RICHMOND, Va. – To bump or not to bump? That is the question.
The person with the most eloquent answer to that existential question wasn’t Carl Edwards, who bumped his way to victory in Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
And it wasn’t Kyle Busch, the victim of the nudge by teammate Edwards that sent his No. 18 Toyota up the track in the final corner and out of Victory Lane.
No, the person with the best perspective on the teammate-on-teammate contact was Dave Rogers, who used to be Busch’s crew chief and now serves in that capacity for Edwards.
After Edwards caught Busch on the last lap and moved him for the win, Rogers talked about the relationships between the drivers and between himself and No. 18 crew chief Adam Stevens.
“Adam and I are great friends,” Rogers said. “Kyle and I are great friends. So I’m not worried about any relations. If we look at the big picture, today was a great day for NASCAR. Our fans don’t want to see teammate orders. They don’t deserve teammates to fall in line. They deserve good, hard racing.
“So I think today was a great day for the sport. It stinks that we had to move a teammate. I’m sure Adam and I will talk about it, and Carl and Kyle will talk about it. But I think it would be very disappointing to our fans if (owner) Joe (Gibbs) imposed a team order and told us, ‘Hey, have a parade instead of a race.’
“There’s going to be plenty of days that the 18 is faster than us, and they’ll probably get to our back bumper and move us. We’ll go down to Victory Lane, shake their hands, tell them ‘Good job.’ That’s just a testament to Joe Gibbs Racing, allowing us to put ourselves in that position.”