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2011 Daytona 500: Carl Edwards Approaches Free Agency

The 2011 Daytona 500 is the start of the NASCAR season; for Columbia native Carl Edwards it’s also the start of the last year of his contract with Roush Fenway Racing. Edwards has proven one of the most popular drivers in NASCAR since his breakout season in 2005, and this could prove to be one of the biggest free agency questions to come out of Missouri since—well, since Albert Pujols a few days ago. But it’s still very big.

The Kansas City Star speculates on a number of options, including Edwards supplementing Dale Earnhardt Jr. or replacing Jeff Burton; he could also go to a number of teams that are in need of a marquee driver, preferably one who’s known to do backflips and other TV-friendly things.

Missouri sports fans will find a number of things familiar with Edwards, and not just the back-flipping—he is also reluctant to negotiate his contract through the media and prefers to concentrate on getting ready for the season, even though he’s not under contract for 2012. It’s getting eerie in here. Edwards was last a free agent in 2008, during which he won a career-high nine races.