This week, SPEED.com counts down the five best NASCAR Nationwide Series races of the 2010 season. No. 3 is the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway.
During the 2010 season, no two boys had at it more than Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards. And it all came to a head on a hot July night during the Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Gateway International Raceway.
On the final restart, Keselowski nudged leader Edwards in Turn 1, enough to move him out of the preferred line, which allowed Keselowski to take the lead. Coming to the checkered flag, Edwards turned left, never lifted and basically ran over Keselowski, who went hard, driver’s-side first into the outside wall, then bounced across the track, where he was rammed at full speed by Shelby Howard. The accident destroyed Keselowski’s car and ultimately involved eight other cars.
Afterwards, Edwards said he was completely justified.
“There on that last lap, I would have won the race if he hadn’t have bumped me in Turn 1 and he would have finished second,” Edwards said. “And the way it went, he bumped me and he finished wherever he finished and I still won the race. That was the only way I could see the race turning out fair. That’s my job — to win that race and to make sure that I don’t get walked on or get something taken away from me that’s mine.”
Edwards offered no apologies.
“We had a great restart,” he said. “My guys built me a great car. We came to the checkered flag, and I hate to see stuff tore up, but we came here to win and he took it from us there in Turn 1. Just an awesome race. ... I'm sure some of them don't like that win — Brad Keselowski fans and stuff — but, man, I just couldn't let him take it from me. I had to do what I had to do."
Not surprisingly, Keselowski was unhappy afterwards.
“He turned left into me and wrecked me on purpose,” Keselowski said of Edwards. “I gave him the lane, and he still wrecked me. … I figured out a way to beat him. He wasn't happy with me, so he wrecked me. Wrecking down the straightaway is never cool, whether it's at 200 miles per hour or 120. I'm sorry that's the way it had to end.”
Keselowski's father, former racer Bob Keselowski, was even more incensed.
“Brad got into Carl getting out of Turn 1 — racing — they bumped, they rubbed, typical rubbing-racing deal,” Bob Keselowski said. “Carl flipped out like he did at Atlanta and tried to kill the kid. I'm sick and tired of this. I'll get my own damn uniform back on and take care of this. He ain't going to kill my boy. He just overreacted so bad. If he wanted to bump Brad, it's one thing. But don't drive him through the inside guardrail. Don't put him in the grandstands at Atlanta. That's asinine.”
Ultimately, NASCAR put both drivers on probation for the rest of the year. The two had no further incidents the remainder of the year, but there was no doubt that this was one of the highlight reel moments of the year.
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.