HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — So, what’s next for Carl Edwards?
“I don’t know what … I’m doing right now,’’ Edwards said shortly after announcing Wednesday that he would not drive in NASCAR this season. Joe Gibbs Racing later announced that Xfinity champion Daniel Suarez will take over Edwards’ No. 19 ride in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this season.
Edwards was short on details in his press conference Wednesday at Joe Gibbs Racing, but here’s a breakdown of some key issues looking forward.
Will he race again?
Edwards: “If I’m going to get back in a race car, which I’m not saying the R word (retirement) here, I’ve seen how that’s worked out for guys, but if I’m going to get back in a race car, I’m calling Coach (Joe) Gibbs first. There is no better race team. There is no faster car than a Toyota Camry. There’s no better engine. There’s no better crew chief than Dave Rogers. There’s no better crew. And I’m going to race here.’’
Edwards: “I don’t have any intention of going back to full‑time racing. I don’t have a plan to drive a race car right now. But I know enough about — I just know how things work, and if it comes up and the right opportunity is there and at that moment, it’s the right thing, then for sure I’d entertain it. But like I said, the first person I’d talk to is Coach.’’
Will Edwards come back with another manufacturer or another team?
Edwards: “This is not a decision because I have something else lined up or the desire to go line something up. I can’t tell you that while my phone has been off I haven’t got some offers or something crazy in there. I don’t know. But I am not entertaining and have not contemplated anything else like that. Nothing.’’
OK, so if he’s not racing, what will Edwards do?
Edwards: “I have a lot of interests outside of racing. I’ve really enjoyed — there’s a lot of aviation stuff, a lot of — the agriculture thing has been great, but I love the sport, and I think as much as I can, we’ve got some really exciting things we’re going to talk about coming up later, I’d really like to be a part of this and be close to it, and there’s no telling what we can do together, Coach Gibbs and I going forward. I don’t have anything solid yet. I’ve really enjoyed the broadcasting stuff. I’d be really open to any of that stuff. I used to think that that would be no fun, but the more I’ve watched, and I’ve watched how much fun people are having with it, and yeah, that could be something that’s neat.’’
So, Edwards still might be connected with Joe Gibbs Racing even if not driving?
Gibbs: “We consider Carl now part of our family. He and I have talked numerous times over the last couple of weeks, and I think he’s still kind of questioning what all he’s going to be doing, but what we have discussed with him is continuing to work with us and continuing to work inside of NASCAR, and we’ve got some things coming up. We’re hoping, Daniel (Suarez) is going to be at his first test the 30th, and we’re hoping that with Carl’s schedule he can make that. He’s going to help Daniel and our support group, but then there’s going to be other things that we’ve kind of been thinking about with Carl. So hopefully that’s what we’ll see in the future going forward.’’
What about this talk of Edwards going into politics?
Edwards: “I do have really strong feelings about our country and what it means, what America is about, and the principles that keep us free and safe from the biggest risks in history. And so I don’t know if I’m … I’m not prepared right now to participate in any public office or anything, but I am very open to helping that cause and helping the cause of liberty and freedom and what it is that America is about.’’
So, what is Edwards going to do?
Edwards: “I’m going to take some time. That’s one of the beauties about this decision. There’s no life raft I’m jumping onto. I’m just jumping. And in a way, it makes it easier, because I’m not being swayed by some carrot out here, something going on. There is no new manufacturer ride coming in three years that they’re paying me a fortune for. There is nothing like that.’’
No clue on what is next?
Edwards: “Life is short. You’ve got to do what your gut tells you. And I have a feeling I’ll find something.’’