Carl Edwards Explains JGR Departure

But he's not ready to say he is retiring

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Carl Edwards during the 2016 season. (Dennis Bicksler photo)

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Less than two months after coming up just short in his bid to win the NASCAR premier series championship, Carl Edwards announced his departure from the sport Wednesday morning at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Edwards, 37, made the announcement and answered questions before a packed house full of media members and dignitaries, including NASCAR President Mike Helton.

While he acknowledged he was “not using the R-word (retirement),” Edwards said there were three reasons he made this decision — satisfaction, the time it takes to participate in NASCAR racing and the health risks involved.

“Why would I step away from all of that and the reasons are straightforward,” Edwards began. “There are three of them. First, I am personally satisfied with my career. I know I don’t have a championship, but I race for the victories. I have been rewarded by them…I feel accomplished and I know when I sit in that race car I know I am the best race car driver I can be, and that is why I am satisfied.

“The second reason is that this is an all-encompassing thing,” he continued. “When we do this it is an all-the-time thing. I get up and go to bed thinking about this. That’s the way it is. I need that time to devote to people…”

Finally, Edwards said being in good health is important to him.

“I am 100 percent healthy, but it is a risky sport,” he said. “I am aware of the current consensus that there may be long-term consequences. That is a piece of the puzzle.”

That brought Edwards to the timing of his decision and the announcement.

“Put those things together and that brings us to the timing of all of this,” Edwards explained. “If I put those three things together, the timing for me to do this is now. That’s where coach Gibbs comes in. Thank him for allowing me to do this…..I am not saying the R word here I know how that has worked out for guys. If I want to get back in a race car, I am going to race here.”

Edwards began his full-time effort in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2004 when he replaced Jeff Burton in the No. 99 Ford at Roush Fenway Racing. He left Roush in 2015 to join Joe Gibbs Racing.

Edwards has won 28 races during his career. He has won 22 poles and earned 124 top-five and 220 top-10 finishes. He nearly won the Cup Series championship in 2011 when he finished the season tied with Tony Stewart, but Stewart won the championship via tiebreaker.

He was in contention to win the championship again last November at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but contact with Joey Logano late in the race eliminated him from contention.

He also captured the 2007 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship while driving for Roush Fenway Racing. Between all three NASCAR National divisions, Edwards has 72 victories.