By admin | August 4, 2011
By Richard Allen
On Thursday morning Roush Fenway Racing and Carl Edwards announced they had agreed on a contract extension that will keep the driver in the number 99 Ford for the foreseeable future. This has to come as a blow to Roush’s much disliked rival, Toyota.
As was well known, the top competitor for Edwards’ services during his contract negotiations was Toyota front runner Joe Gibbs Racing. It was even reported at one time that there was a ‘done deal’ between Edwards and JGR. The re-signing of the star driver with RFR had to come as a blow to the Japanese auto giant.
When Toyota first came to NASCAR their most vocal critic was Jack Roush. The long time Ford campaigner wasted few opportunities to take shots at Toyota, especially during the company’s somewhat disastrous early going in the sport.
However, the dynamic in that rivalry very much changed when powerful Joe Gibbs Racing joined the Toyota camp and gave the manufacturer a serious race winning and championship contending organization to carry its banner. Suddenly, Toyota was not an after thought, but instead, a serious threat.
After Roush’s constant criticism and verbal jabs against them, Toyota had to relish the idea of stealing away his star driver and biggest marketing attraction. Instead, whether it’s true or not, it appears more like the foreign manufacturer well known for spending large amounts of money in every form of motorsports was used as tool during the Edwards’ talks.
Toyota and JGR certainly have contending drivers in their lineup in the persons of Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, but adding Edwards would have boosted the two entities to another level of stardom and marketability, not to mention race winning and championship contention.
Without a doubt, Jack Roush and his Roush Fenway Racing organization are glad to have the Edwards negotiations behind them and the driver solidly in the fold for years to come. But at the same time, it is likely that the driver is not the only one doing back flips as Roush takes joy in the fact that he has kept Toyota’s hand out of his cookie jar.
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