Former teammate Mark Martin ‘confused’ by Carl Edwards’ decision

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One day later, Mark Martin was still shell-shocked at Carl Edwards‘ announcement that Edwards was “stepping away” from NASCAR competition after 12 full seasons in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Martin, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Jan. 20 on NBCSN, was a teammate of Edwards at Roush Fenway Racing during Edwards’ first three seasons in the Cup Series (2004-06).

“I think I’m confused,” Martin said Thursday in a teleconference on his Hall of Fame induction when asked about Edwards’ unexpected announcement. “I thought I knew Carl pretty well.”

MORE: Does Carl Edwards belong in the Hall of Fame?

Martin’s surprise at Edwards’ decision reflected that of many in the NASCAR community, including Edwards’ current teammates.

Edwards joined Roush in 2003 in the Camping World Truck Series before rising to the Cup Series a year later. Edwards drove the No. 99 Ford while Martin was in his last three seasons of piloting the No. 6 for Roush.

“He and I have not had a chance to discuss it,” Martin said of talking to Edwards about his decision. “So I’m a little bit confused. Because I don’t really know (why).”

During Edwards’ announcement, the 28-time winner in the Cup Series cited satisfaction with his career, a desire to stay healthy and interest in pursuing other ventures as reasons to leave NASCAR at the age of 37.

By contrast, Martin competed in the Cup Series regularly from 1988 – 2012, earning 40 wins and retiring at the age of 54 at a competitive level.

“I’ll know and understand it when he gets the chance to kind of take me through his decision process,” Martin said. “I put him right near the top of the list of wanting to race as bad as anybody I’ve ever known.”

NASCAR America: Is there cause for concern with Jimmie Johnson’s performance thus far?

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It’s no secret that Jimmie Johnson is off to a slow start in 2017.

The defending and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has a starting average of 21.8 and a finishing average of 18.8 in the first five races of this season.

He has just one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix), along with 34th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta, 11th at Las Vegas and 21st Sunday at Fontana.

And let’s not forget he’s 17th in the NASCAR Cup standings heading to one of his strongest tracks, Martinsville Speedway, this Sunday.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we discussed this: After such a slow start to the season, is there a cause for concern over Johnson’s performance?

NASCAR America: Mark Martin is definitely a Kyle Larson fan

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin shared his experience of racing in his home state of Arkansas, as well as the excitement he feels watching  Kyle Larson compete in the Cup series.

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson involved in minor fender bender while leaving Fontana

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Kyle Larson‘s spectacular weekend at Auto Club Speedway — winning both Saturday’s Xfinity Series race and Sunday’s Auto Club 400 NASCAR Cup event — left him feeling good.

But shortly upon exiting the facility, Larson and several others were involved in a fender-bender right outside the Speedway. Larson was a passenger, not the driver.

No one was injured, Larson tweeted.

But somehow, isn’t that strange fate?

NASCAR America: Kyle Larson’s Fontana win shows continued maturing as a driver

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Kyle Larson finally broke his streak of three straight runner-up finishes with his win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, the crew discussed his win as well as his maturation as a driver.