INDIANAPOLIS – Roush Fenway Racing will be a three-car team in 2015 and one of those cars will not be driven by Carl Edwards.
The long-rumored possibility of Edwards leaving the team following the 2014 season became a reality on Sunday morning when Roush announced that Greg Biffle had signed a contract extension with the team while Edwards would not return.
“I will always be thankful for Carl’s contribution and the role he played in many Roush Fenway wins and championships,” team owner Jack Roush said in a statement. “We wish him well for the future. In the meantime, we are excited about continuing our quest for a championship with Carl and the No. 99 team in 2014.”
When asked if Edwards gave him a reason for leaving the only Sprint Cup team he's driven for, Roush said Edwards didn't provide specifics. He also said that Edwards' decision to not return has been made for over a month.
"(Edwards) didn't give me his reason, you'll have to ask him about that," Roush said while adding that he didn't ask Edwards for it.
In the garage, Edwards once again declined to provide specifics about his future destination saying there were "a lot of moving parts" and added it was unfortunate that the announcement of his departure happened on the morning before a race.
Joe Gibbs Racing is seen as the likely landing spot for Edwards. With three cars currently – Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth – the team can expand to a fourth car without changing its current driver lineup.
Wherever Edwards goes, he'll need a new primary sponsor. As part of its announcement Sunday, the team said that Fastenal would move over to the No. 17 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. next season. Biffle, Stenhouse and Trevor Bayne will be the team's three full-time drivers in 2015. Bayne will be driving the No. 6 next year and Roush President Steve Newmark said that barring any unexpected developments, the No. 99 won't be in use full-time by Roush next season.
Edwards, who is sixth in the points standings, has Roush's only two wins in 2014. Once considered the standard bearer for intermediate-length race tracks, the team hasn't had the outright speed of the Hendrick-powered and Team Penske cars this season.
He got his first break at Roush in the Sprint Cup Series in 2004, jumping in the No. 99 for Jeff Burton, who left the team during the season. In nine full seasons and parts of two others, Edwards has 23 race wins, including nine in 2008. In 2011, he tied with Tony Stewart atop the points standings but lost the title via tiebreaker because Stewart had more wins.
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