Edwards, who lost the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship in a tie-breaker to Tony Stewart, is focused on the 2014 season and made it clear when interviewed by Fox Sports on Sunday.
I came over here this morning and talked to (crew chief) Jimmy Fennig and all of my guys, and we’re all on the same page. Right now we need to win this championship … and that is the mission. I drive for Jack Roush, I drive the #99 Fastenal Ford, and that’s what I do right now. So from a housekeeping standpoint Roush has to announce what they’re going to be doing next year. I’ll soon announce what I’m going to be doing next year, but I just want to be real clear the focus is to win the championship this year.
It really won’t take an FBI agent to figure out where Edwards will hang his helmet next season. In June, it was reported that Richard Childress Racing offered a contract to Edwards.
Bob Dilner reported at the end on Fox Sports 1 NASCAR Race Day that RCR and Edwards had been in contact about Edwards joining RCR in 2015. Dilner went on to report that Edwards listened to the offer but ultimately said “no.” Although the details of potential deal were not made available, it was made clear that Edwards was not interested in the offer.
Team Penske had no interest in expanding its team to keep Edwards in the Ford camp.
“There’s no interest,” Penske told Catchfence.com. “We don’t have the sponsorship to do a third full-time team, and he’s under contract with Roush Fenway Racing. It doesn’t make sense.”
Add in the statement from Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing:
Carl Edwards has been a part of the Ford family for a decade, and it will certainly be tough to see him leave Ford and Roush Fenway Racing. During Carl’s time with Roush, he has represented Ford Motor Company with the utmost class, both on and off the track. We at Ford Racing did everything to facilitate keeping Carl a part of the Ford Racing & Roush Fenway family, but in the end that option did not come to fruition.
While we are disappointed in his decision to leave Roush Fenway Racing, we certainly want to extend our appreciation for Carl’s contributions winning races and a NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship in a Ford, and especially for his outreach to Ford fans. That said, with this decision out of the way, our plan for 2014 has not changed. We will go forward strongly with our stated goal of securing a NASCAR championship for Ford.
That means Edwards won’t be the one taking the possibly vacated seat of Marcos Ambrose at Richard Petty Motorsports.
Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have four drivers already under contract for 2015 and you probably can eliminate the under funded teams of Tommy Baldwin, Front Row Motorsports and BK Racing from the possibilities and it leaves two possible homes for Edwards in 2015.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates and Joe Gibbs Racing.
JGR owner Joe Gibbs had interesting comments about the possibility of adding a fourth car to the stable that already has Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth driving Toyotas.
We don’t have anything right now to announce. Anything that we’re going to do will be coming up in the future. I’m not sure exactly what the time line is.
It’s no secret that Gibbs has been trying to build up to a four car team for years.
We’ve been (preparing for a fourth team) each and every year, Gibbs said. But it’s so hard to do that, we haven’t been able to get it done. But I think we’re taking a serious look at it this year.
When asked in the NASCAR Wire Service interview if those efforts involved signing a serious driver, Gibbs replied, “You’ve got to have a serious sponsor.” But he did acknowledge Edwards’ star power. “When Carl’s name came up during this year … almost everybody recognizes Carl as being somebody I think is a star,” Gibbs said. “Because of that, there are a lot of teams that have tried to entice him.”
Ganassi Racing hasn’t been mentioned in the rumor mill, but Jamie McMurray is in the final year of his contract.
Beyond The Flag will have updates as the situation gets clearer.