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The mystery of Carl Edwards' wreck

"Jr. Nation" is a phenomenon, but Earnhardt's situation shows that fan popularity and sponsor appeal isn't the be-all and end-all of things when it comes to a NASCAR career. His racing form has never really fulfilled his promise, and the slightly underwhelming form has led to an absence of wins since his much-heralded switch to Hendrick Motorsports. There were even some who thought that Rick Hendrick might think there were better deals to be done elsewhere, and simply walk away from Earnhardt when the current deal between team and driver ends in 2012 - despite the fact that Earnhardt has risen to fourth place in the Spring Cup championship through consistency.

But Hendrick squashed any such speculation at the weekend, stating unequivocally that "We know we want to be together and we just want to get this over with." He said that most of the major negotiating points were settled and that the deal would be for a three- to five-year extension. "It shows I'm committed to him and he's committed to us."

"I'm excited to be where I am," Earnhardt confirmed. "It's an amazing organization. There are some great, great people there. I've learned a lot being around there. It's made me a better person ... If I get an opportunity to stick around, I'm excited about that."

Compared to the cagey dance being played out between Edwards and Roush over a contract much closer to expiry, the Hendrick-Eardhardt Jr. arrangement is a model of calm.



Related Pictures

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Carl Edwards managed to mangle the front end of the race-winning #99 with his victory celebration slide through the infield grass at Charlotte Motor Speedway. [Picture credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, lead a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Ragan, driver of the #98 Carroll Shelby Engine Ford, and Elliott Sadler, driver of the #11 SportClips Toyota, spin out during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
David Gilliland, driver of the #38 Love`s Travel Stops Ford, poses with Ms. Coors Light, Rachel Rupert, after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland smiles in his garage on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. after turning the fastest lap in final practice for Sunday`s Daytona 500. Gilliland turned a lap of 200.138 mph. [Picture Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR]
David Gilliland at Daytona on February 17, 2014 (Photo Credit:  NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, puts a winner sticker on his car as he celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates with a backflip after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates i Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Aflac Ford, celebrates i Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 22, 2014 in Sonoma, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Brendan Gaughan, driver of the #62 South Point Chevrolet, leads Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, through a turn during the Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville race at Road America on June 21, 2014 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates with a burn out after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 Toyota Toyota leads the pack during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)

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