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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]
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and his team celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Doublemint Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualified for seventh position Friday, August 22, 2014 for Saturday evening`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #19 DrawTire Ford, leads Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, and the rest of the field during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads the field at the start of the Nationwide Childrens`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, sits in his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Will Schneekloth/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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