After months of rumors, Roush Fenway Racing confirmed Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that Carl Edwards will not return to the team as they announced the 2015 driver lineup.
In a release sent to the media, RFR officials announced their 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup roster would include verteran Greg Biffle in the No. 16 Ford, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the No. 17 Ford, and 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne in the No. 6 Ford.
"I have had the privilege of fielding entries for the world's best race car drivers in NASCAR for nearly 30 years, and feel quite fortunate to have an opportunity to do that again next year," said team co-owner Jack Roush.
"We have always prided ourselves in developing talent at Roush Fenway, and our 2015 line-up is a testament to the success of our organization in that respect," Roush said. "Greg Biffle is one of the most purely talented racers I've ever seen behind the wheel of a car, and his experience combined with the raw natural abilities, enthusiasm and desire in both Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Trevor Bayne have me very excited for the future. Although we still have a lot to accomplish this year, both John Henry and I are looking forward to going to the track in 2015 with this blend of veteran leadership and youthful potential."
#RFR lineup for '15 has great mix of leadership/youth. But focused on wins & championships in '14. #DR1VEN
"I don't have the words for what Jack Roush has meant to my career," Greg Biffle told the Associated Press. "During our 16 years together, we have won multiple championships and numerous races on every level. I am as excited about what the future holds for me here as I am about what we have been able to accomplish in the past.
"Our goal remains to run up front, win races and become the sports' first triple crown winner by having a championship in all three series."
The team also confirmed that Fastenal will serve as the primary sponsor on Stenhouse's No. 17 Ford as part of a multi-year agreement.
Awesome to have @FastenalRacing on board in 2015. We are going to keep working hard and have that No. 17 running up front! #DR1VEN
"Fastenal is a first class partner and we are extremely pleased to have them team with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and the No. 17 team starting next year," Roush said. "Ricky has accomplished a great deal in a short time, and continues to improve each week. We have very high expectations for his success in the future and I'm thrilled that Fastenal will be a part of that."
Sunday's announcement put an end to months of rumors about the future of Edwards, something both he and the RFR organization had been quiet on throughout it all. With the announcement, Roush thanked his former driver for their time together and said they are still focused on winning this year's title.
"I will always be thankful for Carl's contribution and the role he played in many Roush Fenway wins and championships," Roush said. "We wish him well for the future. In the meantime, we are excited about continuing our quest for a championship with Carl and the No. 99 team in 2014."
Very appreciative of what Carl Edwards has meant to @roushfenway. He's been a great ambassador and will always be part of RFR family.
"I've been in this sport long enough to be very close to some championships," he said on NASCAR RaceDay. "It would be foolish and it would be wrong not to focus 100 percent on what I have got going on right now. That's where my head's at, not just today but for this season. When it's right to talk about next year, we'll talk about next year."
While Edwards remained quiet on his plans, Ford Racing director Jamie Allison issued a statement Sunday morning indicating Edwards would not be back in a Ford for the 2015 season.
"Carl Edwards has been a part of the Ford family for a decade, and it will certainly be tough to see him leave Ford and Roush Fenway Racing," Allsion said in a statement. "During Carl's time with Roush, he has represented Ford Motor Company with the utmost class, both on and off the track. We at Ford Racing did everything to facilitate keeping Carl a part of the Ford Racing & Roush Fenway family, but in the end that option did not come to fruition.
"While we are disappointed in his decision to leave Roush Fenway Racing, we certainly want to extend our appreciation for Carl's contributions winning races and a NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship in a Ford, and especially for his outreach to Ford fans. That said, with this decision out of the way, our plan for 2014 has not changed. We will go forward strongly with our stated goal of securing a NASCAR championship for Ford."