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

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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.

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Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”