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May 2, 2008 5:55 PM

New Three-Year Deal Keeps Edwards at Roush Fenway

RICHMOND, Va. -- Carl Edwards is staying at Roush Fenway Racing, signing a multi-year contract to drive the No. 99 Ford.

"I signed my contract [Thursday], so I'm staying with Roush," Edwards said just after exiting his car at practice on Friday at Richmond International Raceway. "I looked at everything and I talked to everybody and, for me, the No. 1 thing is looking into the future and saying, 'Where can I win the most races and have the most success?'"

Team owner Jack Roush said the deal was a three-year contract.
"What we had hoped for was more than that, but what my understanding was the last time I knew what was on the table was that it was a three-year deal," Roush said.

Edwards represented himself in negotiations, which he said took about a week and a half.

Edwards' future with Roush Fenway Racing had been in limbo. His contract was set to expire at the end of the 2008 season, but he didn't provide any hints as to whether he was exploring other options or seeking an extension with Roush, saying he preferred to keep those matters mute.

Just last week, Roush said he felt confident he would be able to keep Edwards, who is in his fifth season at the Sprint Cup level.

On Friday, Roush said his confidence was a little shaken when he learned other teams were making strong pitches to Edwards, although he wasn't sure who the teams were.

"I think I know, but he told me he initially was going to talk to two other teams before he made a deal with us, and I'm not sure if he talked to both of the other teams or if he talked to more than two teams," Roush said. "I know there was a specific economic competitive offer that we had to consider ..."

Despite the financial aspects of the competition for Edwards, apparently the competitive status of the organization weighed heavily into him staying, as well.

"A guy would be crazy to leave Roush Fenway Racing and go somewhere else," said teammate Jamie McMurray, who didn't know about Edwards' contract status until Friday afternoon when a reporter brought it up. "I'm sure there were offers everywhere and probably very appealing. But I can't imagine a guy like that wanting to leave when you're having the success that you are."

Edwards is ranked 10th in the standings, 263 points behind leader Jeff Burton. He has a series-high three victories on the year, including one without regular crew chief Bob Osborne atop his pit box.

Osborne was suspended six weeks following the team's Las Vegas victory -- its second in a row -- when a faulty oil cap was discovered on the car during post-race inspection. Edwards responded with a solid run at Atlanta, leading 33 laps, but an engine problem ended his day early with a 42nd-place finish. He rebounded to win at Texas for his third victory of the season, sandwiched between a pair of top-10 runs.
Edwards said several factors weighed into his decision to remain with the only organization for which he's driven in the Cup Series.

"Robbie Reiser running the place, that's a big deal for me. More and more I'm understanding how important that is," said Edwards, in reference to Roush Fenway Racing's competition director.

Reiser moved from the crew chief's role with Matt Kenseth into a management position at Roush after last season. He has also filled in on race days as Edwards' crew chief while Osborne served his suspension, which ended this week.

Other factors in staying with Roush were the team's progress with the new car and the chemistry he's built with his crew, Edwards said.

"I've struggled since I've been here with changing people and having different pit-crew guys, and I feel like finally with Robbie managing that, I've got a group of guys that are going to be really good over the next three years," Edwards said. "I kind of know everything and where it's headed. We're winning right now and I think it's going to be better, so that kind of made it easy for me."

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