Carl Edwards to race Nationwide season

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Even though he won't be running for a championship, Carl Edwards has other reasons to keep racing in the Nationwide Series.

Edwards said Thursday he plans to run every race in NASCAR's second-tier series despite not being able to contend for the title this season.

"We still have the owners' championship to go for, still have all those wins to race for," Edwards said during a test at newly repaved Daytona International Speedway. "That's fun. That's what makes the Nationwide Series fun."

NASCAR changed its rules this year and forced drivers to select one series in which they will race for a championship. That leaves guys like Edwards and rival Brad Keselowski, who race full time in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series, no longer able to compete for titles in both divisions.

The revision could help fill NASCAR's desire to give the second-tier series its own identity.

Edwards, though, plans to continue racing both series.

"I would really love to be able to have another championship battle with Brad, especially 'cause of how well he ran last year and try to race him again for it," Edwards said.

Edwards added that his Nationwide schedule could change depending on the demands of his Cup team.

"My plan is to run every race, but if we get eight or 10 races and it's not looking good, then I don't know what we'd do," Edwards said. "Whatever looks best for our Cup program."

Keselowski, the defending Nationwide champion, has said he checked the Cup Series for his championship participation. His crew chief, Todd Gordon, indicated Keselowski will run 30 to 32 Nationwide races, the majority of the series' 35 events.

Edwards said he had hoped NASCAR might let him race for championships in both series under some sort of "grandfather" clause. But it didn't happen.

NASCAR officials are expected to discuss the policy change Friday at Daytona.

Designed to be a feeder series where young talent can develop, the Nationwide Series has been dominated by NASCAR's Cup stars. The last five champions were all full-time Cup drivers, and Justin Allgaier was the only non-Cup driver to win a Nationwide race last season.

The change likely will only affect Keselowski and Edwards.

NASCAR is not expected to limit the amount of Nationwide and Truck Series races that Cup drivers can enter. Doing so could be a deterrent to many fans, some of whom only get to see NASCAR's stars race live in those lower-tier series.