frontstretch.
The Edwards-Keselowski battle is one of the nominees in the category of “Best Rivalry” in this year’s fifth annual SPEED Performance Awards. To vote for this entry or any of the other nominees, click here: http://speedperformanceawards.com/category/best_rivalry.
Fans can vote on nine categories, including the RACER Magazine Rookie of the Year. The remaining categories for fan-selected SPEED Performance Awards include Best Move, Biggest Hit, Best Rivalry, Oops, Best Finish, Best Comeback, Temper Temper and Biggest Upset.
For more info, check out www.speedperformanceawards.com.
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.