INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Carl Edwards' 11-year run with Roush-Fenway Racing will end after this NASCAR season.
Roush confirmed the decision Sunday, a move that had been long expected but could not be substantiated because Edwards refuses to publicly discuss contract negotiations. He's believed to be headed to Joe Gibbs Racing in a new fourth car, but his contract with Roush does not permit him to announce his plans until September.
Matt Kenseth was bound by the same clause when he left Roush at the end of 2012 and had to wait months to announce he was moving to Gibbs.
Edwards, speaking two hours before the start of the Brickyard 400, said he has a completed deal with another team but is not ready to talk about it. He also tried to limit his time discussing his departure from Roush because the start of Sunday's race was approaching.
"Right now, the mission is to win this championship, this race," Edwards said. "This is my decision, it's a decision I made and I didn't take it lightly. Sometimes you just want to make a change, and opportunities present themselves and you say, 'Hey, what was that like to not take that opportunity?' "
With a move to Gibbs, Edwards will be reunited at a Toyota team with Kenseth, whom he didn't always get along with when they were Roush teammates. Minutes before the race, team owner Joe Gibbs declined to discuss Edwards but said a fourth car at the organization is possible.
Leaving Roush ends Edwards' long association with Ford. The manufacturer stepped up heavily in contract negotiations four years ago to offer incentives to keep Edwards from leaving Roush for Gibbs.
"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," said Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing. "While we are disappointed in his decision to leave Roush Fenway Racing, we certainly want to extend our appreciation for Carl's contributions."
Edwards has been with Roush since 2003 and in the No. 99 Ford in the Cup Series since 2004. He has 67 career victories in NASCAR's three national series.
Edwards' results have not been anywhere close to what he had hoped after losing the 2011 championship on a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart.
Edwards went winless in 2012, his first year of a new three-year contract extension with Roush, and missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Although he won two races last season, he finished last in the 13-driver Chase field.