Consider what Edwards has accomplished since he made his Cup debut in August 2004 at Michigan International Speedway for car owner Jack Roush:
- 28 Cup wins (ranks 26th on the all-time list)
- Two-time Cup Series runner-up (2008 & 2011)
- Won Coca-Cola 600 and Southern 500 once each (both in 2015, becoming one of only eight drivers to win both races in the same year).
- 2011 All-Star winner
- 2007 Xfinity champion
One thing missing on his resume is that Cup championship. Consider where he ranks among drivers with the most wins who have never won a Cup title:
50 – Junior Johnson
40 – Mark Martin
33 – Fireball Roberts
29 – Denny Hamlin
28 – Carl Edwards
26 – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Johnson and Roberts are in the Hall of Fame. Martin will be among those inducted Jan. 20. That leaves Hamlin as the winningest driver without a Cup championship, but he’s still racing. If Edwards doesn’t race again, then he’ll be the winningest driver without a Cup champion not competing.
“I am personally satisfied with my career, and I know right now you’re thinking, well, ‘you don’t have a championship,'” Edwards said. “Well, Jimmie [Johnson] has got some extras if he wants to send one my way, but truly, you guys know that I don’t race just for the trophies. This has always been a really ‑‑ this has been a neat journey for me and it’s always been something that I’ve been rewarded by the challenges.”
If he doesn’t return, he would be eligible for the Hall of Fame in three years (along with Tony Stewart, who retired after this past season). Stewart, as a three-time champion, seems assured to be a first-ballot selection. But what about Edwards?