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Edwards' contract and comments stir controversy

Despite all the paddock chatter about how Edwards has never entirely fitted in at Roush Fenway in the same way that firm friends Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth have, and that he considers himself something of the outsider with the team, it still seems more likely than not that when it comes down to it Carl will be staying put in the #99 next year rather than jumping in at JGR. Then again, everyone thought it was inconceivable that Dale Earnhardt Jr. could ever leave the team that bore his (and his father's) name - but he did when he moved to Hendrick Motorsport in 2008. (Dale Earnhardt, Inc. subsequently merged with Chip Ganassi's NASCAR operation in 2009 to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.)

But the current contract uncertainty has meant that other teams are also taking notice - in particular Red Bull, who had rumoured to be looking at a replacement for Brian Vickers who has not been at his best since his return to the team after medical leave in 2011 for a blood clotting and heart condition that sidelined him last season.

Prior to the rumours that they may be about to quit NASCAR altogether, Red Bull were said to be strongly wooing another driver who will be a free agent at the end of 2011, Juan Montoya - although it would have been a seismic shock to see Montoya leave the Ganassi fold, a relationship that goes back to the Colombian's Champ Car days in the 90s. Once the news about Red Bull broke, Montoya was said to be rushing to re-sign with Ganassi as soon as possible.

Red Bull's withdrawal is likely to have an impact on any decision that Kimi Raikkonen has on any future forays into NASCAR. The possibility of him taking a seat in the Cup team - or else a driver such as Mattias Ekstrom, a long-time Red Bull driver in DTM where he is a two-time champion as well as a three-time winner of the Race of Champions - had recently been discussed as a possibility.

But Edwards himself - usually the perfect Mr Corporate and the only driver who can get away with diving into a crowd of fans to celebrate a race victory without any concern that he might not be universally popularly welcomed - also raised eyebrows with his post-Michigan comments concerning NASCAR's plans for the next generation of racecar due in 2013.

"Downforce is such a big factor in these cars, and I am really hoping NASCAR will take the opportunity in 2013 to take downforce away so the fans can see the guys race race cars and not race downforce," Edwards said. "Let's say all of the cars are a tenth apart and you are behind two or three cars, your car is two-tenths of a second slower. You can't make [that sort of margin] up."

NASCAR has strongly directed drivers not to criticise the sport, the races or the organisation in public after evidence showed that fan views about the sport strongly aligned with comments made by their favourite drivers. Denny Hamlin recently revealed that he had been secretly fined $50,000 for criticising NASCAR on Twitter, while Ryan Newman revealed that he had also been secretly fined in April 2010 for critical comments he made about the style of racing at Talladega.

Instead, drivers are expected to 'codify' their criticism. Instead of saying anything negative about the car's need for clean air, most drivers will simply say "track position is so important" and how it is difficult to pass with the current NASCAR aero package because the cars are so similar.

"I'm not whining; Denny earned this win and those are the rules we are under," Edwards quickly added, praising Denny Hamlin's race-winning performance at Michigan. "Track position was huge, and I just wish it wasn't like that."

His Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth was more on the "official" line and said that Sunday's difficulties had been more to do with the tyres than the car specification. "It has been more difficult to pass lately [but] I honestly think that is the tyre more than anything else. It seems like the tyres we have been running this year lay down a lot of rubber, which is nice, but on that restart it was slime from bottom to top and you are up there sliding. That is how it feels to me."




Related Pictures

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Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Kellogg`s Ford, speaks to crew members in the garage area during practice for the 5-Hour Energy 500 at Pocono Raceway on June 10 in Long Pond, Pa. [Picture Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images]
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, are involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Crew members work on the Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, in the garage area during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 19, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch. August 20 2014. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth at Watkins Glen. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, poses after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 18, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Halloween Toyota, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 17, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 Pink Lemonade 5Hr Energy benefiting LBBC Toyota, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 17, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch in the Joe Gibbs Racing garage at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29 2014. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop Toyota, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive For The Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Green, driver of the #91 SupportMilitary.org Toyota, Matt Dibenedetto, driver of the #40 Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet, Joey Gase, driver of the #52 Chevrolet, and Kevin Swindell, driver of the #93 JGL Racing Dodge, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive For The Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Pennzoil Platinum Ford, sits in his car in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, poses with the Coors Lite Pole Award after qualifying for the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 9, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS finished in second place and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar finished in sixth place Sunday, October 5, 2014 in the Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. The Contender 12 phase of the Chase continues next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo Credit: Jared Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo Credit: Jared Tilton/Getty Images)

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roush99 - Unregistered

June 26, 2011 2:41 AM

As a lifelong Ford fan I've had 3 favorite drivers. Bill Elliott, Mark Martin and Carl Edwards. The 1st 2 both now drive Chevys. Ford is the reason I'm a Nascar fan. Many fans I'm sure follow a driver, but I'm a Ford and a Roush fan. Roush is the only owner who's drivers have only driven for him. He gave all of them their start in Nascar, including Martin, who'd be better off in the #6 right now then the #5. He never should have left Roush. Carl should look at that, 2 of Hendrick's drivers haven't won a race in 3 years. If he leaves, he'll just be another traitor all about the money, who cares that Roush made him a superstar. If that's the type of person he is, then I've been wrong about him for 9 years. With Bayne and Stenhouse in their early 20's, Roush has plenty of talent in the bank. How do you leave the best car in Cup? If winning is really what he wants, he'd never leave the #99.



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