Carl Edwards celebrates in Victory Lane after winning at Darlington Raceway on Sept. 6, 2015.
Carl Edwards addressed the media at Joe Gibbs Racing headquarters Wednesday morning to state why he has chosen to vacate the seat of his No. 19 Toyota, despite being in the prime of his career.
Edwards listed three reasons as to why he is leaving NASCAR. He is personally satisfied with his career, he wants to spend more time with his family, and he wishes to remain healthy.
Edwards, 37, insisted that he is healthy and wants to minimize the risks that a lengthy NASCAR schedule calls for. Still, he would not call it a retirement.
"If I am going to get back in a race car, I'm calling Coach [Joe] Gibbs first," he said. "There is no better race team. ... I don't have any intention going back to full-time racing. I don't have a plan to drive a race car right now. But I know how things work - if it comes up and the right opportunity is there and it is the right thing, for sure I would entertain it."
When asked about his reputation and if he was aware of his role model status, Edwards briefly showed quite possibly the most emotion he has ever displayed. “I just want to be a good person,” he said after regathering his composure before jokingly blaming it on the camera shutters.
Edwards' decision to step down stunned most of the NASCAR community, including team owner Joe Gibbs.
"Honestly, it was a total shock," Gibbs said. "I could tell in his face that it was something he had really thought about. He was kind of emotional and it was something he felt like he needed to do. I sat there and looked at him and said: 'Look, let's take some time here because if we start down this path, there's not a turning back on this.' ... Out of anybody in our NASCAR world, he's his own man."
Edwards took four days to think about his decision, like Gibbs requested, but remained persistent about his choice.
“I don’t have a life raft I’m jumping onto; I’m just jumping,” he said. “And in a way, that makes it easier. This is a pure, simple, personal decision.”
Edwards’ NASCAR Series career spanned 13 years, in which he won 28 times in 445 starts.
2016 XFINITY Series champion Daniel Suarez is set to replace Edwards in 2017.