Can Carl Edwards be persuaded by Jack Roush to continue if the sponsors – and therefore, dollars – reduce in number? (BELOW) Red Bull Racing’s future is anyone’s guess since RB decided to sell. (BOTTOM) Tony Stewart may be able to expand Stewart Haas Racing to three cars.
package of multiple sponsors, which is
the new paradigm in NASCAR.
Nowadays, rarely does one sponsor
back a team all year. AARP Drive to End
Hunger is the primary sponsor of Jeff
Gordon for 22 races this year. Same for
Budweiser and Kevin Harvick. Next year,
Farmers Insurance will sponsor Kasey
Kahne for 22 races. Those teams and
many others – will have to find multiple
fill-in sponsors for the other 14 races.
And with myriad non-compete sponsor
clauses, it’s much more difficult than
ever to get any car fully funded for the
If Roush can’t find sponsors willing to
pony up for Edwards, he may decide it’s a
better deal for RFR to let Edwards go and
move up Trevor Bayne or Ricky Stenhouse
Jr. to take his place. Roush can pay one of
his rookies a small fraction of what he
pays Edwards, take less from a sponsor
and still come out way ahead,
financially. Yup, literally, millions of
dollars ahead. Should RFR lose UPS and
Aflac, Jack may have his hand forced.
From the driver’s perspective, there is
absolutely no reason for Edwards to leave
Roush Fenway. RFR is one of the big four
teams and has found its way back to the
front after struggling during 2009 and
the first half of ’ 10. The only destination
that would really make sense is Joe Gibbs
Racing, where he has been rumored to be
a replacement for Joey Logano.
The dicey issue is this: Edwards is
leading the championship now and is
one of the favorites to win. If he
announces he’s moving to JGR, or
anywhere else, his chances of winning a
title this year will drop like a stone.
Roush takes loyalty very seriously. In
2005, when Kurt Busch announced he
was leaving Roush to join Penske Racing,
Jack never spoke another word to him.
For his part, Edwards has adopted a
policy of saying nothing about his plans.
“I tell you what, I am not going to talk
about it any more,” he said after being
“If Edwards announces
he’s moving to JGR, his
chances of winning
a title this year will
drop like a stone”
peppered with questions from reporters
at Infineon Raceway in June. “They are
really good questions, but I have worked
really hard in my career trying to
minimize distractions. Jack has done a
lot for me and I am proud to drive for Jack
and to drive a Ford. We have had 19 wins
in the Cup series and 30-something in
the Nationwide series. It is great. Like I
said, I am working on all this stuff and
when I know what is going to happen, I
will let you guys know.”