By admin | August 31, 2011
By Richard Allen
Throughout much of the summer the biggest source of speculation in the NASCAR world was whether or not driver Carl Edwards would leave his Roush Fenway Racing team for Joe Gibbs Racing. As it turns out, it seems to have been sponsor Home Depot who was as much after Edwards as the JGR organization.
The relationship between Home Depot and the Gibbs team is one of the longest standing in NASCAR. In 1999 the home improvement store began sponsoring JGR cars driven by Tony Stewart and have been a part of the #20 operation ever since. But in 2009, Stewart left that team to become a driver/owner for Stewart- Hass Racing.
When Stewart left, young Joey Logano was rushed into one of the sportâ€™s premier rides. Since the two-time championâ€™s departure, times have been lean for the JGR Toyota. Logano has managed but one Sprint Cup win in his time at JGR while Home Deportâ€™s most serious competitor, Loweâ€™s, has been on an extraordinary run of race wins and season championships with Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports.
Perhaps just a damaging to Loganoâ€™s chances of keeping the sponsor, his teammates, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin, have won numerous races and have contended for championships while he has languished.
If the rumors that have circulated rather wildly for the past couple of weeks are true, then Home Depot very much covets Edwards for his marketability as well as his ability to win races and compete for titles.
Could it be that Home Depot is willing to end a twelve year relationship with Gibbs to go after the image conscious and hard driving Edwards? It certainly looks that way.
It would appear as if JGR knew of their sponsorâ€™s uneasiness, which is why they initially pursued Edwards.
And it could be that JGR has already provided a clue as to how this will all turn out. Just recently, the Toyota team announced that they would no longer build their own engines entirely but instead would enter into a partnership with the auto manufacturerâ€™s in house racing engine company, TRD. Perhaps the team knows it is losing one of its primary sponsors and has had to seek cost cutting measures.
Home Depot apparently is seeking a return to the limelight that they have been missing since Tony Stewart went in another direction. Itâ€™s looking more and more like Carl Edwards is the driver they believe will return them to prominence.
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