By admin | June 27, 2011
By Richard Allen
Another weekend has passed and Carl Edwards continued to remain mum about his contract status. And in reality that is the smartest thing for him to do considering that he has at least two of NASCARâ€™s most high profile teams bidding for his services.
Edwardsâ€™ contract with Roush Fenway Racing expires at the end of the 2011 season, and naturally, that company hopes to keep the winning and marketable driver in their fold for the foreseeable future. However, another organization has emerged to make a play for the driverâ€™s services.
During the Michigan weekend, it became known that Joe Gibbs Racing has been conducting negotiations with Edwards. Supposedly, JGR wants Edwards to either drive their #20 car currently piloted by Joey Logano or even a fourth car for the company which fields one less than the allowable four.
The reason Edwards is best suited to keep quiet is that everyone involved in these negotiations has a certain degree of leverage and the Missouri native needs to see just who can offer him the best possible situation going forward.
Edwards himself has plenty of leverage. He has proven himself to be a winning driver and a championship contender. And perhaps just as important, he is very marketable for sponsors. So, this driver will have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to these negotiations.
And it is in the area of sponsorship that Gibbs may have his greatest leverage in the contest for the coveted driver.
If it is indeed true that JGR is prepared to cut Logano loose, then Home Depot will want a driver who can win and who is marketable to take the seat of the #20 ride. If it is not true that JGR is ready to cut Logano loose, it would be hard to believe the somewhat conservative Gibbs would enter into serious negotiations without the belief that sponsorship could be acquired for a fourth team.
Roush Fenway Racing only has one secured sponsor, 3M, locked in for its four teams in 2012. So, if RFR is lacking in sponsorship, what advantage do they have?
The leverage they might seek to flaunt would be that RFR has a Daytona 500 winner waiting in the wings. Should Edwards and his agents seek too much, either in money or otherwise, RFR need only to point to Trevor Bayne to show that there is someone who can take the place of their current driver if need be.
As the summer continues on, the contest to secure Carl Edwardsâ€™ services for next season and beyond could get very interesting as each side involved seeks to make the most of the advantages they have. Which side most effectively uses its leverage will probably be making an announcement by Labor Day or before.
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