This will be Carl Edwards’ final season with Roush Fenway Racing, while teammate Greg Biffle has signed an extension to remain with the organization.
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Carl Edwards will leave Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the 2014 season, while Greg Biffle has signed a multi-year extension to remain with the team. Both announcements were made Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Jack Roush told reporters that Edwards informed him more than a month ago about his decision to leave the team he’s been with since 2004. In that span Edwards has won 23 races and twice finished championship runner-up. Edwards did not reveal to Roush which team he was joining nor did Roush ask.
Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark thought the lure of exploring other options was something Edwards couldn’t resist. Edwards nearly left Roush in 2011 before Ford stepped in to supplement the team’s financial offer prompting the driver to sign a three-year contract.
"I think he just thought when he retires at some point off in the future, he didn"t want to wonder what it would be like to be in a different situation," Newmark said. "That was the primary discussion we had."
It is speculated that Edwards will join Joe Gibbs Racing for 2015. Currently a three-car team with drivers Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin, JGR is likely to expand to a fourth entry to make room for Edwards.
A private person, Edwards has continually declined to discuss his contract publicly. When asked Sunday about that morning’s announcement, which came just hours prior to the Brickyard 400, Edwards called the timing "unfortunate." He cited "too many moving parts" as the reason why he couldn’t talk further.
"We"ll announce everything as soon as possible," Edwards said. "But today is about racing. I talked to my crew. I talked to Jack, to (crew chief) Jimmy (Fennig) and our mission is to go win this race today and go win the championship. From a competitive standpoint, that"s the key. That"s where I"m at today."
Due to a provision in his contract it is expected Edwards will not disclose his 2015 plans until after Sept. 1. This would follow the same script as Kenseth, who announced in June 2012 that he was leaving Roush, but didn"t reveal his eventual destination until the fall.
Talk of Edwards leaving Roush began ramping up in the spring. The most telltale sign came when Roush announced May 24 that Trevor Bayne would be elevated to its Sprint Cup roster next season. At the time Roush declined to say whether his team would field three or four full-time cars in 2015, only that its plans were "still in a state of flux."
Along with Biffle and Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is Roush’s other driver next year. Stenhouse will continue to drive the No. 17 car with primary sponsorship from Fastenal, currently Edwards’ No. 1 sponsor. Bayne will drive the No. 6 Ford in 2015, with Edwards’ No. 99 going dormat.
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Meanwhile it"s of little surprise that Biffle re-signed with Roush. Biffle has driven for the team since 2002, and before that in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series. Biffle told SB Nation in February that he expected to sign a contract extension sometime in the first quarter. In 11 full seasons driving the Roush No. 16 car, Biffle has 19 victories and qualified for the Chase for the Sprint six times.
"I don’t have the words for what Jack Roush has meant to my career," Biffle said. "During our 16 years together, we have won multiple championships and numerous races on every level. I am as excited about what the future holds for me here as I am about what we have been able to accomplish in the past."