Roush crew chief Osbourne to return to Edwards car

Updated: November 9, 2006, 5:47 PM ET
By Marty Smith | Special to ESPN.com

CONCORD, N.C. -- Roush Racing crew chief Bob Osbourne will return to the No. 99 Ford and reunite with driver Carl Edwards, effective immediately, Roush Racing president Geoff Smith confirmed for ESPN.com Wednesday.

"That's true. We're making the move in preparation for [2007]," Smith said.

The Edwards/Osbourne tandem scored four victories and fell just 30 points short of a championship during the 2005 campaign, Edwards' first at the Nextel Cup level.

Osbourne began the 2006 season as crew chief of the No. 99, but in April team owner Jack Roush made the decision to shake up his Nextel Cup Series crew chief lineup, sending Osbourne to direct Jamie McMurray's struggling No. 26 team.

In doing so, he tabbed Roush's director of engineering Wally Brown to lead Edwards' No. 99 program.

Neither team saw marked improvement. Neither has won a race in 2006.

Smith said Brown will assume the crew chief role on McMurray's team for the final two races of the 2006 season in Phoenix and Homestead, Fla., but would not crew chief in 2007. Smith said it is his understanding that Brown is headed to Joe Gibbs Racing in an engineering role.

It is uncertain at this time, Smith said, who will serve as McMurray's crew chief in 2007.

Edwards has nine top-five finishes in 2006, and though he failed to qualify for the 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup, has been quite impressive in the eight Chase races to date, scoring five top-10 finishes during that eight-week span.

McMurray, who joined Roush Racing this year after three seasons at Chip Ganassi Racing, is 23rd in Nextel Cup points.

Marty Smith is a contributor to ESPN's NASCAR coverage. He can be reached at ESPNsider@aol.com.