Will Carl Edwards (right) remain teammates with Greg Biffle at Roush-Fenway Racing after this season?

Carl Edwards insists there’s no drama — and no news — about contract status after this season


If he wasn’t a race car driver, Carl Edwards would be a great poker player, because he definitely knows how to keep his cards close to the vest.

Three years ago, when his last contract was due to expire at the end of the 2011 season, Edwards was the most sought-after free agent in NASCAR. For months, speculation had Edwards going in all kinds of different directions.

Some reports had him going to Richard Childress Racing. Then as time dragged on, Edwards was considered a lock to sign with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Oddly, few reports had him remaining at Roush Fenway Racing. But in the end, that’s exactly where he wound up, staying three more years with RFR and Ford.

Now it’s déjà vu time.

Edwards is once again facing a situation where his contract with RFR expires at season’s end. And once again, speculation has begun that the driver of the No. 99 RFR Ford may not be driving the same car next season.

JGR once again appears to be the favorite, if you want to believe media and fan speculation. Plus, JGR has room to add a fourth team, and Edwards would certainly be in demand not only as a driver, but a great sponsor representative.

It would appear that with Ty Dillon likely to jump to Sprint Cup in another couple years, there may not be any room at the RCR inn this time for Edwards.

Stewart-Haas Racing is full-up, as is Hendrick Motorsports.

Maybe Penske Racing? Richard Petty Motorsports (especially if Marcos Ambrose leaves after his contract is up at year’s end)? If he were to go to either team, Edwards would at least be staying with Ford.

But right now, and just like he did in 2011, Edwards isn’t having much to say.

When asked to give an update on his contract status and potential negotiations to remain at RFR, Edwards demurred after speaking with media members after Friday’s Happy Hour practice at Darlington Raceway.

“No,” Edwards said when asked if there had been any progress. “I would rather not even talk about it.

“I have no news and when there is nothing to say, all I could do is stir it up. I promise you, no drama. No drama.”

RFR is in a sticky situation of sorts. Edwards and teammate Greg Biffle are both free agents at season’s end. However, Biffle said Friday that he’s getting closer to a new contract extension to remain at RFR and with primary sponsor 3M.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves
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MotorSportsTalk continues its run through the driver-by-driver field in the Verizon IndyCar Series. In 15th and the rookie-of-the-year for 2015, was Gabby Chaves.

Gabby Chaves, No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Honda

  • 2014: Indy Lights champion
  • 2015: 15th Place, Best Finish 9th, Best Start 12th, 0 Top-5, 2 Top-10, 31 Laps Led, 19.3 Avg. Start, 14.4 Avg. Finish

Some drivers finish better than their performances show. Some drivers have performances better than their results show. The latter statement applied to Gabby Chaves in his rookie year, in what was an impressive first season after making the step up from Indy Lights, which deservedly earned him rookie-of-the-year honors.

The best comparison I’d make for Gabby is of Josef Newgarden in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, a first-year driver on a single-car, newish team to the series.

Chaves rarely dazzled in qualifying but that wasn’t his fault; he and engineer John Dick worked well together and Chaves recounted multiple times this year that a tweak here or tweak there, the wrong way, on the aero kit would send them down the wrong setup path.

Results in races didn’t measure up either but again that was through almost no fault of his own. The only time Chaves looked truly like a rookie was at St. Pete, when he had several collisions. Otherwise he was ahead of eventual winner James Hinchcliffe at NOLA before getting punted off, reliable through the month of May in Indianapolis, finally able to break through for a ninth place in Detroit race two, overachieving in Texas, 11th at Milwaukee after some great wheel-to-wheel racing with series winners and champions, and then phenomenal at Pocono as he was on course for a first career win or podium before late-race engine issues – his first DNF of the season.

For both Chaves and Herta, you’d love to see them together for another season, and the results and confidence for both parties will grow as a result. Those who’ve seen Newgarden’s rise over four years with Fisher and now CFH will note the long-term stability, and that’s what Chaves could do if he gets the time.

He planted the seed of being a great IndyCar driver, and he became pretty versatile during the year too with additional appearances in the DeltaWing prototype, a short-track midget and one of Herta’s Red Bull Global Rallycross cars. To boot, he’s a smart, great kid who is mature beyond his years, and someone you should be buying stock in now. Anyone who saw Chaves in the Mazda Road to Indy should not have been surprised by his rookie season in the big cars.

Off The Grid: Monza preview (premieres Saturday 10/10 on NBCSN)

F1 Grand Prix of Italy
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Having already taken you behind the scenes in Barcelona, Budapest, Singapore, Melbourne and Silverstone, Will Buxton and Jason Swales now head to one of Formula 1’s most iconic venues for the latest episode of Off The Grid.

Monza has appeared in all but one F1 season since the formation of the world championship in 1950, and is a firm favorite among drivers, teams and fans alike.

However, there is far more to the Italian Grand Prix than meets the eye, as we find out in Saturday’s premiere of Off The Grid: Monza at 9:30am ET (follows Russian GP qualifying).

Having honed his talents in go-karts as a kid, Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo is now trying to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of racers. But can he teach Will or Jason a thing or two?

We also catch up with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and get a feel for life on the road as he takes us for a tour of his lavish bus in which he travels in for the European F1 races.

Have you ever wondered just how the suits F1 drivers wear are made? We go behind the scenes at Alpine Stars’ factory in Italy and find out.

Off The Grid: Monza premieres on Saturday at 9:30am ET on NBCSN following Russian GP qualifying.