There will be no more winning backflips in NASCAR’s Premier Series in 2017.
In front of a packed house of media members at Joe Gibbs Racing on Wednesday, Carl Edwards took to the stand to announce that he would step away from driving full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, effective immediately. 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion Daniel Suarez has been tapped to pilot Edwards’ No.19 Toyota Camry.
“You’ve got to do what your gut tells you,” Edwards explained.
For 40 minutes, the Missouri native stood before dozens of media members with eager questions, and cited 3 main reasons for his unexpected departure from racing full-time.
His first reason – He is satisfied with his career. Edwards has spent 20 years of his life racing, with 12 of those seasons coming in NASCAR’s top division. In his time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, “Cousin Carl” has found victory lane 28 times, and has turned laps in first place 6,136 times. 124 Top-5’s, 220 Top 10’s and 22 pole positions, while only driving for two teams, Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards has never hoisted the ultimate prize in NASCAR’s top division, the Championship trophy. But for a driver who is well-known for his outstandingly friendly persona, he raced for himself.
Truly, you guys know that I don’t race just for the trophies,” a heartfelt Edwards explained. This has always been a really ‑‑ this has been a neat journey for me.”
Reason number two – the dedication and time to racing. He explained how racing never leaves his mind, and that it can be physically, mentality, and emotionally encompassing to an individual.
“I need to take that time right now and devote it to people and things that are important to me, things I’m really passionate about,” Edwards believes.
His third and final reason is his personal health. He reassured that, even after his personal phone blew up with texts and phone calls of concern, himself and his family are all perfectly healthy. He preached of NASCAR’s dedication to safety, the tracks, and to drivers before him who were not so lucky to race another day, to help improve safety.
But Edwards will not use the “r word”. Retirement for a NASCAR driver has shown in years past that it doesn’t necessarily mean a driver is finished behind the wheel. Jeff Gordon spent his first year of no longer driving full-time, driving the No.88 car for a concussed Earnhardt Jr.
The 37-year-old claimed that this has been a topic that has lingered on his mind for sometime, but no one event pointed to this outcome.
Edwards has always been known for being very private with his personal life, but it hasn’t stopped him from heading into the stands to celebrate with fans after a win. Many journalists since the news broke Tuesday, have praised Edwards for his outgoing, friendly persona, never turning down an autograph, and always stopping for photos, even if he had no time. Fighting back tears, Edwards summed up his feelings, and why he is who he is, in one simple phrase.
“I just want to be a good person”.
Featured Photo Credit : Autoweek