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NASCAR: Carl Edwards Out at Roush Fenway Racing in 2015Salem-News.com Sports
Edwards, 34, has competed in Sprint Cup for Roush Fenway since 2004. He has 23 wins and has finished fourth or higher in points four times.
(INDIANAPOLIS) - Carl Edwards will not be a part of the Roush Fenway Racing driver lineup for 2015, according to team officials.
Team co-owner Jack Roush announced the organization's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series lineup here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today where teams are competing in the Crown Royal presents, The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard (1:00 p.m. ET, ESPN).
That roster will consist of veteran Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., both of whom currently compete in Sprint Cup for RFR, as well as 2014 Nationwide Series regular Trevor Bayne.
"I will always be thankful for Carl's contribution and the role he played in many Roush Fenway wins and championships," team owner Jack Roush said in a statement. "We wish him well for the future. In the meantime, we are excited about continuing our quest for a championship with Carl and the No. 99 team in 2014."
Both Edwards and Biffle were in contract years, and Edwards' departure wasn't unexpected. Biffle has maintained all season long that he would like to remain at RFR, where he began his Sprint Cup career in 2002.
Edwards, 34, has competed in Sprint Cup for Roush Fenway since 2004. He has 23 wins and has finished fourth or higher in points four times, including 2011 when he and Tony Stewart finished the season with identical points totals. Stewart edged Edwards for the title on the basis of the number of wins during the season.
This season, Edwards has two wins and is sixth in the point standings entering Sunday's race.
Edwards is also a 38-time winner in NASCAR's Nationwide Series, and won that series' title in 2007 with RFR. He also has six career wins in the Camping World Truck Series.
After extensive negotiations two years ago, Edwards re-signed with Roush Fenway through 2014.
Asked often this year about the status of talks for beyond '14, both Edwards and Roush had been non-committal.
"Our mission is to go win this race today and to win the championship," Edwards said on Sunday after the Roush Fenway announcement. "From a competitive standpoint, that's the key so that's where I'm at today."
"When it's time to talk about all that, I'll tell you guys, and we'll do it," Edwards said. "It is unfortunate all this is happening on a race day because that's the number one focus."
It is widely believed that Edwards will join Joe Gibbs Racing, which currently fields three teams with drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.
Biffle has captured two championships while driving for RFR, winning the Nationwide title in 2002 and the Truck Series crown in 2000. His best points finish in Sprint Cup came in 2005 when he finished second to Stewart. He is 16th in points heading into today's race at IMS.
"I don't have the words for what Jack Roush has meant to my career," Biffle said in the statement. "During our 16 years together, we have won multiple championships and numerous races on every level. I am as excited about what the future holds for me here as I am about what we have been able to accomplish in the past.
"Our goal remains to run up front, win races and become the sports' first triple-crown winner by having a championship in all three series. I know that we have the right ownership, the right team, the right resources and the right manufacturer to get that done here here at Roush Fenway."
Stenhouse Jr., the 2011-12 Nationwide Series champion, is 28th in points and still seeking his first Sprint Cup victory.
RFR officials announced in May that Bayne would step up to Sprint Cup following this season. Bayne, sixth in points after Saturday's ninth-place finish in the Lilly Diabetes 250, currently runs a limited Sprint Cup schedule with Wood Brothers Racing, with whom he won the 2011 Daytona 500.
"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 in a statement. "We have always prided ourselves in developing talent at Roush Fenway, and our 2015 line-up is a testament to the success of our organization in that respect.
"Greg Biffle is one of the most purely talented racers I've ever seen behind the wheel of a car, and his experience combined with the raw natural abilities, enthusiasm and desire in both Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Trevor Bayne have me very excited for the future. Although we still have a lot to accomplish this year, both John Henry and I are looking forward to going to the track in 2015 with this blend of veteran leadership and youthful potential."
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