Since he’s no longer racing, Carl Edwards will do what now?

1 Comment

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.’’

For sure?

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.’’

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

Leave a comment

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.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

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

Leave a comment

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.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

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

Leave a comment

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)

Leave a comment

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.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski