Mar 9, 2010
Helton said the decision came "after meeting and discussing the events Sunday evening, all day Monday and [Tuesday] morning." Helton added that an additional meeting "that was still being set" would be arranged between NASCAR officials, team owners Jack Roush and Roger Penske and the two drivers.
"We feel that will come before the Saturday or Sunday of the Bristol weekend," Helton said.
Helton said the fact that Keselowski's car went airborne at a 1.5-mile track was a bigger issue than Edwards' action.
Helton's participation in a national teleconference was quickly scheduled and announced less than 90 minutes in advance in the aftermath of the vicious accident in the late stages of Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500.
With two laps remaining of the scheduled 325-lap event on the high-speed 1.5-mile track -- where two days before Dale Earnhardt Jr. had clocked the fastest qualifying lap ever recorded by NASCAR's new car, 192.761 mph -- Keselowski's Dodge flipped into the frontstretch fence following contact from Edwards' Ford.
FOX Sports' TV replays showed Edwards' white-gloved hands turning his steering wheel to the right, into the back of Keselowski's car, which caused it to spin backwards. The car then lifted into the air and turned over, striking the top of the fence, upside-down with the driver's-side corner of the windshield "A-post."
NASCAR immediately parked Edwards, who had made another lap of the race track after the contact. Upon getting the word on his in-car radio, Edwards drove the wrong way up pit road to turn into the Sprint Cup garage area to park at his hauler.
Keselowski was helped from his car and walked to an ambulance. After being examined in the track's infield care center, Keselowski emerged and promised that actions such as Edwards' would result in injuries to either another driver or to fans.
"To come back and intentionally wreck someone, that's not cool -- you could have killed someone in the grandstands," Keselowski said. "It will be interesting to see how NASCAR reacts to it. They have the ball. If they're going to allow people to intentionally wreck each other at tracks this fast, we will hurt someone either in the cars or in the grandstands.
After getting out of his car at the track, Edwards didn't deny spinning Keselowski but said flipping the younger driver's car wasn't his intent. Later Sunday evening, in an entry on his Facebook page, Edwards said "his code" dictated that he take action immediately.
Earlier in the race, Edwards and Keselowski's cars made contact when Edwards attempted to move his Roush Fenway Racing Ford from an upper lane to a lower lane already occupied by Keselowski's Penske Racing Dodge.
The contact caused Edwards' car to skitter up the track, where it hit Joey Logano's Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, causing both Edwards' and Logano's cars to hit the wall. Edwards spent more than 150 laps in the garage while his crew made repairs.
Edwards came back on the track in 41st and could have made up three positions -- and nine championship points -- by running to the end of the race. When he was parked, Edwards ended up 39th and lost the chance to overtake Joe Nemechek, who was already out of the race.