Stock Car Racing NASCAR Retirements Carl Edwards
As Carl Edwards approaches 40...
NASCAR: Edwards to announce retirement
Kelly Crandall / Image by LAT
Joe Gibbs Racing has called two separate press conferences at its Huntersville, North Carolina, shop for Wednesday morning with the expectation Carl Edwards will announce he's leaving the sport.
FoxSports.com is reporting Edwards, 37, will depart JGR as well as NASCAR to pursue other interests. Fox Sport also reports defending Xfinity Series champion Daniel Suarez will be named the driver of the No. 19 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car. In 220 starts, Edwards has 28 career win, 22 poles, and 124 top-five finishes.
Last year, Edwards was in control of the championship fight at Homestead-Miami Speedway before being involved in an accident with fellow title contender Joey Logano with 10 laps to go. Edwards finished fourth in points after winning three races and leading almost 1,000 laps during the season.
When it comes to the Chase era, Edwards will be remembered for being a part of what could go down as NASCAR's most memorable championship battle. In 2011, Edwards finished tied for the championship with Tony Stewart, with Stewart earning the title based on wins. Stewart captured his fifth victory of the year in the season finale at Homestead in a race where Edwards, who had one win, finished second.
In 12 full years at the Cup level, Edwards has finished in the top five in points six times. The Columbia, Missouri, native has competed in the Cup Series since 2004. Edwards also has six career wins in the Camping World Truck Series and 38 wins in the Xfinity Series. He won the Xfinity Series championship in 2007.
Last edited by senor honda; 01-10-2017 at 12:03 PM.
CRANDALL: As others pass 40...... NASCAR's changing of the guard
Kelly Crandall / Images by LAT
A metamorphosis is underway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
For the past five years, the roster has largely remained the same with most of the sport's turnover coming in the early 2000s. But the pace is about to pick up, and new blood is ready to be infused into the series.
It started when Jeff Gordon announced he would retire in 2015 after 23 years at the premier level. Tony Stewart followed his lead this past season. Both are sure to be first-ballot Hall of Famers with seven championships between them and over 100 career wins. Not to mention their countless contributions to the sport outside of the car.
With Gordon and Stewart gone it naturally begs the question: Who's next? There's also the follow-up question – where do we find drivers to replace them?
First, accept that the Cup Series is going to look radically different over the next five years. Greg Biffle appears to be the next driver looking for work away from racing, having yet to announce whether he'll compete this season.
Retirement for the two-time NASCAR champion (one in each the Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series) was bound to happen sooner rather than later, with Biffle admitting in January 2016 during the annual NASCAR media tour he thinks about it every day. Finding a competitive car will not be an easy task if Biffle is looking for another year on the circuit. At 47 years old, Biffle had been the oldest active driver.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to his car this year, but for how much longer? Earnhardt turned 42 last October. Matt Kenseth is 44 and Kevin Harvick is 41, as is seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson. In November, Johnson told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he has about "three to five years" left before he retires.
Wouldn't it be something to see Johnson win his eighth championship in the next two years and retire on the stage at Homestead? It wouldn't be surprising.
Nor would it be a shock to see at least one driver each season continue to call it quits. Jamie McMurray entered the 40 club last year, and Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer are approaching that milestone.
Determining when seats are going to open up isn't easy, but looking at who could fill them is.
A frequent discussion in NASCAR is breaking down where the next batch of superstars is going to come from. Most look at the diversity programs the sport has as well as NASCAR Home Tracks, where young talent is developed at the regional level.
Better advice: Look at the roster for this year's Xfinity Series.
In addition to drivers like defending champion Daniel Suarez, Brennan Poole and Darrell Wallace Jr. still trying to prove their worth, there is a deep lineup of newcomers ready for the season to start.
Cole Custer will be full time for Stewart-Haas Racing. Daniel Hemric has a ride with Richard Childress Racing. Spencer Gallagher graduates into the series from trucks as does Tyler Reddick, who will have a limited schedule with Chip Ganassi Racing. Joe Gibbs Racing is also continuing its driver development with Matt Tifft.
JR Motorsports has each of its cars filled. Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier are back for their second year with the team, while Michael Annett rejoins the series. After lighting the Camping World Truck Series on fire with seven wins in his rookie year, William Byron joins the organization as he takes the next step in his career.
All of the above are proven talents, and they enter a series with plenty of other drivers of the same caliber. It's about getting the opportunity to show it. The good news is that with NASCAR limiting the amount of races Cup drivers (with more than five years of full-time experience) can compete in, that chance is now and the timing couldn't be better.
Get a good look. Like it or not, change has come and will continue to shake up the Cup Series. Drivers who were thought to be invincible, the ones who have been a staple of the series, are soon going to be gone.
NASCAR: Edwards steps away from racing
Wednesday, 11 January 2017
Kelly Crandall / Images by LAT, Getty Images for NASCAR
With the words, “I’m stepping away from full-time driving in the Cup Series,” Carl Edwards provided one of the biggest shocks to NASCAR in recent years Wednesday morning.
At 37, Edwards walks away from a Cup career that began in the fall of 2004. Now 445 starts later, Edwards leaves with 28 victories and six top-five points finishes on his résumé.
But while he’s ready to take the time to explore the interests he has outside of racing, Edwards did not use the word retire during the nearly 40 minutes he spoke to the media at Joe Gibbs Racing’s headquarters in Huntersville, North Carolina.
“If I'm going to get back in a racecar, I'm calling Coach [Joe] Gibbs first,” Edwards said about the possibility of racing again. “There is no better race team. There is no faster car than a Toyota Camry. There's no better engine. There's no better crew chief than Dave Rogers. There's no better crew. And I'm going to race here.”
It just will not be in 2017.
After nearly two decades of thinking about racing all day, every day – including, he said, in his dreams – Edwards is ready to devote his attention elsewhere. Laying it all out, he offered three reasons as to why the decision came when it did – nearly a month before cars hit the track at Daytona International Speedway for The Clash.
First, he cited personal satisfaction with his career. Of his 28 Cup wins, Edwards has been victorious in the all-star race, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500. He’s also a winner in the Camping World Truck Series and the 2007 Xfinity Series champion.
“I don't race just for the trophies,” Edwards said. “This has been a neat journey for me, and it's always been something that I've been rewarded by the challenges. It's scary in so many ways to go racing. I mean, initially, first time I stepped on the throttle of my dad's race car, I mean, I thought I was the greatest driver ever, and about a half second later I pulled my foot right off, and I couldn't get it to go back down, and I thought, man, this is going to be tough.
“So you go from that to working up the courage to ask people to drive a car to being put in situations where you know if you drive well and you win, you get sponsorship and everything works. Going through that whole process and becoming a better person, a stronger person, a better competitor, a better teammate, a better friend to people, that's a big deal to me, and I feel accomplished."
The second reason Edwards pointed to was the toll a long NASCAR season takes on a driver and those closest to him. After pouring everything he has into racing, he wants to take that time and devote it to the people and things important to him, such as his wife Kate and two children, Anne and Michael.
Edwards said he’s received “the most support ever” from those at home.
“I've been doing that for 20 years, and I need to take that time right now and devote it to people and things that are important to me,” Edwards said. “Things I'm really passionate about.”
Lastly, Edwards emphasized he is conscious of his health. Standing on stage, Edwards made it clear that he has no health issues forcing him out of the car, but he is aware of the dangers the sport presents, and he can walk away knowing he has a long life ahead.
“I can stand here healthy, and that's a testament after all the racing I've done and all the stupid stuff I've done in a race car, that is a true testament to NASCAR, to the tracks, to the people who have built my race cars, to my competitors, and to the drivers who have come before me who haven't been so fortunate,” he said.
“Having said that, though, it's a risky sport. I'm aware of the risks. I don't like how it feels to take the hits that we take, and I'm a sharp guy, and I want to be a sharp guy in 30 years. So those risks are something that I want to minimize.”
Calling this day a personal decision and one where he followed his gut, Edwards seemed to firmly shut the door on the rumors he will return to the series with a different team or manufacturer. Or that money was a reason. Right now, Edwards has no desire to drive a racecar and be full-time on the circuit.
JGR moved quickly to name Edwards' replacement, tapping 2016 Xfinity Series champion Daniel Suarez as the new driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota. Suarez will make his Cup debut in the 59th annual Daytona 500.
Team owner Joe Gibbs called Suarez the “obvious choice,” while admitting how taken aback he was at Edwards’ decision.
“I was all set for the holidays and a little R&R and hang around the house and everything,” Gibbs said. “I was in a meeting, and they said, ‘Hey, Carl stopped by,’ and I figured it was going be, have a Merry Christmas and everything. When he sat down in front of me and shared what he was thinking, I was totally surprised, and the first thing I did was say, ‘Look, this is a huge decision here. Let’s give it some time and think about this.’”
When the two came back together, Gibbs could tell Edwards was committed to his decision. Gibbs hopes to keep Edwards involved with the organization, calling him a part of the family.
As for what Edwards now does with his life in the immediate future, he’s looking forward to taking the time to figure that out.
“I don't really have that all figured out yet, and to me that's okay,” Edwards said. “I'm at peace with that. I know if I lay out those three reasons that I listed, if you put those together, you add them up, it adds up to this. This is the right thing.
“Life is short. You've got to do what your gut tells you, and I have a feeling I'll find something. If I don't make Coach [Gibbs] too mad, if I don't, maybe he'll have me back.”
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France released a statement saying Edwards has made "an indelible mark on NASCAR."
"His hard-charging driving style has led to memorable moments that will live forever in the history of our sport. Carl’s passion and personality will greatly be missed – as will the signature backflips that NASCAR fans have come to expect following his victories. We wish Carl nothing but the best as he enters this next phase in life.”
Edwards appears at Phoenix test
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
RACER Staff / Image by LAT
Recently-retired Carl Edwards rejoined his former Joe Gibbs Racing team at Tuesday's Phoenix test to help his replacement, Daniel Suarez, settle in for his first drive in a Cup Series Camry.
"I felt like this track in particular I could help him with a little bit," Edwards, a two-time Phoenix winner, told NASCAR.com. "I really like this place. It's one of my favorite tracks. So this is a perfect place for me to come and try to give some advice. It's so much different standing on the truck watching the car go than being in the car. I guess you just have more time to think about all the things that could go wrong sitting up there. It's more stressful to me."
"It feels a little strange. The first couple of minutes of being around felt a little funny, but it's been fine, it's been pretty neat."
The 37-year-old (pictured during his final race at Homestead in November) walked away from the sport at the end of last year, prompting the team to elevate XFINITY Series champion Suarez to the top tier to take over the No.19 entry. Edwards said that his current intentions don't extend much beyond spending more time with his family, although he did not rule out working with JGR or Toyota Racing Development in the future.
"Maybe those things will happen," he said. "Right now just getting used to a new normal, just something a little different."
He also downplayed rumors that he is eyeing a move into politics; at least in the short-term.
"That whole thing blew up with the political thing quickly ... that went out of control," he said.
"The point is I don't ever rule out anything. I don't have any interest in politics for politics. I really do believe in America and I believe that if a person can help maintain the future opportunities for other people, like the opportunities that all of us have had, that's our duty as Americans.
"If that's something down the line that fits in, that I can do, that would be an endeavor that I would be real proud of. But I'm not putting together this campaign or something. Not right now."
Edwards earned 28 wins and 223 top 10s during his 13 years at NASCAR's top level, finishing runner-up in the championship twice (2008 and 2011).
Carl Edwards has his sights set on victory. | Chris Trotman/Getty Images
2016 Total earnings: $12.3 million
Like Stewart, Carl Edwards definitely made the most of his final season on the track. Aside from earning $1.3 million in endorsements, Edwards collected $11 million in salary and winnings, giving him $12.3 million in total earnings during the 2016 season. According to Forbes, Edwards turns in his keys having secured more than $130 million throughout his 13-year racing career.
03-10-2017 08:07 AM
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