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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Edwards makes wise move to stay at Roush, can now focus on winning Chase

The whole concept didn’t sit right with me.

How could Carl Edwards, Mr. Ford, even think about going to join Joe Gibbs Racing and leave the team that made him a superstar? And while he’s standing on top of the points standings too?

Every week he was asked what he was doing, and every week he had no information, fueling speculation he would announce a move right before starting the Chase that he is more likely to win than an in his career to this point, causing potential chaos at his Roush team.

Then, of course, the money numbers started to leak. Edwards was going to, rumor had it, get $8 million salary for next year, plus a $10 million dollar signing bonus to go to Gibbs – that’s Peyton Manning type money, and would draw anyone’s attention.

If those numbers were accurate, Edwards definitely had a tough decision to make. Unless, of course, Jack Roush matched them, and that was what convinced him to stay
No one knows what went on in the negotiation rooms between Carl Edwards and his suitors over these past month, but in the end it worked out as I predicted in the beginning – Edwards stayed where he belongs, with Roush.

Just imagining Edwards getting out of his car and saying, “This was a great Camry today. I’d like to thatnk Toyota” is hard to imagine. And when you switch car makes and teams, there’s no guarantee of continued winning (just ask Dale Earnhardt Jr.)

Looking at the facts, there are just too many unknowns that would go along with a big move like this, and the decision to stay with Roush, where he may not end up staying for the rest of his career, makes far too much sense for Carl to have done anything else.

Put simply, he is top dog there. Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan have good runs, but they don’t do what Carl does. Matt’s won his title, and is at best a sleeper to contend this year. Biffle is too inconsistent, and Ragan is just starting his ascent in the sport. Carl will get the best equipment at Roush and will contend for the title year after year.

Compare that to Gibbs, where he would be heads up against Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and
Joey Logano. Good luck with that, and dealing with all the egos in the room in addition to trying to keep up on the track.

No. Roush is Carl’s home, and whether it was money or loyalty that kept him there, his career is better off in the wake of this move. While this whole debacle went on far too long for my taste and did cause distractions for the 99 team, Carl can rest easy tonight, and will be fully focused for the Chase where he (or anyone for that matter) can hopefully take away the title from five-time and breathe some freshness into the NASCAR championship battle.

And Gibbs fans can only dream of what possibly could have been if he had made the switch.

Keselowski on the mend
Rochester Hills native Brad Keselowski has pulled out of the Nationwide race this weekend due to a testing wreck at Road Atlanta, but he will compete in the Pocono Cup race. All is well, though. Despite being airlifted to the hospital, he was not seriously injured and even tweeted a photo of his swollen ankle.

That kind of interaction with fans and sense of humor is what makes so many people like Brad, and I wish him well in his recovery.

In his absence, Sam Hornish Jr. will race in the Nationwide race, with Parker Kligerman practicing the car.

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