Carl Edwards hasn’t competed in a NASCAR race since the 2016 season finale, but there have always been rumors about a return. Is he looking at that possibility?
When Carl Edwards saw a NASCAR Cup Series championship slip through his fingers in 2016 due to late contact with fellow Championship 4 driver Joey Logano at Homestead-Miami Speedway while battling for the lead, nobody expected that that would be how his career would end.
But ahead of the 2017 season, the then 37-year-old Columbia, Missouri native announced that he would not be back with Joe Gibbs Racing behind the wheel of the #19 Toyota.
To this day, there are still rumors about the 41-year-old potentially returning to the sport in some capacity, and several comments he has made over the years have fueled that speculation. Most recently, he was linked to Chip Ganassi Racing’s vacant seat in the #42 Chevrolet after Kyle Larson’s unexpected firing last April. That obviously didn’t pan out as many hoped.
So here we are again in 2021 with a similar question: is Edwards seriously eyeing a return?
This time around, it is a subject which Edwards has directly addressed, and suffice it to say that it’s not out of the question.
No, he isn’t coming back full-time, despite the Team Penske rumors from a few years ago or even last year’s Chip Ganassi Racing rumor. In fact, he noted that the busy 36-race schedule is one thing that he hasn’t missed since stepping out of the driver’s seat following the 2016 season.
It’s not happening.
So for those who still think, more than four years later, that there’s a chance, there isn’t. Those seemingly eternal rumors can be shut down once and for all.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t be back in a Cup car, or even an Xfinity car or a truck, for a NASCAR national series race at some point in the future.
Edwards doesn’t usually watch a ton of racing anymore, but the race on dirt at Bristol Motor Speedway interested him.
Here is what he had to say earlier this week on NASCAR Race Hub.
“I don’t watch a lot of racing, but I had to watch some of that. The other day I really wanted to see what practice looked like, and I watched about, I think it was a six-minute clip. And afterwards, I went and told my wife, I said ‘Man, that looks fun. I think I could actually make it there, and there might be a car for me to drive.’
“It looked so neat, those cars. My whole career, my favorite thing has been the cars sliding around and managing the horsepower, managing the traction, the tires. And that race, I don’t know what it really felt like to drive, and if it wasn’t any fun, I don’t want anyone to tell me that because it looked just like a blast, and so yeah I paid attention to that.”
So would he consider a one-off effort?
“[My wife] would let me [run a race], just because it would get me out of the house. But yeah, I have thought about it a little bit. I miss the driving part a lot. I miss the people. I don’t miss the schedule. But something like that, a one-off, would be a lot of fun. I had the chance to go do some testing in the sim for Daytona, and that was really neat.
“Towards the end of my career, I really enjoyed the road courses, and so if I were going to do something, it would probably be on a road course, or if NASCAR, by chance, changed the package to where there was no downforce and about 1,000 horsepower, I’d probably get pretty interested in that too.”
So now we can officially enter into the phase of Edwards’s retirement where all fans do is talk about potential teams and tracks where he might return, because it’s clearly something that is more than just a rumor now.