Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Roush's Truckload of Changes; Team Picks Truck Driver Edwards to Fill Spot, but Some Series Dates at Odds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Roush's Truckload of Changes; Team Picks Truck Driver Edwards to Fill Spot, but Some Series Dates at Odds

Article excerpt

Byline: DON COBLE, The Times-Union

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Before he was picked to drive Jack Roush's No. 99 Ford for the next two years, Carl Edwards was best known for his back-flip at the finish line after winning the Craftsman Truck Series race this year at the Daytona International Speedway.

When Jeff Burton left Roush this week -- after nearly nine years, 17 victories and four top-five finishes in the point standings -- Roush looked for a replacement in house by promoting Edwards. The car owner started his last two Nextel Cup Series with drivers in the truck series -- Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle, so it wasn't a surprise the Missouri native was picked to replace Burton. The timing of the move, however, will create some problems in the next couple of months.

Edwards, who will make his Nextel Cup Series debut in today's GFS Marketplace 400 at the Michigan International Speedway, is fourth in the truck series standings, 204 points behind leader Bobby Hamilton. Not only will Edwards forfeit a chance to be the 2005 rookie of the year by making more than seven starts before this rookie season, he may forfeit his truck championship hopes for this year as well.

Seven of the final 10 truck races will be run in conjunction with a Nextel Cup race, but the other three will create a logistics nightmare for the team, including the Saturday, Oct. 16, truck race at Texas and the Nextel Cup race at Charlotte on the same day.

Right now, the race team isn't thinking that far in advance. What's important is getting Edwards as much seat time as possible.

Edwards, 25, will start today's race (2 p.m., TNT) from the 23rd position. The starting lineup was set by the NASCAR rule book after rain on Friday forced the cancellation of time trials.

Series points leader Jimmie Johnson will start from the pole position, while Jeff Gordon, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, will be second.

If Edwards is still in contention for the truck championship, the team has to deal with three conflicts. The first will come next month when the trucks race on Saturday, Sept. 25, at Las Vegas while the stock cars are at Dover, Del. …

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