One of the worst kept secrets in the NASCAR garage was confirmed Tuesday as Carl Edwards was officially introduced at the driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series starting in 2015. The addition of Edwards means an expansion of the team to four cars. Edwards will join Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and his longtime teammate at Roush-Fenway Racing Matt Kenseth who moved to Gibbs in 2013.
“It’s an exciting time for Joe Gibbs Racing,” team founder Joe Gibbs said. “We’ve been trying to add a fourth car for a number of years but in order to do that you got to have a great sponsor and we think we finally have that combination . Carl Edwards…we are so excited about having him on board with Denny Matt and Kyle.”
Edwards departs Roush-Fenway Racing the team he made his NASCAR Sprint Cup series debut with in 2004. He has 23 career Sprint Cup starts with the team; this season the Columbia Missouri native has two wins and nine finishes inside the top ten and is currently ninth in the championship standings. In addition to his Sprint Cup wins, Edwards has 38 wins in the NASCAR Nationwide Series winning the title for Roush in 2007 and six wins in the Camping World Truck series.
“This is a huge day for me,” Edwards said. “It means the world to me to have this opportunity. It’s nice to be able to talked about his now. A huge day for me and my career, I’m looking forward to next year. “
Sponsorship will be split among various sponsor and Arris, a communication technology company which is new to NASCAR and will be a primary sponsor for 17 of the 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2015.
The rumors that Edwards would leave the only team he has raced for in the Sprint Cup series began to circulate early this year the final year of his contract extension with the team. The confirmation came in July when Roush announced their lineup for 2015; a lineup that didn’t include Edwards.
The last time Edwards’ contract came up for renewal was three years ago; rumors swirled then that Edwards would head to Gibbs. Edwards instead extended with Roush. Tuesday, Edwards said that seeing his old teammate winning races at Gibbs was a big motivator this time.
“There were a lot of factors,” Edwards said. “To be honest Matt’s success over here was an eye opener.”
There was at least another factor as well.
“I don’t ever want to look back and say ‘boy I wish I would have done that’,” Edwards said.
Gibbs said that the announcement concerning team members and crew chiefs along with remaining sponsorship will come at a later time.
In addition to the Edwards announcement Tuesday JGR also revealed that 22-year-old Daniel Suarez will race for the team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2015. Suarez, of Monterrey, Mexico, currently leads the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series; he has nine victories in 52 career starts including four this season.