While not a surprise, it is now a certainty – Roush Fenway Racing will have a vastly different look in 2015.
Hours before Sunday’s Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the organization confirmed through a news release that driver Carl Edwards – whose entire NASCAR career has been spent at RFR – would not be returning in 2015.
The decision has been speculated for some time, but the reality is the future of RFR has now profoundly changed.
RFR co-owner Jack Roush said the team made Edwards an offer but he didn’t believe Edwards’ decision was based strictly on monetary issues.
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“Like football and baseball and basketball, athletes move around. We wish it wouldn’t happen, but there’s curiosity about what another team’s situation would look like,” Roush said.
“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.”
Repeated reports have Edwards heading to Joe Gibbs Racing next season, in much the same manner as former RFR teammate Matt Kenseth did two seasons ago.
Edwards, 34, has won a Nationwide Series championship with Roush and has accumulated 23 wins in the Sprint Cup series, 38 in Nationwide and six in Trucks in his NASCAR career.
Edwards said his future was set for next season but he was not yet ready to announce it.
“There are so many moving parts. This was the right time for Roush Fenway to talk about their plans for next year,” Edwards said.
“For me, the right time to talk about exactly what I’m doing next year – it’s the same thing, there are a lot of moving parts and we’ll announce everything as soon as possible.
“It’s unfortunate all of this is happening on a race day because that’s the No. 1 focus.”
Next season, RFR will field three drivers in the Cup series – Greg Biffle in the No. 16 Ford, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the No. 17 Ford and Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 Ford.
Biffle’s decision to return to RFR was first reported by the Observer last month.
Stenhouse is in his second season in the Cup series and won rookie of the year honors in 2013. Bayne is a previous winner of the Daytona 500 and is currently sixth in the Nationwide series standings.
Biffle, 44, has won Truck and Nationwide titles with Roush and has 19 career Cup wins but has yet to win the series championship.