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.”