Breaking Down JGR's Announcements
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on August 19, 2014 | 1:25 P.M. EST
Joe Gibbs Racing will determine who Carl Edwards' crew chief will be next season. That's among many issues to be determined after Tuesday's announcement that Edwards will join the team in 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - As Carl Edwards walked on to the stage Tuesday morning at Joe Gibbs Racing, he shouted “surprise!” to the media.
Still, there was much to be gleaned from Joe Gibbs Racing’s announcement that Edwards would drive a fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup team for the organization next year. And, there remained some questions.
Here’s a look at the details of Edwards joining JGR, the organization’s other announcement and what all this means.
What are the details on Carl Edwards’ ride? He will drive a No. 19 Toyota Camry beginning next year for JGR. Arris Group, Inc., will be the primary sponsor for 17 races.
What about the remaining races? Who will be the sponsor? Joe Gibbs said that most of the remaining primary sponsorships have been sold. Announcements will come later.
Why is Edwards going to JGR? Asked if Roush Fenway Racing had hit a ceiling, Edwards said: “I don’t think so. We really could find something, go on a tear. We could hit on something and win five races in the Chase and dominate. So, no I don’t feel like we’ve hit a ceiling.’’
So why leave Roush Fenway Racing for JGR? Edwards said: “Sometimes you’ve got to shake things up, you’ve got to do things differently. I’ve done this for 10 years, I plan to do it for a lot longer. When an opportunity like this comes up and all the pieces come together this perfectly, for me, I didn’t want to look back and wonder what that would have been like. I want to take the opportunity and go see what I can make of it.’’
What about working with Matt Kenseth, his former teammate at Roush? They once had issues. Edwards said of being a teammate: “One of my goals in coming here is to ... be a really, really good teammate to these guys. I have learned a lot about how to be a teammate. I, admittedly, was not the best teammate at the beginning of my career. I had a lot of the ‘every-man-for-himself attitude’ and wanting to prove myself regardless of any damage to any relationships. I didn’t think of it as a real team atmosphere. I’ve learned a lot over the years. I really value my teammates now. From my perspective, I’m going to do everything I can to be the best teammate I can ... so that overall we can be better.’’
Who will be Edwards’ crew chief? What will his role be in that determination? No decision has been announced, and Edwards says he doesn’t want to have much involvement in the process. “This organization has done a great job of putting people together and having success. I don’t know enough of what goes on here. Whatever they decide, I will gladly participate.’’
What else did JGR announce Tuesday? Joe Gibbs Racing also announced that Daniel Suarez will have a full ride in the Nationwide Series with the organization next year and run a partial schedule for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series. Arris Group, Inc., will sponsor Suarez in the Nationwide, Truck, and the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series. JGR also announced a diversity initiative with Escuderia Telemex with support from Arris to provide developmental opportunities to Mexican and Latin American candidates.
OK, so what is this Arris Group, Inc. and why did the company decide to join NASCAR? Bob Stanzione, Chairman and CEO of Arris, asked those at the press conference to raise their hand if they had heard of Arris Group. Few did. Arris Group, Inc., states it is a worldwide leader in broadband and video delivery technology. “We felt we needed to get our name out there,’’ he said. “You may have our product in your home and not know it because often times our logo is on the bottom of the product and not on the front.’’
With Suarez running a full Nationwide schedule next season, what does that mean for the rest of JGR’s Nationwide program, particularly Elliott Sadler and Darrell Wallace Jr.? Joe Gibbs addressed this situation, saying: “Right now, a lot of that is still in the process of being worked out. We’re in the middle of going back and visiting with all of our sponsors. We love that series. We’ve run as many as four cars, and that is a possibility for us, but we definitely will have a strong contingent and we’re working through all those things right now.’’