Edwards’ crew chief change a collective decision

Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, speaks to crew members in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for NASCAR)

SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Carl Edwards takes umbrage at the notion that the health problems of former crew chief Bob Osborne were merely a convenient excuse to usher in his replacement.

“I know a couple of you guys have insinuated and have thought this health thing is not as big a deal as it seems,” said Edwards, who declined to go into specifics about Osborne’s health issues during a Saturday media session at the speedway.

“I can’t overstate enough that Bob is a very, very dedicated guy to our sport, and he is going through something right now that would be tough for anyone, and for him to have done what he has done at this level  and to have kept it quiet, he is just a tough, tough man.”

According to Edwards, Osborne initiated the conversation that led to his replacement as crew chief by Chad Norris. Edwards said he had very little impact on the decision, which was announced July 17, after a meeting that included owner Jack Roush, general manager Robbie Reiser, engineer Chip Bolin, Osborne and Edwards.

“No, I didn’t have much impact in it,” he said. “I haven’t worked with Chad, so I didn’t know much about him. We sat there, Jack, Robbie, Chip and Bob, and they all said it was the best thing, and this was what we were going to do. We discussed it and talked to Chad and brought him in the office and talked to him a little bit.

“If you look out there across the sport, this looks like the best thing we could do — maybe not for the long run — but for right now, this was as simple of a change with as much blue sky in front of it that we could make.”

Norris faces an uphill climb. Edwards hasn’t won in 52 races and is 11th in the standings, 46 points out of 10th, the last position guaranteed a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Edwards has seven events to make up the deficit — or to win a race and put himself in the conversation for one of two wild-card spots.

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