Tha Sports Junkies 101

Carl Edwards Steps Away


On the morning of January 11th, 2017, Joe Gibbs Racing Driver Carl Edwards held a Press Conference in which he officially announced his retirement from full-time NASCAR competition. This comes a day after the news broke and left several fans speechless.

Edwards took the podium in an upbeat manor and started off by joking with the media members in attendance by saying “I didn’t want a podium up here, but all right, thanks for coming. It’s occurred to me there must be some sort of thing that people do on the internet where they communicate really quickly because everybody found out about this in a hurry, Twitter or something.

Anyway, so I am, I’m stepping away from full‑time driving in the Cup Series. And I’m not taking any questions, so thanks for coming. No, I’m just joking”.

After getting that out of the way Edwards went on to say “I’ve been racing for 20 years. It’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything.” Edwards acknowledged that he owed thanks to a lot of people, from his family to the people at the top of NASCAR. Saying “I’ve had so much fun meeting everyone, had so much fun driving.”

Carl then went on to talk about his competitors by saying “You guys are amazing. You can be jerks sometimes, but let’s be honest, I can be a jerk, too”. Also saying that all of his competitors pushed him and said that when you do win one of these races, you know you have beaten the best.

After finishing up thanking the fans and lastly the media, Carl dove into the reason why he decided now was the time in which he would walk away from full-time competition. Edwards said “The reasons are pretty straightforward. There are three of them”. First of which is he said he is truly satisfied with his career and all of his accomplishments. Even though he doesn’t have a championship he pointed out that he doesn’t just race for the trophies. Edwards said, “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”.

Moving on to his second point Edwards went on about how racing is a full-time thing. Not just in-car but he noted it’s all he thinks about and that it has been that way for 20 years. Edwards was straightforward in saying “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”.

Bringing Edwards to his third reason which is his health. Carl said while he can stand up at the podium now and say he’s healthy, it is his future that he is worried about. Admitting that he’s done a lot of stupid stuff in a race car and that it’s a testament to NASCAR and all other organizations that work on bettering safety that nothing serious has happened to him. Edwards said “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”.

Before moving on to questions he noted that if he did indeed want to comeback to compete in a few races that the first person he would call would be Coach Gibbs as he believes “There’s no better race team”.

Edwards was first asked “What does the next chapter look like for Carl Edwards, and in this past year, you took some pretty major hits on the racetrack. Did you have any concussions or anything that might have put you closer to the decisions that you’ve made today?”. Edwards said that he has a lot of interests outside of racing such as aviation or agriculture. The main thing that he hit on, however, was broadcasting in saying “I’ve really enjoyed the broadcasting stuff. I’d be really open to any of that stuff. I used to think that that would be no fun, but the more I’ve watched, and I’ve watched how much fun people are having with it, and yeah, that could be something that’s neat”. In relation to the second part of the question involving concussions, he said that he is “100% healthy” and that “He realizes that there might be long-term consequences”.

When asked when he came to his decision he responded “So I had been thinking what I thought was a reasonable amount about how this would end. I always think about things going forward. And in my mind, I’d considered next year being my final year, but I hadn’t put really a lot of thought into it. And after Homestead, I had some time to sit, think and reflect about all of this, and for those three reasons that I gave you, I thought, man, it just ‑‑ I can’t come up with a good reason why now isn’t a good time.

And so I presented that to Coach. I didn’t know what he would say, and like I said, he and the sponsors ‑‑ I mean, everyone, accommodated me in a way I just didn’t expect, and that means a lot”.

Of course, Edwards was eventually asked the question if there could be other races as he has said he’s retiring from “full-time” competition. In response, he said “Absolutely. I don’t know what ‑‑ what I’m doing right now, and I hope you guys will accept this because I know it’s hard for ‑‑ Coach and I have had these talks. I don’t have any intention of going back to full‑time racing. I don’t have the plan to drive a race car right now”.

Carl was also asked if “recent retirements, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart. Did that have any impact? Did you look at that at all, and did that kind of get the thing started for you?”. He said “I learned a lo from my competitors, truly” and that “This is my decision, and it’s something I made on my own”.

In closing out the Press Conference Carl Edwards said “Just thank you guys. Thank you guys immensely. All of you. You guys have done so much for me. Who knows what the future holds. If anybody has any ideas, I’m open, and I’ll see you guys around, and just have a great season.”

Carl without a doubt has had a great affect on NASCAR throughout his years in the sport and it can not be put any better than how NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France put it in his statement when he said “Carl 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 be greatly 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 his next phase in life”.