Edwards out as Roush Fenway sets 2015 roster
July 27, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
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SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards will not return to compete for Roush Fenway Racing in 2015, but the 34-year-old remained non-committal on where he will take his considerable driving talents.
Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush announced his organization's 2015 Sprint Cup lineup here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today where teams are preparing for the John Wayne Walding 400 (ESPN, 1 p.m. ET)
The RFR roster will consist of veteran Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., both of whom currently compete in Sprint Cup for RFR, as well as 2014 Nationwide Series regular Trevor Bayne.
"There are so many moving parts here; this was the right time for Roush Fenway to talk about their plans for next year," Edwards said Sunday morning.
"For me, the right time to talk about exactly what I'm doing next year is the same scenario -- there are a lot of moving parts, and we will announce everything as soon as possible.
"But today is about racing. I talked to my crew; I talked to Jack, to Jimmy (Fennig, crew chief). Our mission is to go win this race today and win the championship. From a competitive standpoint, that's the key. That's where I'm at today.
"When it's time to talk about all that, I'll tell you guys and we'll do it. … It is unfortunate all this is happening on a race day because that's the No. 1 focus."
Edwards has competed in Sprint Cup for Roush Fenway since 2004. He has 23 wins and has finished fourth or higher in points four times, including 2011 when he and Tony Stewart finished the season with identical points totals. Stewart edged Edwards for the title on the basis of the number of wins during the season.
Edwards is also a 38-time winner in NASCAR's Nationwide Series and won that series' title in 2007 with RFR. He has six career wins in the Camping World Truck Series.
Chevrolet team officials acknowledged that they tried to woo the driver into their camp, but it is believed that Edwards, who confirmed his deal for 2015 is "done," will join Joe Gibbs Racing. That group currently fields three Toyota teams in Sprint Cup with drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.
Kenseth and Edwards were teammates at RFR until Kenseth departed following the 2012 season. In his first year with the Gibbs organization, he won a season-best seven times en route to a second-place points finish.
"You look around at all the stuff that's going on, not just in the NASCAR world but in all of sports," Edwards said. "Change sometimes just on its own is a good thing from a performance standpoint.
"This is my decision. It's a decision I made and I didn't take it lightly because you know how tough these things are for any driver."
Both Edwards and Roush said conversations about the move began approximately one month ago.
Roush, who has won Sprint Cup titles with Kenseth (2003) and Kurt Busch (2004), said an offer was made to retain Edwards.
"Like football, baseball and basketball, athletes move around," Roush said. "We wish it would not happen, but there's curiosity about what another team's situation would be like and I think that although I shouldn't speculate, I think Carl wanted to try something different before he saw his career get in its middle term and its final years.
"Our hopes were to keep him and we were not successful with that."
RFR team president Steve Newmark said the organization prides itself on its abilities as a driver development group -- bringing young talent into the sport and then helping groom that talent to grow and progress.
"It's in our DNA and our heritage," he said.
"In an ideal world, all the drivers and crew chiefs and the over-the-wall guys that we bring up through the system you would retain forever. The reality of it is that that doesn't happen for a variety of factors -- some of it is space constraints and some of it is just other circumstances.
"I think that we recognize when you take the approach we do ... trying to develop from within, that these types of circumstances are going to happen."
Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing said, "We at Ford Racing did everything to facilitate keeping Carl a part of the Ford Racing and 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."