The tussle between Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards eight days ago was more sumo than fisticuffs. More shuffle than scuffle.
Mixed martial arts athletes get more physical when they're warming up. Alone.
Let's face it, racers are not good fighters.
But Edwards picked a fight with the wrong guy.
He reacted to Harvick's comment in a postrace interview the week before that Edwards was "riding around like a pansy" before he caused a late-race pileup in Talladega, Ala. Edwards accepted blame for taking out himself, teammate Greg Biffle, Harvick and others.
The denigrating pansy reference left Edwards heartbroken. He left a sarcastic note on Harvick's plane before leaving Talladega. Last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Edwards ventured too close to Harvick's garage stall. Heated words were exchanged. Harvick tried to walk away but was turned by Edwards.
A couple of pushes, a couple of choke holds. Draw.
Edwards withdrew into his aw-shucks public demeanor this week by regretting the incident. He probably removed his sunglasses so reporters could see eyes reflecting sincerity and regret. Yeah, right.
Edwards' schlock is getting old.
My image is vivid of him faking a punch at teammate Matt Kenseth on pit road as Kenseth was being interviewed after the March race in Martinsville, Va. Edwards grabbed Kenseth and pushed him before cocking his fist as if to strike.
That bluff showed the bully side of Edwards, and like most bullies, the bad-boy persona is fake, about as fake as his pitch for that foul-tasting, vitamin-laced water in a bottle.
A bully becomes a pansy when he picks a fight with the wrong guy.
Harvick is 3 inches shorter and about 20 pounds lighter than Edwards. But Harvick grew up in hardscrabble Bakersfield, Calif. That's a tough, blue-collar town. Edwards hails from Missouri -- the "Show Me" state -- and that's what Harvick did.
Edwards needs to shed his tough-guy act or embrace it.
How tough can you be if your sponsor's mascot is a duck and a feathery fowl is embroidered on the back of your firesuit? Actually, that's what Edwards should do if a tough guy like Harvick takes a swing: duck.
This was the best public skirmish at a race since A.J. Foyt knocked down Arie Luyendyk after an IndyCar race in 1996. Luyendyk charged into the winner's circle when he thought he won the race instead of Foyt's driver. Luyendyk was right and awarded the win, but that was after Foyt, then 62, hit him a couple of times in the back of the head and shoved him to the ground.
The only true punches at races this decade were thrown at -- and connected with -- Kurt Busch's face.
He was sucker-punched in 2003 by Jimmy Spencer, who reached into Busch's car to throw down. And at Daytona this year, Tony Stewart allegedly round-housed Busch in NASCAR's mobile office after an on-track encounter and Busch's reference in a meeting to Stewart's weight gain.
Nothing in NASCAR, however, has topped the fight after the 1979 Daytona 500 when Bobby and Donnie Unser tag-teamed Cale Yarborough. There was helmet swinging, punches and kicking at the end of the first live national telecast of a 500-mile race.
Fighting in racing usually is limited to when drivers are in their cockpit cocoons and wearing helmets, which they usually keep on if a confrontation is anticipated once leaving the car.
Fighting on NASCAR's playground should be condoned when a bully gets knocked down a few rungs.
• TODAY'S BLOG -- Taxpayers to sponsor Cup team.
Jeff Wolf's motor sports column is published Friday. He can be reached at 383-0247 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Wolf's motor sports blog at lvrj.com/blogs/heavypedal/ throughout the week.