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Carl Edwards Retires From NASCAR

Joe Gibbs Racing Press Conference
Credit: Bob Leverone/Getty Images

Another one of the faces of NASCAR has decided to call it a career. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Carl Edwards has decided to retire from NASCAR, effective immediately.

Edwards, a 28-time winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (still trying to get used to the new name) in 445 career starts, cited health concerns as his reason for stepping away.

“I need to take that time right now and devote it to people that are important to me. … Those [health] risks are something that I want to minimize,” Edwards said at his press conference earlier today at Joe Gibbs Racing headquarters in Huntsville, North Carolina.

That statement comes only weeks after Dale Earnhardt Jr. was cleared to continue his racing career after being held out for the majority of the 2015 racing season with a serious concussion following a string of accidents. Edwards reiterated that Earnhardt Jr.’s injury did affect his decision to call it quits.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400
Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Edwards spent much of his career at Roush Fenway Racing, driving the #99 ford previously driven by Jeff Burton. Edwards finished runner-up in the Cup Series in 2008 and infamously in 2011 where he tied Tony Stewart for the title, however, Stewart’s five wins (including the final race at Homestead in which Edwards finished 2nd) over Edwards’ one, lifted Stewart to the title that season.

This past season, Edwards was in the lead with 10 laps to go until a run-in with Joey Logano cost him a chance at the title.

“Carl Edwards has made an indelible mark on NASCAR,” chairman and CEO of NASCAR Brian France said in a statement. “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.”

Mexican-born racer Daniel Suarez, who won the Xfinity Cup Title last season, will take over for Edwards in the MENCS driving the #19 Toyota.

The 37-year-old is using the term “retirement” lightly and didn’t rule out a return to NASCAR should his mind change.

“If I am going to get back in a race car, I’m calling Coach [Joe] Gibbs first,” Edwards said. “There is no better race team.”

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