Edwards, a man with few options

With Greg Biffle signing an extension with Roush Fenway Racing last week it’s only a matter of time before Carl Edwards does the same. Edwards is the “hot, big name” free agent fort he 2012 season but there doesn’t appear to be anywhere for him to go.

Edwards has been racing for Roush Fenway his entire NASCAR career and both sides would obviously like to see their relationship continue. During his tenure in the #99 Ford at the Cup level Edwards has 19 victories in 237 starts, including a win at Las Vegas earlier this year.

When it comes to contending for the championship, Edwards is as good a bet as anyone to end the five time reign of Jimmie Johnson. He’s finished as high as second in the points (2008, when he won 9 races) and currently is in the top spot this year.

With those numbers you’d think teams would be lined up at his door in an attempt to sign him. It just doesn’t seem that statement is true though.

Carl Edwards has few options. Edwards needs to be on a race team with good equipment that will allow him to compete week in and week out. That almost immediately eliminates all but four teams at the cup level.

One team that can easily be eliminated due to the restrictions on the number of cars allowed for an organization is Hendrick Motorsports. Another team that seems to be a tough fit is that of Richard Childress Racing who features Kevin Harvick, a driver Edwards has clashed with in the past.

That leaves only two organizations out for Edwards. Joe Gibbs Racing and resigning with Roush Fenway.

For a deal to work with Gibbs the organization would have to expand to a fourth team. Expanding to a fourth team was not something Gibbs was willing to do last year when Kasey Kahne was out looking for a ride for 2011. Of course Carl Edwards is not Kasey Kahne, and it’s possible something could be worked in order to get Edwards into a car next season.

Then again it’s a situation that has the potential to be oil and water. We’ve already seen conflicts between their current stable of drives, most notably Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. Adding Edwards to the mix would seem to do very little to ease any of those tensions. In fact Edwards and Busch seem to have a hate/respect relationship and Edwards has made it known he still has a bullet marked for Busch after the #18 took out his car at Phoenix.

The most plausible situation calls for Edwards to return to the #99 car next year. Roush Fenway would keep their core drives together, have as strong a 1-2-3 punch as anyone and ideally capture another title.

Thus far this year the Ford cars have been able to make their way to the front and combined Edwards and Matt Kenseth have two victories in the first eight races of the year. Last year it wasn’t until Kansas that Ford won their first of four races on the year. In 2009 they found victory lane just two times both by Kenseth in the first two events of the year. So clearly things are on the up for the blue oval.

It’s not known how much of a cut Greg Biffle took in 0rder to return to the #16 for three more years but one would expect Edwards to either not have to take as much of a cut or one at all.

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