This summer, it seems as if the grand majority of attention in the sports world has gone toward players switching teams, whether it be the LeBron saga or pushes from MLB teams to move players before the deadline. However, one of the biggest team moves this summer comes from a sport in which many fail to recognize the existence of team structures (while many others fail to even recognize it as a sport) – NASCAR.
Prior to Sunday’s running of the Brickyard 400, Jack Roush decided to release the Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) driver line-up for the 2015 season. Conspicuously missing was Carl Edwards, the driver of the No. 99 car who has been a member of RFR for the past 11 years.
While the timing of the decision was questionable – prompting NASCAR analyst Larry MacReynolds to write an article calling Roush’s decision “very unprofessional” – the actual decision comes as no surprise.
Though Edwards has been Roush’s most successful driver over the past 11 seasons, he has yet to win a series championship, finishing second in both 2008 and 2011. (A year in which he lost to Tony Stewart in a tie-break.)
Carl Edwards leaving Roush Fenway Racing at year's end. He's 1 of 3 drivers with multiple 2nd-place finishes in Cup Series pts with 0 titles
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 27, 2014
As of now, no official word has been released as to where Edwards will land for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Before Sunday’s race at Indianapolis, Edwards’s was quite mum on the subject, deciding to focus his attention on the more important matters at hand:
We’ve just got to get everything together, and then we’ll make the announcement when it’s the right time. Trust me. We’ll do it as soon as we can. But like I said, the focus is today and winning this race… I’ll talk about it in the next couple weeks when we kind of finalize everything. I think right now is not the right time to reflect on it, because we’ve still got a championship to win.
Despite the fact that Edwards declined to comment as to which team he plans to sign with for the upcoming season, all rumors and intel suggest that Edwards will follow in the footsteps of former RFR teammate Matt Kenseth and take his talents to Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).
RFR pres Steve Newmark on Edwards' decision: Said he didn't want to look back and wonder what it might be like elsewhere.
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) July 27, 2014
If rumors hold true, the line-up for JGR next season will be loaded, featuring experienced veterans in Kenseth and Edwards along with rising stars in Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
On the other-hand, the departure of Edwards leaves RFR with a stripped-down, lackluster roster led by Greg Biffle and bolstered with two unproven newcomers, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Trevor Bayne. While RFR will not have much in terms of consistent performance or veteran leadership, those in-house are not worried about the future of the race-team.
— Mark Martin (@markmartin) July 27, 2014
Unfortunately, NASCAR fans will not be able to discover where Edwards will take his talents until September, when he will be officially released from his contractual obligations with Roush Fenway Racing.
Image via Twitter