Carl Edwards' decision to spurn the advances of Joe Gibbs Racing and sign a new, multi-year contract with Roush Fenway Racing should bring a premature end to NASCAR's annual Sprint Cup "Silly Season."
Had Edwards chosen to jump to JGR in 2012, he would have vacated the seat in his #99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford; one of the most coveted rides in NASCAR. That move would have pushed Clint Bowyer, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Newman and Brian Vickers into the deep end of the rumor pool. All four drivers are in the final year of their respective contracts, and would be prime candidates to replace Edwards in the #99 Ford. Instead, it seems likely that all three drivers will now re-sign with their current teams, as will the sport's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who is days away from signing a contract extension of his own with Hendrick Motorsports.
Edwards stays with Roush Fenway, Bowyer remains at RCR. Montoya sticks with Earnhardt-Ganassi, while Newman re-ups with Stewart Haas Racing and Junior solidifies his spot at Hendrick Motorsports.
Talk about maintaining the status quo!
There are a couple of possible glitches, however. Joe Gibbs Racing could still elect to pursue a top-notch driver for the new, fourth Toyota they had hoped to field for Edwards. Home Depot's sponsorship of that fourth car was reportedly contingent on the signing of Edwards to challenge the championship stranglehold enjoyed by rival Lowe's and their driver, Jimmie Johnson. With Edwards no longer an option, it is likely that Home Depot will stand pat with JGR's #20 Toyota and driver Joey Logano.
The team now known as Red Bull Racing could still provide some Silly Season excitement, if they are able to secure the new sponsor and/or owner needed to keep their doors open following the departure of Red Bull at season's end. And Mark Martin is still out there, searching for a home in the aftermath of Kasey Kahne's scheduled move to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.
Even with those questions still to be answered, it appears that Silly Season 2011 will be one of the least eventful in recent memory.