Everyone knew Carl Edwards wasn’t happy. He wasn’t as successful as he wanted to (or could) be and things always seemed to be just out of reach even if he made the Chase. He wanted to win more and to be able to make a serious run at the championship. Unfortunately Edwards didn’t feel that he could do that with Roush-Fenway Racing.
Joe Gibbs knew the potential that Carl Edwards had so when they were deciding to go to a four car organization it was a no-brainer to pursue the Columbia, Missouri native, and it was a perfect time because Carl’s contact with Roush was up, too. In 2015 he will join his former Roush teammate Matt Kenseth at Joe Gibbs Racing, who had a noticeable performance improvement after switching owners in 2013–seven wins to be exact–something that’s exactly what Edwards is hoping for himself.
A Change of Scenery
We’ve frequently seen drivers make the switch to other organizations, but lately these strategic moves rejuvenated the drivers careers and shaken off that stagnant feel. Aside from Matt Kenseth, current Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch has shown improvement with a change of scenery, and let’s not forget about Kevin Harvick, who won the championship in 2014, his first season with SHR after leaving Richard Childress Racing..
Will we see this rejuvenation with Carl Edwards? I think so. Edwards is a very good race car driver, but as other drivers have found out, even the best drivers can’t win consistently in mediocre equipment. The Fords of Roush-Fenway Racing were clearly lacking in the horsepower department in 2014, and although the Joe Gibbs Toyotas regressed a bit from 2013 to 2014, it’s still an upgrade for the driver. Also, with Edwards joining hands with teammates like Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Matt Kenseth, the JGR crew just might give Hendrick Motorsports a run for its money in terms of overall organizational talent.
A Winning Combination
Carl Edwards will work with crew chief Darian Grubb, who we saw with Denny Hamlin in 2014. Grubb is a risk-taker on the pit box and will do all he can to put his driver in position to win. It worked out well for him back in 2011 when he won the championship with Tony Stewart, and Grubb got Hamlin to the final round of the Chase last year as well. As long as Edwards can give guidance on how to tweak the cars to best fit his driving style, this pairing could be well on their way to winning a handful of races in 2015.
I think the move to JGR will give Edwards a big resurgence and we’ll see him winning races and consistently running toward the front again. We all know his talent when it comes to the “cookie cutter” tracks, and 2014 showed that Cousin Carl is a threat on the shorter and flat tracks as well. He’s coming off of a two-win season in 2014 with a fresh new perspective and a brand new teams. Hold on to your hats and expect to see more back flips in 2015.