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Edwards speculations take centre stage

Reports suggest that Ford have belatedly entered this negotiation as well, adding a signing fee and topping up Roush Fenway's salary offer to match JGR's purported $8m a year deal - plus prize money and not including any separate sponsorship deals. It's believed to be the first time in their history that Ford have stepped in to negotiate directly with a driver. If it happens, it would make Edwards Ford's "representative" on a personal services contract, not unlike the deals Chevrolet have with Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. and which would finally cement Edwards' position right at the top of the NASCAR food chain.

But is Ford's intervention too late in the day to save Edwards' seat in the #99 with Roush Fenway? And maybe it's not all about dollars and cents in any case. "I don't think it's about the money," suggested Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development. "There's something else there."

If Edwards genuinely hasn't yet made a decision, there are plenty of people who feel that he should and that he owes it to others to make one sooner rather than later.

"Eventually, he's gonna have to make a decision and it'll be best for everybody so, one, we can plan for sponsorships and drivers and teams and people," said team mate Greg Biffle. "There are a lot of people's jobs on the line - if we're gonna be three teams or four teams - so the sooner the better."

In fact, Biffle's tone at Indianapolis notably tipped toward the exasperated over the whole Carl Edwards line of questioning - with perhaps an implication that he expected Edwards to depart. "It's obvious that it's coming to a head," he said. "At some point he's gonna have to say that 'I'm not coming back.' He's not gonna be able to wait until [season finale] Homestead, we all know that, so Carl is a big boy, he's a man and he has to make his own decisions."

That wearing of patience at Roush Fenway was notably in contrast to suddenly warm relations between Edwards and his potential future JGR team mates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. Carl and Kyle have had a combative relationship in the past, but recently seem to have kissed and made up in just the way that good prospective team mates would.

"If Carl came over to Gibbs, certainly it would be beneficial," Kyle Busch said, "because he's really good at what he does, he's got great communication, he's got good feedback, and he's been one of the top three or four guys in the sport every year he's been around ... I feel like Carl would certainly mesh well and fit in and we could certainly have better results if we could make it a four-car team."

"I think it would be good for our team," Denny Hamlin agreed. "Having a guy that has already contended for championships and wins on a weekly basis can't be a bad thing."

The one JGR driver notably less enthusiastic about jumping on the Edwards bandwagon is young Joey Logano - since it's his seat in the #20 Home Depot car that Edwards would be taking, the longtime sponsor desperate to get on even terms with arch business rivals Lowes' Jimmie Johnson in NASCAR. The likelihood is that even if Edwards moves to JGR, Logano will stay on - albeit bumped to a new fourth car team, lacking the financial backing of Home Depot and the proven success of pit crew chief Greg Zipadelli.

"I wouldn't want to see Joey go anywhere," confirmed Kyle. "I would hope that we could work it to where Carl is our fourth guy."




Related Pictures

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Carl Edwards climbs into the Michigan International Speedway grandstands to celebrate his Alliance Truck Parts 250 victory with the fans. [Picture Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images]
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ben Kennedy, driver of the #11 Local Motors Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, signs the Coors Light Pole board after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Pole Award after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #4 Energizer Chevrolet SS qualifies in sixth position Friday, February 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
David Ragan, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, stands in the garage during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer drives the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota during a testing session at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images via Getty Images)

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