Norris replaces Osborne as Edwards' crew chief
Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Roush Fenway Racing revealed on Tuesday that Bob Osborne has stepped down as crew chief for Carl Edwards' No. 99 team in the Sprint Cup Series.
Chad Norris will serve as Edwards' crew chief, effective immediately, while Osborne with remain with Roush Fenway as a senior member of the organization's management team and steering committee.
"I have had the pleasure of working with Carl Edwards for the past nine years and, during that time, my focus has been building a championship-caliber program," Osborne said in a team statement. "I'm proud of the 18 wins we've had together in Sprint Cup Series competition and our two second-place points finishes."
Osborne noted an undisclosed health issue led to him stepping down from the position.
"At this time in my life, however, concerns with my health have necessitated that I change my role within the organization," he said.
The crew chief change comes at a time when Edwards is in a slump following his second-place finish in last year's Chase for Sprint Cup championship. Edwards ended the 2011 season with the same number of points as Tony Stewart, but Stewart claimed the title by virtue of his five wins -- all of them in the Chase -- compared to one victory for Edwards.
With seven races to go before the Chase begins, Edwards sits 11th in the point standings. His bid for making this year's playoffs is in jeopardy, as he trails 10th-place Brad Keselowski by 46 points. Edwards' last victory in the series came in March 2011 at Las Vegas (52 races ago).
Osborne had been the crew chief for Edwards since his Cup debut in 2004. In 2008, Edwards won a series-season-high nine races and finished second to Jimmie Johnson in points.
"I cannot say enough good things about Bob Osborne," Edwards said. "I'm so thankful for what he's done for me as a driver, and he is without a doubt one of the smartest guys in the sport. I'm also appreciative of the fact that he'll continue to be a resource for me and our team as we focus on these final races.
"We're very fortunate to have Chad Norris as part of our organization to take over for the No. 99. I've known Chad for a long time, and he is a fierce competitor. We've got our work cut out for us over the next seven races, and I've got every confidence Chad can lead our team to where we need to be."
Norris' first role as crew chief at Roush Fenway came in 2005 with the No. 17 Nationwide Series team. In his eight years with Roush Fenway, Norris has led multiple teams to victory lane, including Trevor Bayne's inaugural Nationwide win last November at Texas.
"Our commitment to winning a championship with the No. 99 in 2012 has not wavered," team owner Jack Roush said. "I'm committed to providing the resources to Carl and to his team to do that, and this restructuring of Bob's role and the introduction of Chad Norris as the crew chief for the No. 99 will put us in the best possible position for these final seven races before the Chase begins."
Sprint Cup has its final break of the season this coming weekend before its next race on July 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
07/17 11:00:57 ET