Carl Edwards shocked the NASCAR world in 2017 as he stepped away from his professional racing career. Edwards was at the top of his game, coming off another highly successful campaign. It’s a decision that many still question years later, but he remains quite firm that he won’t be back on a NASCAR track anytime soon.
Carl Edwards surprisingly steps into retirement
Carl Edwards came off a highly successful 2016 Sprint Cup Series campaign, finishing fourth in the points standings.
Edwards put forth some of his best driving as he had 18 events with 10 top-ten finishes and three wins. His dominance included seven of his first eight races featured top 10 finishes and a pair of wins. Despite that, Edwards chose the surprising route to step away from his craft at the peak of his career.
The 41-year-old finished his 13-year run with 28 NASCAR Cup Series wins, 220 top-ten finishes, and a pair of second-place series finishes. Edwards also piled up 38 Xfinity Series wins, one championship, and 174 top-ten in 245 races over 10 years.
The move left Joe Gibbs, who he raced for in his final two seasons under Joe Gibbs Racing, shocked and still not understanding the situation two years later as he told Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the Dale Jr. Download podcast in June 2019. (H/T Newsweek)
“Never really ever really got to them,” Gibbs said. “He said, ‘I’m not going to share with you. I’m not going to share with anybody the real bottom lines.”
There may not be any further clarity on that end, but it’s a decision he still doesn’t have lingering desire to come back.
Carl Edwards reveals why he won’t make a NASCAR comeback
Since stepping away from his professional racing career, the allure around Carl Edwards has been the possibility of returning to the sport.
There remains a shock factor around Edwards suddenly retiring before the 2017 season. Following that decision to retire, many have asked whether he will make a comeback. He quickly shot down any notion of that during an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio in March 2018.
“I don’t have any plans to come back,” Edwards said. “I do miss a lot of people. I stay in touch with a lot of folks and have fun, but I really appreciate the time from Joe Gibbs and everyone else to go do the things I want to do.
“I do miss the fans and there are a couple races I’d like to be a part of, but for the most part I’m having a lot of fun.”
Although rumors have floated around in the years following in retirement, he remains focused on his family life, farming, and traveling. During an interview with Shannon Spake on Fox Sports last March discussing his 2021 NASCAR Hall of Fame nomination, he stayed the course discussing those same topics.
Edwards may have his youth on his side at only 41-year-old, but there doesn’t appear to be any internal desire to get back behind the wheel on a NASCAR track.
NASCAR Hall of Fame lies ahead?
The next thing up on Carl Edwards’ plate is possibly reaching the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
NASCAR nominated him as part of their 2021 class alongside some other notable past drivers. Although Edwards didn’t earn an induction alongside Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mike Stefanik, and Red Farmer, his name will remain in the mix moving forward.
Edwards’ resume speaks for itself as he was one of the top drivers during his career. It may just be a matter of time before he earns that prestigious honor added to his resume.