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Carl Edwards remains committed to full Nationwide Series schedule

Carl Edwards
Carl Edwards

By Lee Montgomery

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Carl Edwards says he remains committed to the NASCAR Nationwide Series for 2011, despite rules changes that will keep him from competing for the Nationwide championship for Roush Fenway Racing.

Edwards has run the Nationwide Series full time for six consecutive seasons, winning the title in 2007 and finishing second the last three seasons.

But NASCAR President Mike Helton confirmed Friday that drivers competing in the sanctioning body's three national series will have to declare for only ONE championship. Edwards, clearly, will pick Sprint Cup.

And Helton also said Edwards and Brad Keselowski, the other Cup driver who planned to run the full Nationwide title, will not be "grandfathered" in this year's Nationwide title race.

"Yeah, that would have been nice for myself and Brad and whoever else," Edwards said. "We are going to run for the Cup championship. I am going to start with the No. 60 (Nationwide) team, running every race. We are going to start that way, see how it goes, and we still have the owners championship to go for and all those wins to race for. That is fun. That is what makes the Nationwide series fun."

But now, Edwards' No. 99 Cup team takes clear precedence.

"I would really love to have a championship battle with Brad, especially with him because of how well he ran last year," Edwards said of the Nationwide Series. "It would be nice to be able to race him for it. My plan is to run every race, but if we get eight or 10 races in and it isn't looking good, then I don't know what we would do. Whatever looks best for our Cup program at that point."