With summer only a few weeks away, it is not just a signal that the days will be getting shorter and the temperatures will go up, but it’s also a sign that NASCAR’s “Silly Season” will start hitting it’s stride. This year the discussion of who will go where, or what changes will occur, began early, knowing that a few of the sport’s toughest and most talented drivers are in contract years. Ironically, both are from the same organization.
Roush-Fenway Racing is well aware that both Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle are both in the final year of their signed deal. While one driver is very vocal about his wanting to stay put, the other has been very hush-hush on the matter. It’s not because he doesn’t want to talk about it, but it’s because he can’t.
All signs are currently pointing to Carl Edwards not being back in the No. 99 car at season’s end, which then begs the question of where he will go for next year?
One team that is most likely not on the radar of Edwards should he become a free agent is that of Richard Petty Motorsports.
That’s not to say RPM is a bad choice, but in a way it’s almost a move sideways for Edwards. When RPM went from Dodge to Ford in 2010, they became affiliated with RFR in getting engines, cars, and setups, just as Penske did when they went from Dodge to Ford following the 2012 season. Edwards has come close on two occasions to winning the championship with his No. 99 team, both in 2008 and in 2011, and each time he wound up runner-up in the title hunt, losing in 2011 just because of amount of victories.
For Edwards, it would not be a good move because the only thing that would be changing is who he drives for, not the equipment. What he would bring to the team is veteran experience, and also championship-caliber experience to an organization that has young talent in the making.
He would also bring exposure and sponsors to a team should folks like Aflac and Subway decide to follow, which means more funding and better deals.
At the same time, knowing he’s still in Roush equipment would not suit him.
Plus, with Aric Almirola already inked for multiple years, and with Marcos Ambrose likely coming back once again, the only option would be to add on a third car, and unless sponsorship came with it, the chances of RPM going back to being more than a two-car operation are very unlikely.
RPM is a very strong team, and when both Smithfield Foods and Almirola signed on for multiple years, it showed they believed in what the team could do and where the future of the team would be. Ambrose gave the team it’s first victories since 2009 when he went back-to-back at Watkins Glen in 2011 and 2012. Edwards would bring experience in winning and a championship run, but would still be in Roush-affiliated equipment.
As good as RPM is, the choice for Edwards is to either stay put where he is, or go to a different manufacturer. Sadly no one knows what will happen until Edwards decides for himself.