Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Ford Fusion, was not among the Roush-Fenway Racing list of drivers for the 2015 season. Edwards leaving had long been speculated but Edwards refuses to publicly discuss contract negotiations. Many believe Edwards will be reunited with former RFR teammate Matt Kenseth, fielding a fourth Toyota Camry, at Joe Gibbs Racing. The contract with Roush does not allow him to announce his plans until September.
Jack Roush revealed the 2015 three-driver lineup, Sunday at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the John Wayne Welding 400. Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ford Fusion, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Ford Fusion, will return to RFR, and Trevor Bayne will move up from the Nationwide Series to a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride in the #6 Ford Fusion.
“I have had the privilege of fielding entries for the world’s best race car drivers in NASCAR for nearly 30 years, and feel quite fortunate to have an opportunity to do that again next year,” Roush said. “We have always prided ourselves in developing talent at Roush Fenway, and our 2015 lineup is a testament to the success of our organization in the respect.”
“I will always be thankful for Carl’s contribution and the role he played in many Roush-Fenway wins and championships,” Roush stated. “We wish him well for the future. In the meantime, we are excited about continuing our quest for a championship with Carl and the #99 team in 2014.”
Edwards started his 11 year run with RFR in 2003 driving the #99 Ford F-150 as a full-time Truck Series competitor. And in August 2004, Edwards made his NEXTEL Cup Series debut at Michigan International Speedway, replacing Jeff Burton who left the team, Edwards drove the #99 Ford Taurus for the remainder of the 2004 season.
Edwards has 67 career victories in NASCAR’s three national series, including 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, 38 NASCAR Nationwide Series wins, and 6 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins. Edwards also received the Rookie of the Year honors in the Camping World Truck Series for the 2003 season.
“There are so many moving parts here,” Edwards said. “This was the right time for Roush-Fenway to talk about their plans for next year…. We’ll announce everything as soon as possible.”
Roush did say an offer was made to retain Edwards, but added, “Like football, baseball, and basketball, athletes move around, we wish it would not happen, but there’s curiosity about what another team’s situation would be like,” said Roush. “I think that although I shouldn’t speculate, I think Carl wanted to try something different before he saw his career get in its middle term and its final years.”
Edwards would not elaborate on his future plans in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series or where he will drive.
“But today is about racing. I talked to my crew; I talked to Jack, to Jimmy (Fennig, his crew chief),” said Edwards. “Our mission is to go win this race today and win the championship. From a competitive standpoint, that’s the key. That’s where I’m at today…that’s the #1 focus race day.”