Carl Edwards is lauded by fans for removing his sunglasses when he does television interviews.
If he's smart, he'll start keeping them on to hide the viciousness that lies within.
His premeditated attack on Brad Keselowski in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway is the latest indiscretion to illustrate that Edwards has the personality of a high school jock who doubles as a bully.
Think back to 2007, when Edwards confronted teammate Matt Kenseth on pit road while Kenseth was being interviewed on the Speed network. Edwards grabbed Kenseth and, after a heated exchange, drew back as if he was going to punch his mild-mannered teammate.
The year before that, Edwards retaliated for an on-track incident by spinning Tony Stewart on pit road. A few races later, Edwards rammed Dale Earnhardt Jr. on pit road for a similar reason.
Edwards' fans and some NASCAR media hacks endearingly call him "Cousin Carl," but his boorish behavior and assault Sunday make Edwards unfit for any respectable racing family.
After winning a Cup series-best nine races in 2008, Edwards was dubbed the heir apparent to champion Jimmie Johnson -- that would be crass dethroning class.
But maybe karma has caught up with Edwards, as he has not won in the past 40 championship races.
Edwards' retaliatory action Sunday was gutless, as was NASCAR's punishment: a three-race probation.
The only one punished was Keselowski, who was running sixth on lap 322 with three to go when Edwards, 153 laps down, hit him and sent Keselowski's car flying.
The result for Keselowski was a 36th-place finish that dropped him to 33rd in points. Had he maintained in sixth place, he would be 23rd in points.
Their feud started on the final lap of last year's spring race in Talladega, Ala., when contact initiated by Keselowski sent Edwards' car skyward.
Only safety fencing kept it from sailing into the grandstand. Parts from Edwards' car flew through the wire fence and injured seven.
Edwards was leading when Keselowski used his front bumper to move Edwards out of his way to take the win.
NASCAR wants to bring back that sort of rubbin' is racin' this season -- just without any race car acrobatics.
True, Keselowski had on-track skirmishes with Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch last year. Several drivers have said he is too aggressive.
But nothing justifies Edwards exacting revenge at 195 mph.
NASCAR probably regrets only that the Cup series is off this weekend because Edwards' assault gave racing a semblance of mystique again, the allure of danger. TV ratings would certainly see a boost if Edwards and Keselowski faced off this weekend.
What Edwards needs is some soul searching.
He should be thankful his 2-week-old daughter is too young to ask why Daddy could not control his rage.
Jeff Wolf's motor sports column is published Friday. 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.