Blame Carl Edwards for this crazy stupid season

12:00 PM ET

Who ranks as a biggest impact actor in a 2018 NASCAR Silly Season?

Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Maybe, deliberation that his tentative retirement has non-stop adult a primary float during Hendrick Motorsports and done vital unite Nationwide recur either to continue sponsoring a driver.

Brad Keselowski? Only if he does pierce to reinstate Earnhardt — that changes a landscape of a sport.

But unequivocally it feasible comes down to a motorist who hasn’t incited a trail in 2017.

Carl Edwards.

Think about it. This whole doubt with Furniture Row Racing now wondering if it can margin a second team, that leaves a Silly Season a confused mess, can be traced behind to Edwards.

Pros, cons of NASCAR’s theatre racing

Midway by a deteriorate — 18 races down, 18 to go — it’s a intelligent time to consternation if NASCAR did something right in dividing all of a races into stages.

  • On to a subsequent section for Erik Jones

    The 21-year-old Cup driver, who’s 14th in a points standings as a rookie with Furniture Row Racing, says a event he will get during Joe Gibbs Racing feels like a good fit.

  • With Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing had potentially 6 drivers who could competition Cup in 2017 — Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez. Kenseth indispensable some-more sponsorship after Dollar General left after a 2016 season, and if Suarez went to Cup teaming with Arris, who was with Edwards, afterwards Edwards — a marketer’s dream — substantially would have indispensable to attract some-more sponsorship.

    So Furniture Row final Aug could simply determine to a one-year understanding with Jones for 2017, meditative that if Jones went to JGR, it would have a inside lane on Suarez/Arris or potentially another motorist with sponsorship from Gibbs (or healthy support from Toyota) if Jones carried 5-Hour Energy to JGR.

    Fast brazen 12 months, and a highway has had outrageous curves. Edwards left in Jan and JGR promoted Suarez, in partial during slightest interjection to a unite affiliation, given Arris was sponsoring Edwards in Cup and Suarez in Xfinity. Six months later, JGR announced that Jones would reinstate Kenseth. In a proclamation of employing Jones and not renewing Kenseth, JGR cited a doubt during Furniture Row. But there appears to be usually as many doubt during JGR.

    Gibbs can’t find significant, fast sponsorship for Kenseth, and it’s usually proof that it can substantially sell Jones easier to a association looking for long-term partnerships.

    So Jones is in, Kenseth is out and Furniture Row is left looking, with no one during JGR nor in a Toyota fast immediately means to fill a ride.

    All of a sudden, a tube — don’t forget, Christopher Bell could have followed a Jones/Suarez trail in 2019 or 2020 — that Furniture Row suspicion it had 12 months ago when it concluded to enhance to a two-car operation has evaporated interjection to Edwards and a moves JGR done as partial of a domino effect.

    Even yet 5-Hour Energy’s usually choice is to stay during Furniture Row (a limitation interjection to a Monster Energy understanding NASCAR sealed in December), that wasn’t a full deteriorate when it was announced and a 45-year-old motorist in Kenseth doesn’t accurately align with a aim audience.

    It some-more than expected could overlay into a Martin Truex Jr. module during Furniture Row if it wants to sojourn with a driver.

    Team owners Barney Visser stressed final week after Truex’s win that he wanted to margin dual cars in 2018, though that he indispensable to make it work financially.

    While Furniture Row has Bass Pro Shops and some other sponsorship, Visser has shown he is peaceful to flow usually so many into his organization. If he didn’t caring how many he spent, he would have stretched to a two-car group years ago. He waited until a time was right — when he knew he could get Jones in a automobile — and bought a group charter.

    While a NASCAR landscape is always in a small bit of flux, it would not have taken all that large a jump of faith to consider that JGR could have continued to flue drivers to Furniture Row. It could have landed some additional sponsorship for Edwards — if Arris remained aligned with Suarez — as Edwards continued to plea for championships.

    Now, like many multicar organizations, Furniture Row needs to find a approach to compensate for it all.

    This isn’t usually speak about a second group during an classification going away. It’s a group that is 14th in a standings from an classification that has shown a ability to be a contender for championships.

    Furniture Row isn’t alone in a quandary. Certainly other organizations could downsize after 2017. Hendrick needs sponsorship for both a No. 88 and 5 cars, and they lay 21st and 22nd in a owners points. Stewart-Haas Racing still needs sponsorship for 3 of a 4 cars, though it expected would strew one automobile during most, and Danica Patrick‘s group is 30th in a owners points. If Richard Childress Racing loses Paul Menard, it could contend bye-bye to a group that is 23rd in a standings.

    How will it all shake out? Well, it could count on — theory who — Edwards.

    Edwards has always pronounced that if he wanted to return, he’d speak to Joe Gibbs first. Well, it’s apparent Gibbs doesn’t have room for him. A probable interpretation of Edwards’ comments about articulate to Gibbs is that he still has commitments to JGR interjection to his sudden departure. If other teams wish Edwards, it’s misleading what it would take to potentially buy him out of any commitments or settlements he had with JGR.

    Any group would wish Edwards, if he is accessible and sponsorship materializes — a large “if” deliberation that several of a sport’s stars have indispensable mixed sponsorships usually to sojourn in a seat.

    Edwards, when he spoke to reporters a few weeks ago during Sonoma Raceway, seemed calm with his decision. He marches to a somewhat opposite drummer than most, and while it also seemed that he would listen to offers, it’s not like he’s desperately perplexing to get behind into a game.

    Veterans typically cost some-more than immature drivers, and this Silly Season appears to be moulding adult to where teams competence have to make economically sound choices.

    But even an economically sound choice, as Furniture Row has learned, can change over 12 months. All it takes is one large name to make a preference that no one expects, and a income starts going in opposite directions, withdrawal some feeling like a intensity income tide has run dry.

    Maybe that’s because they call it “Silly Season” in a initial place.

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