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.

 

 

My Home Tracks: New Mexico’s the Land of Enchantment and home of Cardinal Speedway

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The state of New Mexico is known more for IndyCar racing, with the Unser family being the state’s favorite sons.

Al Unser won four Indianapolis 500s, brother Bobby three and Al’s son Al Jr. a two-time winner (this weekend’s 500 marks the 25th anniversary of Little Al’s second 500 triumph).

But there’s a strong grassroots racing scene in the Land of Enchantment, particularly in the far southeast corner of the state at Cardinal Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in the little town of Eunice.

NASCAR America continues its My Home Track series of 50 states in 50 shows.

Wednesday, we visit New York state.

2018 NASCAR schedule changes: EVP Steve O’Donnell breaks it down (video)

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On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell joined us to discuss the NASCAR Cup schedule changes in 2018, including running a road race at Charlotte and having Indianapolis be the final race before the playoffs.

“I’m real excited about these changes,” said O’Donnell, who cited unprecedented cooperation between NASCAR, its teams, drivers and sponsors to reach agreement on the schedule changes.

Among the key changes: Las Vegas will kick off the 10-race playoffs in 2018 (Chicagoland Speedway, which will have hosted the last seven playoff openers, will return to its more traditional race date in early July/late June and serve as a run-up to the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona.

Several other changes include:

  • The fall playoff race at Charlotte will move up a couple weeks in the schedule and also incorporate competition on both the infield road course and part of the speedway itself.
  • After 14 years as the deciding race to qualify for the NASCAR Cup playoffs, Richmond International Raceway will now become the second race of the playoffs.
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway will see it’s Brickyard 400 go from late July to become the final qualifying race for the playoffs in early September.

Catch up on all the changes in the above video.

Tony Stewart pulled over by state trooper, but it’s not for speeding

Photo courtesy Damein Cunningham Twitter account
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Retired NASCAR Cup driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart was stopped by an Illinois State Trooper over the weekend near DeKalb, Ill., about 90 minutes west of Chicago.

But before you think Stewart was stopped for speeding by Trooper Damein Cunningham, he wasn’t.

Rather, Cunningham pulled Stewart over for improper lane usage, although exactly what the infraction was is unclear.

After getting a verbal warning, Stewart gladly posed with Cunningham for a selfie, which the trooper promptly tweeted out.

“Just pulled over NASCAR LEGEND Tony Stewart on I-88 in DeKalb, IL, what you think I got him for? #NASCAR #ISP”

But according to the Chicago Tribune, Cunningham’s bosses apparently didn’t have a sense of humor about the incident or realize the good PR it meant for the Illinois State Police.

That, or they’re not Stewart or NASCAR fans. They ordered Cunningham to delete the tweet, which he did.

It’s unclear what Stewart, who was stopped on his 46th birthday, was doing in the Land of Lincoln.

But his luck went from bad to worse a few hours later. According to USA Today, Stewart and others were stuck in an elevator in a Madison, Wisconsin hotel for about 20 minutes before being rescued by firefighters.

We can just imagine what the elevator riders talked about while trapped.

How much do you want to bet Stewart said, “Man, do I have a story about a cop that I have to tell you.”

Cunningham then posted another tweet on Sunday after attending church services.

 

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All-Star Race will remain at Charlotte in 2018

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
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NASCAR confirmed that the All-Star Race will be held again at Charlotte Motor Speedway despite more of a push from competitors and others to move the event.

Criticism was raised after last weekend’s 70-lap event featured only three lead changes. Kyle Busch took the lead on the restart to begin the final 10-lap stage and went on to win. It marked the fourth time in the last five years the All-Star winner led every lap in the final stage. In 12 All-Star Races at Charlotte since the track was repaved, there have been two lead changes in the final five laps.

Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, was clear in a call with reporters Tuesday that the All-Star Race is set for Charlotte.

“We’ve finished our discussions for ’18,” he said. ” We’ll begin looking at ’19 and beyond in the near future.”

The All-Star Race debuted at Charlotte in 1985, moved to Atlanta in 1986 and returned to Charlotte the following year. It has been held at Charlotte ever since.

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