Carl Edwards’ run at Roush Fenway Racing ends on down note

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Carl Edwards surely did not want his tenure at Roush Fenway Racing to end like this.

A right-rear tire failure for Edwards at Lap 115 in Sunday’s Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway caused him to go into the wall, inflicting considerable rear-end damage to the No. 99 Ford Fusion.

The night was effectively ruined, as Edwards went on to finish four laps down in 34th place.

“I had a flat right-rear,” he said. “I was having some fun racing with some of those guys. I went under Austin Dillon and I heard a noise and I thought, ‘Oh, somebody’s engine is blowing up,’ and it was my tire flapping and I just drove in there and backed into the fence.

“If I would have been just a little bit quicker realizing what was going wrong, I think we would have still had a good finish, but I had a good time.”

Up to now, RFR has been the only Sprint Cup team that Edwards has raced for. But next season, he’ll join Joe Gibbs Racing as the team expands to four cars.

Edwards managed to survive long enough in this year’s Chase to make it to the Eliminator Round, but could not advance into the Championship 4. With his Homestead result, he winds up ninth in this year’s Cup standings.

He’ll exit the RFR camp with 23 victories (including two this year at Bristol and the road course at Sonoma), 108 Top-5 finishes, and 187 Top-10 finishes in 373 events across 11 seasons. Additionally, Edwards won a Nationwide Series title in 2007 for RFR and narrowly lost out on the 2011 Sprint Cup title to Tony Stewart.

While the Stewart defeat may still sting a little, Edwards can certainly be proud of what he accomplished.

Ditto for his crew chief, Jimmy Fennig, who is retiring from calling the shots on pit road. Fennig spent the last two years with Edwards and leaves with 40 career wins plus a Sprint Cup title as Kurt Busch’s CC in 2004.

However, he’s expected to stay around RFR in a consulting role. Edwards, on the other hand, will be out to beat RFR from here on in.

But he’ll always have the memories.

“Overall, it’s just been an honor to work with everybody here,” Edwards said. “If it weren’t for Jack Roush and Ford and everybody that has worked so hard, I definitely would never have had all the success we’ve had, so the 99 will always be a part of my life.”

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.