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Edwards’ status becomes fodder for opponents and annoyance for teammates

By admin | July 31, 2011

By Richard Allen


This past weekend, the speculation over the future of NASCAR driver Carl Edwards seemed to come to a head as teammates and competitors alike took turns voicing their opinions. The star driver’s contract runs out at the end of the current season and his status for next year has been very much in question since it became known a few weeks ago that Joe Gibbs Racing was interested in luring him away from Roush Fenway Racing.

During a media availability session on Friday in Indianapolis, four time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon seized the opportunity to play a few mind games with a driver and team who appear to be serious competitors for the NASCAR title.

“I just don’t see them winning the championship knowing that they’re leaving,” Gordon said of the distractions created by Edwards‘s possible change. “I might be wrong. If he stays, it might have just been a blip and then get back on track. So I think that’s definitely playing a factor.”

Gordon is correct that there has never been a driver to win a championship, at least in the last 30 years, who had announced that he intended to leave his current team at the end of the season. While no doubt Edwards and his Roush Fenway Racing team would make every effort to end the season on a high note, even if their driver were to announce he intended to leave. But the distractions would be difficult to overcome.

At the same time Edwards’ competitors are taking shots at his situation, his teammates seem to be growing weary of the speculation. RFR driver Greg Biffle weighed in on the matter when pressed by the media in Indianapolis.

“At some point, he’s gonna have to say, ‘I’m not coming back,’” Biffle said. “He’s not gonna be able to wait until Homestead, we all know that. Carl is a big boy, he’s a man and he has to make his own decisions.

“There are a lot of people’s jobs on the line if we’re gonna be three teams or four teams,” Biffle went on. “I understand contract negotiations take a long time and there is a lot to them, but truly, if you know or you’ve made a decision, then it’s time to give everybody enough opportunity to make their move on the back side of that.”

JGR boss J.D. Gibbs and RFR execs remained decidedly mum on the situation during the weekend. So, either no one but Edwards knows what is going to happen or those who do know aren’t talking.

But as Biffle said, the time in which a decision must be announced one way or the other is fast approaching. Both organizations in question have lots of decisions to make and work to do in preparation for either having or not having Carl Edwards as their driver in 2012. Multi-million dollar companies don’t make major decisions such a designing a marketing campaign around a NASCAR team in just a few weeks. So, one of these teams is going to have to know something soon in order to align sponsorship.

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15 Responses to “Edwards’ status becomes fodder for opponents and annoyance for teammates”

  1. Ken Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 7:05 am

    In the end, the one person who is going to come out the loser is Carl himself. As you can tell by greg Biffle’s comments, there is animosity developing within the Roush organization. And it’s well-known that Edwards doesn’t get along with Biffle and Kenseth. Plus, this has to be straining Carl’s relationship with Bob Osborne and his crew. Why put any effort into giving this guy any top-class equipment if he’s going to thumb his nose at you and walk out. And I can only imagine the feelings of Gibbs’ drivers, especially Joey Lagano. If I were Lagano, I’d be telling Joe Gibbs to stick his ride somewhere and quit! But there is one other group that is rapidly losing patience with Carl and his contract decision, and that group is his fans. Granted there are fans who will follow him to Gibbs, if that is indeed where he will go. But there are fans who are Ford fans, and who are Roush fans, and who are feeling like Carl is spitting in their faces! I know this because, as a Ford fan first, I feel that way!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Gibbs might be offering a ton of money to get Carl into the number 20, but that won’t guarantee him any more success than he has at Roush, and given who one of his teammates will be is almost a guarantee he won’t have the success!

  2. Bill B Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 7:33 am

    This contract thing is a huge distraction and I think Carl’s results show that. If he is going to stay with Roush he’d be better served in salvaging this year’s championship run by announcing it sooner. If he isn’t, then it won’t really matter because the distractions and uncertainty surrounding the entire 99 team will be their undoing in this year’s championship run.

  3. mr clause Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 8:34 am

    It really is time for Carl to declare his intentions. Roush has mad his offer, Ford has stepped into it with their added incentives, and I’m pretty sure Carl has made his decision by now. Roush and Carl’s team must feel as if he is gone for next year. If he was going to stay at Roush he would have said so by now. He’s IMO playing games but games that affect other peoples lives. He’s being totally selfish and he could end up as the loser in the long run. But like he said, he’s going to do what’s best for him. Looks to me like he’s spelling team with an I.

  4. Tyler West Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I hope Edwards leaves Roush hanging. Roush is not in it to make sure Edwards taken care of. If something better comes along Roush would dump him in a heart beat. Who cares if Roush or any of his teamates get bent out of shape. Biffle needs to concentrate on running better. Yeah, the Roush cars are running decent right now but they do that from time to time. They have never sustained it for years at a time. Really no teams has except for certain Hendrick teams. Roush would turn on any of his guys if it benefitted his organization. Plus, what’s the big deal? Nobody was up in arms when Jr. left DEI, oh that’s right they all just knew Jr. was going to get a title. (How is that venture going?) Carl needs to do what is best for him not poor ole Jack Roush!

  5. Tommy Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Both of the previous posters make valuable points. Let me add this to the mix. The amount of money being bandied about will become extremely destructive to the sport. I think what JGR and Toyota are doing (literally becoming George Steinbrenner reincarnated) will cause some serious consequences for the future of the sport when it comes to driver contract negotiations. Curious to hear your responses to this…

  6. Russ Edwards Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    The last several posters made some good points. ALL of these people are PAID to do their jobs, so I dont buy the distraction argument. The laws of physics haven’t been suspended and race cars dont have feelings. As Tyler West said, Roush, or any car owner, would dump any driver if it benefited them to do so.
    The really curious point is the perception that this is a drivers market. The cards are with the owners in this day and time. It was the Roush/Ford marketing machine that made Edwards image. They will make the next star also, no problem.

  7. Charles Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    While I dont blame Carl for testing the market, I really think he would be better off if the money is close to stay at Roush!

    Seems he really put himself on the public auction where he will be in the center of rumors etc, but the thing I admire is his team and him are on top of the point and have been most of the year, so you really cannot say its been a hinderage, and infact it might have helped!

    Greg Biffle is a example of what can happen once you get a signed contract!

    But as loyal and knowing Jack Roush who got little known Carl in the first place, I would have hope Carl would show some loyality in that fact remember Carl has repeatly said its about performance not money, but seems to me its about money!

    If Carl wants to leave and think the pasture is greener on the other side that okay!

    But I would not blame Roush for replacing Carl early, leading in points or not, if he decides to leave!! Loyaltiy has a two way street!

  8. SV Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Tommy, I think JGR has already been bad for the sport. I’ve learned that when someone struts about acting all pious and Christian it’s usually because they’re overcompensating. JGR is a corrupt organization with some of the most selfish, arrogant, poorly behaved drivers on the circuit. When they get caught acting ugly, they just wave the Bible and trot out the ole “we’ll turn it into a positive and make it a learning experience” line again. It’s pathetic how often they do it. Now they’re throwing obscene amounts of money at Carl and if he takes it, well, it’ll just be a matter of time before it warps him.

  9. Richard Allen Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I’m not so sure it’s a driver’s market or an owner’s market. The people with the power, whether driver or owner, is th eperson who holds the sponsor.

    In Gibbs’ case, if he intends for Edwards to driver the 20 car, he holds the cards because he has Home Depot. For RFR, they do not seem to have a sponsor lined up for three of their cars next year and having a very marketable guy like Edwards would help to land something so Edwards may hold the cards in his negotiations with Roush.

  10. Robert Eastman Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Fans get lulled into thinking that NASCAR racing is a “Sunday afternoon picnic” and “walk in the park” followed by a joy-ride to top off a pleasant day… which it just may be… for the spectators. For race-drivers… it could very well be their last day on earth or the first day of the rest of their life… as a vegetable.
    Why the “dramatics?” Because real people doing real “dangerous jobs” must make real decisions about real possibilities.
    Carl Edwards must make the “best choice” for his family and himself that will guarantee them that they will be “taken care of” for the rest of their lives… no matter what happens.
    “Go For The MONEY Carl!”

  11. Charles Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 4:39 pm


    If Home Depot is really wanting Edwards then the smart thing for them to do is sponsor Edwards at Roush and leave Gibbs! Then they dont have to rebuild and have to jell together!

    Sponsors do this all the time, you thought Home Depot would have been looking at Kasey Kahne last year, but I got the feeling Toyota is having a bigger say in this!

  12. russ Edwards Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Richard, good point about the sponsor. Ultimately none of these cars run w/o a sponsors money. So, which comes first, the driver to entice the sponsor? Or the sponsor to entice the driver?

  13. Richard Allen Says:
    August 1st, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    In this personality driven, star gazing land in which we live I believe the drivers attract the sponsors most of the time.

    However, the Gibbs team has the unique advantage of having such a well known owner.

  14. Joe W. Says:
    August 2nd, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I agree with Ken. the 1st post on this story. I would love to see Carl stay with Roush. But if he’s leaving then I’m done with him. I agree with the other comments about JGR and toyota being like Stienbrenner. That is very bad for the sport. But I knew toyota was bad for Nascar. Jack Roush was the only owner to step up and say so. I am a Ford fan 1st, before any driver. I pull for all the Ford drivers but if one leaves and goes to Gibbs, well in the words of Celo Green Forget him!! I kept it clean!! As for Gibbs being well know, it’s true but a lot of us hate the Redskins too!!

  15. Jim Baker Says:
    August 2nd, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I have never liked cousin Carl, so I don’t give a rip what happens to him. But, since he is the top free agent, he has to decide what he is doing before other drivers will even be given their options. If I was one of these other guys, I would make sure this walking commercial gets dumped on the track and it would be very soon.