INDIANAPOLIS -- And now a bit of breaking news on race-day morning ...
Well. Sort of breaking news, anyway.
The official word: Carl Edwards is leaving Roush Fenway Racing after 11 years in the saddle of the 99 car.
The unofficial word: This has been an open secret for weeks and even months, or since it became apparent that team owner Jack Roush eventually wanted to call up Trevor Bayne from the Nationwide series. Bayne nailing down AdvoCare as a primary sponsor apparently sealed the deal; Roush announced today that he'll run three cars next season with Bayne, Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the seats.
"Carl has been a cornerstone of our success here in the last 10 years," Roush said. "He's one of our drivers who have come to our program initially. We've had 48 drivers in 27-and-a-half years that have driven our cars and he, along with Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, has certainly left his mark."
Roush said Edwards told him "some time ago" he was in serious discussions with another team, and that he told Roush he was leaving "more than a month ago." He professed no particular emotion one way or another at the parting.
"It's a reality of the business we're in," he said. "Our hopes were to keep him and we were not successful with that ... Cup racing is a big-time sports entertainment thing today. Like football and baseball and basketball, athletes move around.
"I think that his moving at this time, like Kevin Harvick's move and Tony Stewart's move from their teams previously is just a reality of the times that we're in and with the importance that everybody sees of really optimizing their productive time as a driver."