January 14, 2017
Robin Angle

For days now the sports world has had so many intriguing story lines.  Derrick Rose, starting point guard for the New York Knicks, disappeared and missed a game without letting any staff know his whereabouts Monday evening.  Then there was the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Tampa, FL.  It was a repeat of last year’s thriller- Alabama vs. Clemson – Part II, and all the hype was all it was built up to be.   And then NASCAR Nation adds its own twist on things first thing Tuesday morning with the shocking news that 37 year old, Carl Edwards is retiring immediately.  No one saw that coming.

There were some mentions of a possible retirement coming on @Twitter during the game on Monday evening…@TheOrangeCone tweeted:

Responses back about the tweet speculated it would be Matt Kenseth, but Carl wasn’t even a thought by those engaging back and forth.  Joe Gibbs Racing called a press conference for 10 am on Wednesday morning to make the formal announcement.  For 40 minutes, Edwards addressed the press.  He was nervous speaking, answered questions, and made the announcement as light hearted as possible.  He reiterated that this was entirely a personal decision, and there were 3 reasons for his departure from full- time NASCAR racing.  1.  He’s satisfied with his career.  2.  He wants to devote time to the people in his life.  3.  He wants to stay healthy.  These are all very good reasons, and for him to walk away at this point in his career must have been a difficult decision to make.

Edwards refuses to use the “R” word, and said that there will be more races, but not now.  While he is in the prime of his career, and fell just one caution flag short of winning his first Championship last year before wrecking with Joey Logano, he decided that now was the time to step away from his #19 Arris Toyota Camry.  He even joked that “Well, Jimmie (Johnson) has got some extras if he wants to send one my way.  But truly, you guys know that I don’t race just for the trophies.”

As you know, the NASCAR season is a long and grueling one.  It’s a 38 week grind.  “This is an all-encompassing thing.” stated Edwards.  “You guys, we do this, and it’s full-time.  And not just physical time, but I wake up in the morning thinking about racing, I think about it all day.  I go to bed thinking about it.  And I have dreams about racing.  And that’s just how it is.  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.  Things I’m really passionate about.  Count family high on that list.”

Edwards then spoke of his health.  He thanked everyone for all the concerns that there may be a health issue with himself or possibly his family, But assured folks that all was well.  “I don’t like how it feels to take the hits that we take.  I’m a sharp guy, and I want to be a sharp guy in 30 years.” He even said that the health of other drivers and what guys like, Dale Earnhardt Jr has gone through with his concussions that played a part in his decision.

People say that his reasoning for “retiring” or stepping away is amiss, it doesn’t make sense, his sponsors forced him out, and he didn’t get along with his team mates, and so on and so on.  On track he has done a lot for the sport –  from his celebratory back flips to his nudging of even his own team mates to get that win.  It’s been a true pleasure to see his fierce competitiveness.  It’s great how he’s such a private person.  He’s a great ambassador for the brands he promotes.  He’s true, and to the point.  Although, he said that he can be a jerk, he was truly a professional in this sport we love.  At the end of the day his legacy will be summed up in one statement.  Sure, you didn’t win a NASCAR Championship, but you did more.  When asked about his reputation and being a genuine person during the press conference, Carl got choked up and turned away to regain his composure.  Paused for a bit, fought off some tears.  “I’m sorry. It’s nice of you to say and…it’s important to be that kind of guy…I just want to be a good person.”  Well, Mr. Edwards you sir are a Champion, A CHAMPION OF LIFE!  You are a good person and this is so much more than any trophy!  Thanks so much for what you have brought to the sport of NASCAR, we will miss you Sundays!