Gibbs courting Edwards to replace Logano? UPDATE #3
Joey Logano will take the field to the green from the pole Sunday at Infineon Raceway in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 not only looking for his first victory of the season but also seemingly in a race squelch the ominous rumors that have suddenly surrounded so much about his Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup Series ride.
In his third full-season in the Sprint Cup Series, the 21-year old Middletown native sits 23rd in the standings this year with two top-10 finishes in 15 events.
The results have sparked speculation that the organization could be looking for a replacement for Logano after this season, with many pointing to Roush Fenway Racing star Carl Edwards as a likely candidate to take over Logano's No. 20 Home Depot sponsored ride. Edwards' current contract with RFR runs out after this season.
When he made his debut in the No. 20 car at the 2009 Daytona 500, Logano was being touted as the greatest natural talent to arrive in the series probably since Tony Stewart, who ironically happened to be the iconic driver he was replacing with the Gibbs team. In about two and half seasons he's seemingly become "just the other guy" in the three-car Joe Gibbs Sprint Cup stable, which also includes championship contenders Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch.
And this week rumors swirled that Logano's crew chief, Berlin native Greg Zipadelli, could be looking to reunite with his former driver at Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart and Zipadelli won two championships in 10 years together at Gibbs and were considered contenders to win virtually every week during their decade together.
Logano's victory in a rain shortened event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2009 made him the youngest winner in the history of the series, but he finished the season with just seven top-10 finishes in 36 events and was 20th in the standings. Last year he finished 16th in the standings with seven top-5's and 16 top-10's in 36 races.
"I am unhappy with our results," Zipadelli told the Associated Press Friday. "Of course I'm not happy right now. Who would be happy 23rd in points?"
Stewart fired his organizations' director of competition, Bobby Hutchens, earlier this month. Zipadelli was non-committal when asked about his interest in the position Friday.
"I love Tony, he's as close to me as my brother," Zipadelli told the AP. "But that doesn't mean anything. I love the organization I work for, they've been very positive and very supportive for over 13 years. I learned a long time ago to never say never in this sport about anything." Courant.com
06/24/11 NASCAR's top series has shifted to scenic wine country and its first of two races this season on a road course. But the talk at Infineon Raceway wasn't about the twists and turns of the winding track, or the road course ringers who show up hoping for a rare victory. Instead, the discussion was on Carl Edwards and his contract negotiations, and the announcement that Red Bull is leaving NASCAR at the end of the season.
Edwards is the key to free agency, as most teams are waiting to see if he'll re-sign with Roush-Fenway Racing. The Sprint Cup Series points leader wouldn't comment on the situation Friday. Other drivers are also wondering what will happen now that Red Bull's two seats could be gone at the end of the year.
06/21/11 Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing are both in the running for Carl Edwards, the current Sprint Cup Series points leader who will be a free agent after this season. The 31-year-old driver, who has driven his entire seven-year career for Roush and has 19 career Cup victories, has drawn interest from most teams.
But Roush Fenway and Gibbs appear to be the best fits because of their long record of success. The only team likely not in the mix is Hendrick Motorsports, which has three of its four drivers under contract for next year and already has signed Kasey Kahne to replace Mark Martin.
Organizations are only allowed to have four Sprint Cup teams. Roush has four while Gibbs could expand by adding a fourth team.
“I’d love to say that we’d prefer it was just a one-on-one conversation,” Roush President Steve Newmark said Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. “I understand the reality. We understand other teams have reached out to him. I have no issue with him engaging in discussions.
“At the end of the day, we think the package we offer is the right one and most attractive one overall. Hopefully we’ll be able to move forward based on the fundamentals of what we’re offering.”
Edwards has said he will not discuss his contract negotiations publicly.
JGR officials have expressed interest in starting a fourth Cup team if it has sponsorship, but JGR President J.D. Gibbs said nothing is imminent and he’s working on strengthening his three current teams. Gibbs did say, though, that most teams would want Edwards.
“He’s a great talent,” Gibbs said Sunday. “But it’s not just the driver – everything else has to fall into play. … Because we’re one of the few teams that has a fourth slot, it comes up with everyone that is available.
“What it takes is the right partner, the right driver and the right team around it, and then you can say, ‘Hey, let’s go on forward.’ Right now, honestly, all we’re focused on is our three teams and our three cars. A fourth team would be a big undertaking.” Scenedaily.com06/19/11 Ford and Roush Fenway Racing are feeling a sense of urgency to re-sign Carl Edwards. For the last month, Edwards has been rumored to be headed to Joe Gibbs Racing. Earlier this season, JGR president J.D. Gibbs acknowledged that the organization would be interested in talking to Edwards if sponsorship could be acquired for a fourth team. Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newman called the Edwards' negotiation "a slow and steady process." Both Roush and Ford have worked diligently to entice Edwards to remain in the blue-oval camp but are starting to feel the pressure from Toyota. "We have constant conversations with Carl," Newmark said.
"I still remain cautiously optimistic that we'll get something done, but as we've talked about before, the process that we're going through, we want to make sure that we have everything in order going forward and Carl's main focus is on making sure he's going to a place where he can win championships. Newmark understands that Edwards is shopping the market and "has no issue with him engaging in discussions."
Now the challenge for Roush comes in offering the most competitive package for Edwards and his future. At the same time, Newmark has the challenge of locking up Roush sponsors Aflac, UPS and Crown Royal. Newmark locked down both 3M and Greg Biffle for a multi-year deal in April. Newmark is not actively seeking a replacement for Edwards -- yet. With Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse in the pipeline, there's really no need to. Fox Sports