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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]
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane with the trophy, NASCAR President Mike Helton and sportscaster Krista Voda during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and placing ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ParkerStore Chevrolet, poses with the Keystone Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via 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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