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Carl Edwards commits to full Nationwide schedule in 2011; can he compete for title?

By Lee Montgomery

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Carl Edwards said Friday he would run the full NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule again in 2011, though whether he’ll compete for the championship remains to be seen.

Edwards has run the full Nationwide schedule for six consecutive seasons, finishing third or better in the previous five years. He’s second this season.

NASCAR, however, is considering limiting Sprint Cup participation in the Nationwide Series in 2011. One idea being considered is not awarding points to full-time Cup drivers.

"For me, that’s a great team I’ve got over there," Edwards said of his Roush Fenway Nationwide team. "We’ve got a great shop and a bunch of people that work very hard. I kind of halfway committed to doing it a year ago, these two years, so if NASCAR says that we can’t race for driver’s points, I still feel like I owe it to my guys and my sponsors and myself to follow through and do what I said I’d do."

Edwards said he wasn’t sure not awarding Nationwide points to Cup drivers would help the series, given so few Cup drivers are running for the Nationwide title, with perhaps only Edwards and Brad Keselowski running every race in 2011.

"If it’s good for the series, if it pacifies some complaints out there or whatever is going on and it only hurts two guys, then that’s a pretty good deal for NASCAR," Edwards said. "I don’t know the real solution. I don’t even know the real problem. In our situation if I were to say, ‘Hey, I’m not running the Nationwide Series,’ that might actually hurt the number of seats that Jack Roush has available for young guys. …

"I think that would actually hurt our ability to field cars. That’s the way it’s been explained to me. In a way, it would be neat if the Nationwide Series ran at different places – like I-70 Speedway or South Boston, places like that – then it might keep guys like myself from having the opportunity to go run for a championship. But if I’ve got the opportunity to do it, and I’ve got a team owner that’s willing, it’s really hard not to do it."