After losing the Sprint Cup championship in a tiebreaker last season, Carl Edwards has struggled to find his old form from last year. Now his longtime crew chief Bob Osbourne is stepping down down from his position because of health concerns.
Edwards sits 11th in the points and has not had a win this season. In fact it has been 52 races since Edwards has found victory lane. If Edwards and his team don’t find a way to make it into victory lane within the next seven races, he most likely will miss the chase.
Osbourne has been the crew chief for Edwards ever since he came into the Cup Series and the two have had tremendous results in their nine years together. They had 18 wins and finished second in the championship twice. However, there seemed to be some tension between the two this season. It was most clear that there was some trust issues after the Kentucky race, where Edwards had some comments after the race about the decision that was made on whether or not to pit under the final caution period.
With that being said, it is unclear if that had anything to with Osbourne leaving. As it was mentioned before, Osbourne has said he is leaving because of health reasons, but he will remain with the organization and Chad Norris will take over as crew chief for Edwards.
“At this time in my life, however, concerns with my health have necessitated that I change my role within the organization.
“This transition is not an easy one, but I’m thankful to have the full support of Jack (Roush), Carl and the entire organization, said Osbourne. I also have every confidence in Chad Norris, and I look forward to working with him as we continue to pursue a championship in 2012.”
The move comes at the right time since it is during the final off week of the season. It will give Norris and Edwards time to get to know each other better and learn how to communicate as a team. However, Osbourne is one of the best crew chiefs in the garage and was probably the smartest. It is hard to think that this crew chief change will help Edwards’ performance this season.
Norris been the crew chief for Trevor Bayne during his part-time ride in the Nationwide Series and helped lead Bayne to his first Nationwide Series win at Texas. Early on, Edwards seems excited to have him on the team.
“We’re very fortunate to have Chad Norris as part of our organization to take over for the No. 99,” Edwards said. “I’ve known Chad for a long time and he is a fierce competitor. We’ve got our work cut out for us over the next seven races, and I’ve got every confidence Chad can lead our team to where we need to be.”
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has an off weekend and the next race will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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