Carl Edwards announces he's 'stepping away' from NASCAR Wednesday

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Carl Edwards announced Wednesday morning that he is "stepping away" from NASCAR racing.

He made the official announcement at Joe Gibbs Racing headquarters.

Edwards gave three reasons for stepping away.

Edwards said he was satisfied with his career.

“There was nothing I loved more than driving down a corner at 190 mph sideways next to the best people in the world, the best drivers in the world,” Edwards said.

He also needed a break from racing.

“I wake up in the morning thinking about racing,” he said. “I think about it all day. I go to bed thinking about it and I have dreams about racing.”

Most importantly, he said he still has his health.

“I mean it’s a risky sport,” Edwards said. “We put on a helmet and a fire suit to go race like anybody in a contact sport. I realize there might be long-term consequences to that stuff, and it's a piece of the puzzle.”

In the end though, Edwards said it was a gut decision.

“There was no epiphany moment,” he said. “This has been something I've really thought about, and it wasn't easy.”

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France released this statement on Edwards:

“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 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.”

After Edwards made his announcement, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Daniel Suarez, the reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, will be named the replacement for Edwards.

Edwards, 37, spent 13 years in the Cup Series and won 28 times in 445 starts.

He won three races in 2016 and was leading the championship contenders with 10 laps remaining in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but a crash with Joey Logano dashed his title hopes.

Edwards finished third in the standings during his first full season with Roush Racing in 2005 while on his way to becoming one of the sport's biggest stars. He nearly won the 2011 crown while driving for Roush when he tied Tony Stewart for the title, but Stewart's five wins during the season (including beating Edwards as they finished 1-2 at Homestead) earned Stewart the championship.

Edwards also finished second in the 2008 standings, fourth in 2010 and fifth in 2015, his first year at JGR.

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