Lost in all the shuffle of Spingate has been the last restart where it looked like Carl Edwards jumped before second place running Paul Menard had a chance to hit the gas. Restarts have been a big source of controversy throughout the 2013 season and this was another example of where it appeared the leader got a big jump.
Not so fast as Edwards explained to media members gather in Chicago Thursday afternoon, in preparation for this weekend’s Chase kick off. “Paul (Menard) spun the tires, he actually ran into my door a little trying to get his car straightened out. I thought, ‘Man, what am I supposed to do here.’ I didn’t know if I was supposed to lift of how much I would have to lift. Fortunately NASCAR saw that he spun his tires and Paul said he spun the tires.”
Overall restarts are just an issue because of what can happen when a driver, leader or not, spins their tires trying to take off. “What if he had 100 laps on the tires and not grip and the whole field had four. Are we all supposed to go at his pace? I don’t know the answer to that. I think that either, not just as the second place guy, but as the leader it puts everyone in a tough position.”
Like anything in racing, drivers are given seconds to make decisions. “About a tenth of a second. It is tough and it all depends on how it looks too. No one is in that car with me…It is tough man. This thing, NASCAR has to make a lot of judgment calls and I don’t envy that position.”
What Edwards does have on his side is actually Menard, the driver who helped create this. Fans and media have been going after the fact Edwards jumped the start, but the drivers involved agree that he didn’t. “At least Paul and I agreed on what happened. I thought that was very respectful of him. He texted me after hoping that I didn’t catch too much grief because of him spinning his tires. That meant a lot. A lot of guys take advantage of a situation like that and fight you in the media over it and stuff like that. I thought that was pretty cool of Paul.”
Edwards will look to get an edge up on the competition going into the start of the Chase and hopefully not be in Menard’s spot the next time. The action this weekend gets underway on Sunday when the GEICO 400 is run at the Chicagoland Speedway. It can be seen on ESPN starting at 2 PM EST.