In a surprise announcement NASCAR Monster Energy Series driver Carl Edwards avoided using the R word – retirement – when he announced that he would be stepping away from NASCAR and the Joe Gibbs Racing team.
Edwards follows NASCAR champions Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart in leaving the Monster Energy Series; however, Gordon and Stewart offically retired from the series.
Edwards noted that he is content with his career despite not winning a championship – something he has come close to doing twice – and is looking to spend more time on his interests outside of NASCAR – flying, agriculture and maybe politics – while he is still healthy. Edwards noted that the concussion issues suffered by premiere driver Dale Earnhardt Jr this past season was a “wake up call”.
Speaking on his decision Edwards said, “there’s no life raft I am jumping on to, I’m just jumping. This is a pure, simple, personal decision.”
Edwards had another year remaining on his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing.
Edwards NASCAR career began driving in the Camping World Truck Series for Jack Roush and later drove in the Xfinity series where he went on to win a championship. Edwards leaves NASCAR with 28 victories – each of which were marked by Edwards’ signature backflip off the car window frame. Edwards ran 445 races during his career with 22 poles.
The 2016 Xfinity Champion Daniel Suarez will slide into Edwards’ seat of the number 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Born in Mexico, Suarez is the first foreign born driver to win a NASCAR national series championship. He arrived in the US some five years ago with no knowledge of English – he learned by watching television – and has worked his way through the NASCAR ranks.
Speaking on his new ride, Suarez said, “since I moved to NASCAR when I was 16 years old, this has been something that I’ve been dreaming about. To be in this position is just something amazing.”
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