Carl Edwards leaving Joe Gibbs Racing, will not compete in 2017

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Carl Edwards will leave Joe Gibbs Racing and not compete in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed to NBC Sports but requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Foxsports.com first reported the story.

Daniel Suarez will be announced as Edwards’ replacement at a 10 a.m. press conference Wednesday at Joe Gibbs Racing.

FACEBOOK LIVE: Steve Letarte and Dustin Long will be live at 1 p.m. on NBC’s Facebook page.

Edwards, 37, completed his 12th full-time Cup season last year, placing fourth in the standings after a late-race wreck in the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Edwards earned his spot in the championship finale by winning at Texas two weeks before the season finale.

Edwards’ title hopes ended when he went to block Joey Logano‘s move on a restart with 10 laps to go. Edwards hit the wall hard and his race was finished. He walked down pit road and went to Logano’s pit box to shake hands with Logano’s crew chief, Todd Gordon, and offer his best luck.

“This is life,” Edwards told NBC after the accident. “We did our best. I just risked too much.”

Edwards has 28 career series wins and 220 top 10s in 445 career starts. He finished second in the championship twice, most notably in 2011 when he lost the championship to Tony Stewart on a tiebreaker. Edwards won the 2007 Xfinity title.

Edwards has competed in NASCAR’s top series since 2004 when he moved up to Roush Fenway Racing’s Cup program with 13 races left in the season. He finished 10th in his Cup debut Aug. 22, 2004, at Michigan International Speedway.

Suarez, who celebrated his 25th birthday Saturday, won the Xfinity championship this past season for Joe Gibbs Racing. Suarez scored three wins in his second full season in the series. He was scheduled to have competed in the series again this year until Edwards’ decision to not drive this season.

A few days before the season finale at Homestead, Suarez described Edwards and Kyle Busch as his “mentors.

“They are very good friends of mine,” Suarez said.

For crew chief Dave Rogers, this will be his fourth different driver in the last four years. He served as Kyle Busch’s crew chief in 2014, moved to Denny Hamlin‘s team in 2015, then went to Carl Edwards’ team in 2016 and will now have Suarez this season.

 

 

NASCAR America: Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones get a feel of how Olympians train (video)

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NASCAR drivers talk almost continuously about how they have to be in top physical condition to endure sometimes often very difficult conditions while on a racetrack and behind the wheel.

One only needs to look at seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to see the rewards of being fit.

But going to one of the Olympic training centers in the U.S. is a whole other thing, something that separates folks who think they’re fit from those that really are.

Ask Toyota drivers like Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones, who recently participated in a two-day training session at an Olympic training facility.

We wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still nursing sore muscles, given the workouts they endured – and which gave them new appreciation for what many Olympians must go through to be the best.

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NASCAR America: Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch ready for Daytona fireworks (video)

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NASCAR’s summer classic, the Coke Zero 400, celebrates this country’s independence, its military heroes and concludes with a great fireworks show.

But as Clint Bowyer and this year’s Daytona 500 winner, Kurt Busch, will vouch for, there’s also a lot of fireworks during the race, as the 2.5-mile, high-banked tri-oval can be one of the most difficult and intimidating places to race upon.

If a driver isn’t dodging fellow drivers, he or she is trying to stay in the draft to gain forward movement and momentum. Unfortunately, a lot of times when dodging and draft collide, so too do a lot of cars and drivers, as well.

It may not be the Daytona 500, but winning at Daytona in July is still a big prize that everyone wants to win. And don’t forget, because it’s Daytona, it’s also a place to be careful at because of the danger that can pop up at any moment.

Find out why by clicking on the above video.

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NASCAR America: Steve Letarte kicks off weekly feature honoring pit crews (video)

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They’re the unsung heroes of NASCAR, the guys who typically don’t get enough praise when things go right, and then oftentimes have the finger of blame pointed at them when things go wrong.

We’re talking about one of the most important jobs in NASCAR: pit crew member.

Starting with Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, a guy who knows a lot about pit crews – former crew chief turned NBC NASCAR analyst Steve Letarte – kicked off a feature that will run each week for the 20 remaining weeks of the season.

Letarte’s series will spotlight the importance of pit crews, and he’ll also choose pit crew all-stars to recognize their contributions to the sport and their perseverance on pit road.

This week’s first bunch of pit crew all-stars are Caleb Hurd, gasman for Denny Hamlin; Jeff Zarella, tire specialist for Kurt Busch and Frank Mathalia, engine tuner for Austin Dillon.

Give them and their peers some love and check out the above video.

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants one final Daytona win for himself and his father (video)

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Daytona International Speedway has been a bittersweet place for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It’s been the place of his biggest NASCAR Cup career wins, including the Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014.

But it’s also the same place where he lost his father  in a last-lap wreck in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Now, Earnhardt returns to the “World Center of Speed” for what will be the final time in his 18-year NASCAR Cup career.

On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Earnhardt reflected upon all the good and bad Daytona has meant to him and his family.

On his first time back to Daytona after his father’s death nearly five months earlier: “Once we got to Daytona, we drove by the racetrack, pulled in, parked in Turn 3, got out and walked around. The track was empty, quiet and I’d never been to the crash site. That’s where dad, in my mind, lost his life. That was where we all remember him last.”

Returning to Daytona for the first time after his father’s death there: “I felt like that was a place I wanted to visit. And every time I go to Daytona, even today, I go around that racetrack, I look at that spot, I look at that knoll of grass before the exit of Turn 4. I wanted to go there and see how I felt and see what kind of emotions happened so that I could get whatever was going to be out of the way.

“I told myself what I was going through is the same sadness that some guy somewhere in the Midwest is dealing with right now. Who am I to go on and on about how hard it was, because somebody, somewhere right now is dealing with a loss.”

How he wishes his father was still here to see the man and driver he’s become: “I’d have loved it if he’d stuck around a lot longer, but that’s not the way it was supposed to be. And we figured out how to make it (when he won the 2001 Coke Zero 400 in his father’s honor).”

On wanting to win one last time at Daytona in a Cup car this Saturday night: “I’d love to win at Daytona and add another win to the Earnhardt column. Every time I win there, I think it’s another win for me and dad because his success there stretches far beyond the Daytona 400 and July 400. But any time I win there, that’s one more stake in the ground that we claim this track as a place we dominate.”

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