Carl Edwards, one of NASCAR's top "free agents" in search of a new team for the 2015 season, has found a home with Joe Gibbs Racing, according to Jeff Gluck of USA Today.
Carl Edwards (Cup) and Daniel Suarez (Nationwide) join Joe Gibbs Racing with sponsor Arris (telecommunications company). #NASCAR— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) August 19, 2014
This move for Edwards did not come out of the blue. Bob Pockrass of SportingNews.com wrote Monday that Gibbs Racing had a press conference set for Tuesday, where it was expected to announce the 35-year-old veteran was joining the team next year.
During the press conference, via Alan Cavanna of NASCAR.com, Edwards made a point of letting the rest of Gibbs' team know that he wouldn't be taking it easy on them the rest of this season:
"We're competitors for the rest of this season. I'm going to try and make it as tough as I can on you guys," Edwards says— Alan Cavanna (@CopaCavanna) August 19, 2014
Also at the press conference, via Cavanna, Joe Gibbs joked that Edwards had agreed to stay out of the way whenever a member of the team was coming around the track:
"I've reached an agreement with Carl. Whenever he sees our guys coming he's going to pull over," Joe Gibbs jokes— Alan Cavanna (@CopaCavanna) August 19, 2014
According to Tom Jensen of FoxSports.com, Edwards will switch from the No. 99 car to the No. 19 next season. Jensen noted the driver's vast accomplishments on the track as a huge coup for the Gibbs racing team:
In 360 career Sprint Cup starts, all with Roush Fenway Racing, Edwards has 13 poles, 23 race victories, 106 top fives and 182 top 10s. Most famously, he tied with Tony Stewart for the 2011 Cup championship, but lost it on a tiebreaker for most race victories. Edwards also finished second in points in 2008 and in the top five in both 2005 and 2010.
In addition to that success throughout his career, Edwards has had a strong season with Roush Fenway Racing in 2014. He has two wins, five top-five finishes and nine top-10 finishes while ranking eighth in the points standings through Sunday's race at Michigan.
What will happen first?
The inclusion of Edwards is a much-needed shot of adrenaline for Joe Gibbs Racing. Despite having star power with the likes of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth, only Kenseth is ranked in the top 10 of the Sprint Cup standings.
Jensen believes this "gives JGR a powerhouse lineup." He noted that "collectively, the four have won 107 Sprint Cup races, the equivalent of nearly three full seasons' worth of races."
It's also a good opportunity for Edwards to get a fresh start.
Despite his past success with the Roush Fenway team, he finished outside the top 10 in Sprint Cup standings in 2012 and 2013. This year has been a solid bounce-back campaign thus far, but the long-term prospects for Edwards and Joe Gibbs Racing look a lot better now that they are together.
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