With the Daytona 500 only 47 days away, Carl Edwards is unexpectedly leaving Joe Gibbs Racing and will not race in 2017. Daniel Suarez, the defending Xfinity Series champion, will replace Edwards as driver of the No. 19 Toyota in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
The Daytona 500 will be the first Cup race without Edwards in the field since the October 2004 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In the last couple hours, the NASCAR world has absorbed and started reacting to the most surprising news of the 2016-17 offseason.
Starting off our look at reaction to the Edwards news is a statement from Texas Motor Speedway president and general manager Eddie Gossage.
“This is comparable to Barry Sanders retirement back in 1999, shocking and with loads of ability and time left in a very successful career,” Gossage said. “Everyone rightfully expected Carl to win both races and championships. I talked to Carl about a month ago and he didn’t give any indication that he was considering this. It is a shock that just doesn’t seem real.”