Team owner Jack Roush and his newly re-signed driver Carl Edwards met with members of the media Friday afternoon at Pocono Raceway to discuss the extension of their racing relationship. After months of closed-door negotiations and rumors of a possible move to Joe Gibbs Racing, the two sat next to one another full of smiles and beaming about the future.
"Words can't describe how happy all of Roush Fenway is to be sitting here with Carl in this circumstance and having him agree for 2012 and beyond to extend his association with us," Roush said.
Although Edwards declined to discuss the details of their private negotiations, the two did shed some light on the lengthy process.
"Carl, his evaluation and his questions were the most exhausting and certainly the most in-depth of any I've had in my 24 years, and I'm glad we've made it through that and he came to this determination," Roush said.
"I wish we would have never confirmed our term was up, because we could have gotten this done a lot quieter," Edwards said. "I looked at a lot of things, but at the end of the day our negotiations and deals and the things I look at competitively, those are private matters and I appreciate you guys respecting that."
Roush on how having Edwards under contract plays into sponsor negotiations:
As far as the 99 car, we just opened negotiations in the last 48 hours with the existing sponsors to see what's there. There are a couple of new sponsors potentially in the wings that we can attract and embrace and have them get involved.
This thing is extraordinarily expensive, extraordinarily complex and in today's economic environment, I think it's beyond the means of and the interest of most sponsors involved to take the whole car.
We're sorting through now to find out who the anchor will be for the 99 and then we'll fill in around that with the other sponsors and interest. We don't expect to have a shortage of sponsors for Carl. As we finish the 99's program, we'll continue with the discussions of people that are committed to our programs for the cars that are left.
Roush on if Edwards had not returned to the organization:
I want to say that if Carl had made the decision not to come back, I was gonna feel really stupid for having shown him all the things (the company does). We lined up every manager and every brilliant person we've got among the 416 there are a lot of them that are just really superior at what they do. He had a chance to consider the breadth and the length of every person and every thought that we had on what would be good going forward, and I would feel horribly exposed if he had not come back.
How Edwards went about the negotiations:
What I did from the beginning of this is I said, ‘What would I do if money weren't a factor and what would I do if I didn't care what one person thought about my decision?' A decision that's this important to me and my family for all the hard work that I've put in for the path that I've taken, for me personally, I act as my own agent, I make my own decisions, I understand my own deals and the decision was made under those thoughts.
So that's what made this more simple for me and that's how I came to the conclusion I came to. Whenever I'd start feeling that pressure start creeping in from the outside I'd think, ‘OK, let's get back to the basics here. Where can I win the most championships? And what would I do if other people's opinions weren't a factor?'
Was there a last-minute deal struck thanks to Ford? Edwards:
Let me clarify that. There was no last-minute money. The idea that some people have run with is, first
of all the money numbers that I read are not correct. That's all I'll say about that. And if anybody who wants to publish anymore of those numbers would like to come ask me if they're correct in person, I'll tell you they're not correct. And then second, the deal with Ford, there was no difference in the deal at the last minute or anything.
Roush's comments on money negotiations:
I'd like to make one follow-up comment on that on the money thing. The one thing that Carl and I did not have a discussion about at any point in the negotiation or consideration was money. Money was not a factor from my side, from the Roush Fenway side, and from what I could see it was not a factor from Carl's side. That did not weigh into the decision Carl made.
Edwards on the reaction of the crew members:
I think everybody is really excited, I think all of us are. I know I am and Jack is and I spent a little bit of time with the guys talking with them about it today and everybody feels the same way as best as I can tell that, ‘Hey, man, that was getting kind of stressful. I'm really glad we're moving beyond that.' I think everybody kind of has that same feeling, so that's good.
Roush on the team's reaction:
And I don't often agree with Jeff Gordon on very much, but...when Jeff commented and I think his comments were directed that if Carl did make his decision to leave that it would almost certainly be a distraction to his championship efforts this year, I don't think that anybody that's involved in this business would not see that as not a likelihood.
We're able to put that behind us now and there was no damage done (during) the negotiations, because he's still leading the points and we've got six opportunities to win races between now and the Chase.