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NASCAR has ruled on the Carl Edwards-Brad Keselowski incident at Atlanta. Edwards will be placed on probation, but no further penalty will be assessed. No suspension, no fine, no loss of points.
NASCAR had no choice. When its chairman, Brian France, proclaimed in January that NASCAR Sprint Cup racing was a full-contact sport, he meant it. When Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, said, "Have at it, boys," he turned them loose.
In neither of those statements is there a qualifier. Nobody said, "But don't go too far." There was no inference that there was a line.
So there was no standard, no line for NASCAR to point to in order to tell Edwards he went too far. And as over the top were the results of Edwards' instant justice, NASCAR really couldn't issue severe punishment on Edwards.
You can bet this week that NASCAR will meet with the drivers and teams to discuss the issue. The United States Supreme Court ruled that it "knows pornography when it sees it." NASCAR will offer a similar dictum about future instances of on-track justice. It will "know it when it sees it." And it will rule accordingly.
But today, with no standard established, NASCAR did the right thing.
Have at it, boys.