Carl Edwards, make up your mind!

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:28 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS - Carl Edwards is caught between two warring forces that threaten to unhinge the best chance of his career for a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

On one side is his loyalty and genuine affection for Jack Roush, the co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing, where Edwards has spent his entire NASCAR Cup career.

On the other is a bid for his soon-to-be free agent services from Joe Gibbs Racings Toyota outfit.

It is not an easy choice.

But to choose the Gibbs deal that is rumoured to be about $15 million US a season would surely end his chances this season for a championship in the No. 99 RFR Ford.

Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon said as much in a question-and-answer session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Whether or not hes staying or going, its a big distraction, a lot on his mind, Gordon said. I think its unfortunate in some ways because I think this is the best year Ive seen Carl have with a team and a car capable of winning the championship, if those things are all playing out lets say hes going somewhere else, theyre done.

I just dont see them winning the championship knowing that (he is) leaving.

Even Greg Biffle, one of his RFR teammates, said that Edwards needs to make a decision one way or the other for the sake of the team.

And he strongly hinted that he thinks Edwards has already made up his mind to leave.

At some point hes going to have to say Im not coming back, Biffle said. Hes not going to be able to wait until Homestead (the last race of the season), we all know that.

Biffle said that Edwards decision will affect more than just him, but a lot of folks who work at RFR.

There are a lot of peoples jobs on the line if were going to be three teams or four teams so the sooner the better, he said.

As for Edwards, he is staying tight-lipped about what direction he wants to take his career.

Were working hard on the contract stuff, he said. Ive heard a lot of different ideas out there, but it still remains the same.

Im going make the decision thats the best one I can make and Im going to do that outside of the media.

Edwards also refuses to believe that the ongoing contract talks with both RFR and Gibbs is hurting his Cup championship chances.

And he wont discuss anything beyond that talks are continuing.

I cant tell you, he said to media members at the Brickyard 400. Im not purposely withholding anything, other than to just be able to get the business side of everything done. When Im able to talk about next season, if its appropriate, I will talk about it and Ill tell you guys.

There is also a certain delicious irony to suggestions that a deal with Gibbs has already been negotiated.

Edwards and Kyle Busch the star of the Gibbs team have famously feuded over the years.

Yet this week at Indianapolis Busch appeared to take a very positive view of having Edwards as a possible teammate.

If Carl came over to Gibbs, certainly it would be beneficial, Busch said. Hes really good at what he does, hes got great communication, hes got good feedback, and hes been one of the top three or four guys in the sport every year.

If, by the way, Edwards does move to Gibbs it will be in the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota, with current driver Joey Logano going to a fourth JGR car.


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