SBD/July 28, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Subway Likely Only Sponsor Carl Edwards Leaves With When Departing Roush Fenway

Edwards told Jack Roush he was in serious discussions with another team
Roush Fenway Racing yesterday announced that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards "will not return" for the '15 season, while also announcing a contract extension for driver Greg Biffle, according to Bob Pockrass of SPORTING NEWS. Edwards' departure is "no surprise," as he told team Owner Jack Roush more than a month ago that he was in "serious discussions with another team and did not tell him where he was going." Roush: "We wish it wouldn't happen, but there's curiosity (from him) about what another team's situation would look like." Edwards added, "This was the right time for Roush Fenway to talk about their plans for next year. For me, the right time to talk about exactly what I'm doing next year is the same scenario -- there are a lot of moving parts and we'll announce everything as soon as possible." Meanwhile, Pockrass noted Biffle now will be the "leader and most accomplished of the Roush Fenway stable, which will include Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne in Cup rides next season." Bayne has "full sponsorship from AdvoCare," and Stenhouse will have a "mix of sponsors with former Edwards sponsor Fastenal for the most races." Stenhouse will lose his Nationwide sponsorship to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in '15. Biffle, whose deal is for multiple years, does "not have a sponsor signed for next year," but has been primarily sponsored by 3M in the past. It is "believed Edwards can only take sponsor Subway with him to another team" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/27).

LONG TIME COMING: In Jacksonville, Don Coble notes it has been "widely rumored for months that Edwards would drive a fourth car at Joe Gibbs Racing next season." But JGR Owner Joe Gibbs prior to yesterday's Crown Royal 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway said that there was "no deal and said getting Edwards on board would be 'tough for us'" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 7/28). In Charlotte, Jim Utter writes "the future of RFR has now profoundly changed." Roush said that the team "made Edwards an offer but he didn't believe Edwards' decision was based strictly on monetary issues" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/28). ESPN.com's John Oreovicz wrote of Bayne, "It's hard to imagine that swapping a proven race winner and championship contender for a still mostly unproven younger driver will help Roush Fenway Racing emerge from its current slump, but stranger things have happened." At the "same time, JGR and Toyota's attempt to win a championship would be strengthened by the expansion to include Edwards" (ESPN.com, 7/27). The CHARLOTTE OBSERVER's Utter writes he did not "quite understand the timing" of the announcement. The news "did not come as a surprise and it seems unusual the team would want to detract from one of NASCAR's biggest events" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/28).
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