Sunday, June 26, 2011

Silly season silliness continues

Last week I wrote about silly season, aptly named because the rumors fly and everyone becomes silly with all the stories that fly around. Read my last post, Silly season in fully swing, to refresh yourself on the news and rumors of just one week ago.

Here is the latest in the mill, but not rumors, straight from the drivers themselves.

Could Carl leave Jack Roush, the team he has
been with since the beginning?
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR
Sprint Cup points leader and hottest free agent Carl Edwards:



The ever present question following the current points leader is: What is the status of your contract? Carl Edwards is trying to not let these questions overshadow his job, running hard and leading the points on his way to a Sprint Cup title run. Edwards says, "As far as my contract status, it is the same as the beginning of the year. We are working hard on it and we do all that stuff behind closed doors. We are making progress and hopefully we will be able to tell you guys what my plan is soon.”
 
As for the rumors persisting with Joe Gibbs Racing pursuing a possible fourth team with Edwards, he responded by saying: “I have heard rumors about all different teams for the last two years. The thing I am going to do is keep working on it and working on it privately. I think that is the best way for me."

As for Edwards and the question of working out his contract so it doesn’t hamper his chance at a Sprint Cup championship, his knows that is his priority. “If it were up to me I would do it when the season is over and not talk about it with anyone. That isn’t the case though. We have to get it done. There is that feeling of hey, we would like to get this done before we get into the Chase. It will be whatever it is. I am not going to force anything or rush anything. I am going to go about it in a methodical way.”

Asked if he would prefer to race for a championship and wait until December to figure out his contract, Edwards said that would be the optimal situation. “I tell you what. I am not going to talk about it anymore. They are really good questions. I have worked really hard in my career trying to minimize distractions. That is one thing I am very fortunate that with Bob Osborne, that guy is non-emotional about racing. He just goes about his business. I think that no matter how things go or how long we delay this or how long it takes, we aren’t delaying anything. I think we will race fine as a team. It is a difficult thing though because there are so many personalities that have to come together to get everything to work. We have to stay focused on our goal, to win the championship, no matter what.”

Most important in Edwards' decision is if he's happy with his place at Roush Fenway Racing. Right now Edwards holds steadfast in the points with one win, eight top 5s and 11 top-10s. Edwards says, “Jack has done a lot for me and I am proud to drive for Jack and to drive a Ford. We have had 19 wins in the Cup series and 30-something in the Nationwide series. It is great. Like I said, I am working on all this stuff and when I know what is going to happen, I will let you guys know.”

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing

Bowyer and RCR - working on a deal.
Chis Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR


The news of Red Bull leaving NASCAR let everyone in shock and Clint Bowyer without a ride, but that is news to him. Bowyer said, “I was actually on a golf course for a sponsor of ours and my phone started blowing up. I was like what the hell is this all about? You guys are pretty creative. You are really pretty good at creating stories and stuff like that. Any time any sport loses anybody it’s a huge setback for everybody. I hope they do keep that team going. They had a lot of strong runs and was a big part of this sport. The biggest thing is hopefully they can keep those cars in this sport and we can continue to move on having a full field and things like that. As far as myself goes, I’ve said from day one I want to stay at RCR and we’re actively pursuing that. It’s this time of the year, you’ve got to see what’s out there, you’ve got to see your options and things like that and other than knowing what the goal is the goal’s never changed. I want to be able to stay driving where I’m at and hopefully keep the same colors on our car and everything. As far as I’m concerned, sign us up for three more years.”

The issues standing in the way of signing a three-year deal, according to Clint, are "money, sponsorship that’s the biggest thing just making sure you lock in everything. It takes time to get all that done. Like I said I would be happy exactly with the sponsors, the partners we have are great. General Mills has been an awesome sponsor to work with. BB&T has always been our go-to sponsor and it’s always been good. We’ve won the Nationwide championship, we won my first Cup race with them, been a great sponsor and is right there in our own backyard. It’s been a proven product that has worked. I think we’ll get it all put together and certainly that’s the goal. It just takes time to get everything put together and if that doesn’t happen then you’ve got to explore options and see what’s out there. It’s the same thing that everybody goes through. It’s not much fun but it's part of it.”

Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
The driver closest to re-signing his deal – Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya is almost ready to sign on the dotted line with Chip Ganassi. “We’re pretty close. I think we’re pretty close, yeah.” When asked if that will happen within the next couple of weeks, Montoya replied, “We’ll see. When it’s ready you will know.”

As the stories develop with silly season, I will keep on updating this story. I know some of us wait on pin and needles to see where our favorite driver will land next year.

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