Friction was created within the Joe Gibbs Racing team this past weekend at the Toyota Owners 400 Race at Richmond International Raceway. Carl Edwards’ “bump and run” on teammate Kyle Busch was the first ever last-lap pass at Richmond International Raceway. There has been a lot of commotion surrounding this move and it has provoked conversation over whether teammates should do that to each other. One side argues that competition within teams is necessary to prevent races from becoming a “follow the leader game.” The opposing side argues that respect for teammates at a higher rank within the team trumps all else. It is no secret however that good hard racing sells – and with the decrease in fan base, exciting races are now a necessity. Although Edwards’ nudge was an aggressive move, it was in fact a clean one and added a lot of hype surrounding the event.
“The bump” – as people have come to refer to it as – quickly led to “the flip.” Carl Edwards celebrated his victory with a perfect flip off of the driver side window then preceded to engage in the regular victory celebrations with his team. In follow-up interviews, Busch and Edwards both acted very graceful about the interaction on the track. Kyle Busch was short and to the point but he didn’t bad mouth his teammate or pop off. Edwards acknowledged it was a hard decision for him to make and downplayed the bump by highlighting that their team still secured first and second place in the race. Dave Rodgers, the crew chief for Carl Edwards, commented on the conversations that would be taking place to smooth over any tensions.
Although the team seems to be acting as a cohesive unit, fans can’t help but wonder if The Bump and The Flip will ultimately lead to “The Fallout” of team members Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch of the Joe Gibbs Racing team.