Not even a week off from Sprint Cup racing could take the boiling pot of opinion off the stove after Carl Edwards' spin and flip of Brad Keselowski during the last race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
It's doubtful that a three-race probation for Edwards will do anything to calm the waters.
And Keselowski has spent the past week tossing a few logs on the fire.
The Brad-Carl-and-Other-41 show is Sunday on the notorious half-mile bullring at Bristol Motor Speedway, where only the pace car leaves the track without body damage.
Bristol has a tradition of letting drivers pick songs to play when introduced to the crowd before the race. Keselowski took advantage of the request line and picked "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The song backs up his promise/threat not to alter his aggressive driving style after logging some frequent-flier feet at Atlanta.
Edwards chose "Black Betty" by Spiderbait. The only lyric marginally relevant to Atlanta in the hard-charging remake of a 1930s folk song is "Black Betty had a child. The damn thing gone wild." Not certain which child (Edwards or Keselowski) the lyric refers to.
Bristol Cup races don't need hype. About 160,000 will show up to watch what drivers have said is like tossing 43 Hot Wheels cars into a blender and turning the speed to frappe.
The centerpiece for Sunday's race will be seeing if Edwards and Keselowski behave like good little boys or whether one tries to catapult the other into orbit as NASCAR continues its latest mantra of "have at it, boys." Race commentators will perpetuate the rivalry, just like I am. The over/under on references to the Atlanta incident is 13, on the number of replays five.
Regarding my column last week that took Edwards to task for being a bully: A tally of comments supported my position, 18-12.
DeLana Harvick, wife of Cup driver Kevin Harvick, tweeted last Friday that "I found this article to best describe my feelings on last weekend's ordeal." She included a link to last week's column.
Opinions were black or white; no one sat on the fence, possibly for fear a race car would sail into it.
Reader Susan Roach wrote: "I for one was truly horrified watching (Edwards') attack on Brad Keselowski. You have echoed my every thought about this premeditated incident. ... How can someone who has been so blessed by this sport be so petty and gutless? Once again thank you for saying what so many people, I'm sure, feel about this whole sordid event."
Giving balance to opinions, Dave Clark, put the blame on Keselowski: "I am not a Carl Edwards fan at all, but this time he was right to do what he did! Everyone is saying poor Brad ... and making him out to be the good guy. WRONG!
"(Keselowski's) reckless aggressive driving has been going on since he started driving, and it's about time someone paid him back a bit. I think you'll see other drivers give him a bump in the future, and he deserves every one of them until he learns to be the pro he says he is!"
This will not be the end of the Edwards-Keselowski feud.
You can bet NASCAR, its racetracks and TV partners are counting on it.
So am I.
Jeff Wolf's motor sports column is published Friday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0247. Visit Wolf's motor sports blog at lvrj.com/blogs/heavypedal/ throughout the week.