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Recap of Last Year’s Bristol Cup Race

Carl Edwards led 276 laps to pick up his first win of the 2016 season and fourth victory at Bristol Motor Speedway.  Starting from the pole, Edwards maintained good track position throughout the race, piloting his Number-19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to victory on a day that saw several drivers experience trouble at the always-difficult Tennessee half-mile.  Dale Earnhardt Junior rebounded from falling two laps down at the start of the race to finish second.  At the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt’s stuck-throttle safety system activated, causing him to retreat to pit road for repairs on the first lap.  Kurt Busch led forty-one laps and was in position to challenge Edwards on the final restart with five laps to go but settled for third place.  Chase Elliott and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top five. Bayne, who started tenth, fell back as far as twenty-eighth place but rallied to score his first top-five finish in ninety-nine races.  Edwards escaped tire trouble that plagued his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin.

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Carl Edwards Update

Carl Edwards announced his plans this morning (Wednesday) to leave Joe Gibbs Racing effective immediately, without any regrets and while he’s still got his health.  He hesitates to use the word “retirement,” though.

Edwards said the timing was right to retire now…he is satisfied with his career, the schedule is grueling and he can step away now while he is healthy.

“I need to take that time right now and devote it to people that are important to me. … Those [health] risks are something that I want to minimize,” Edwards said.

Edwards will be replaced by Daniel Suarez in the JGR car.

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France issued a statement after Edwards’ announcement.

“Carl Edwards has made an indelible mark on NASCAR,” he said. “His hard-charging driving style has led to memorable moments that will live forever in the history of our sport. Carl’s passion and personality will greatly be missed — as will the signature backflips that NASCAR fans have come to expect following his victories. We wish Carl nothing but the best as he enters this next phase in life.”

Edwards won 28 races in 445 career starts, including three times in 2016. He spent most of his career at Roush Fenway Racing, where he quickly climbed up the NASCAR ladder and replaced Jeff Burton in the No. 99 car in the 2004 season.

Edwards never missed a Cup race because of injury and was among the best fit athletes in racing. He reiterated he is healthy, but he understands the long-term health risks of racing. He added that everyone in his family is healthy.

He stressed that he did not make this decision to move to another team.

“If I am going to get back in a race car, I’m calling Coach [Joe] Gibbs first,” he said. “There is no better race team.”

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Carl Edwards Leaving NASCAR?

In a surprising move, NASCAR driver Carl Edwards is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to pursue other interests outside of driving and will not compete in 2017, according to FoxSports.

On Wednesday, JGR will announce at a press conference that Daniel Suarez will replace Edwards as the driver of the team’s No. 19 Monster Energy Cup Series Toyota. Suarez is the reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.

Edwards, 37, broke into NASCAR’s top series in 2004, when he replaced Jeff Burton in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. The Missouri native stayed with the Roush organization until 2015, when he moved to JGR.

For his career, Edwards has 28 race victories, 22 poles, 124 top fives and 220 top 10s in 445 starts.

At Homestead-Miami Speedway this past November, Edwards was in contention to win both the final race of the season and the championship,  but crashed after contact with Joey Logano on a restart with 10 laps to go. Edwards ended the year fourth in points, his sixth top-five points finish in just 12 full seasons of racing.

 

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Next Up for NASCAR: Miami

The 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is moving from the Desert Southwest to South Florida for Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The season’s final race is here – Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 – with defending series champion Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano still in the hunt for the title. Busch entered this year’s post-season as the Number-1 seed and is bidding to become the first driver with back-to-back Cup Series championships since Johnson put five in a row together from 2006 through 2010. Busch is the only one of the four top seeds still in title contention. Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and 2014 champion Kevin Harvick have all been eliminated … Chase participants have won the season finale in Miami in nine of the twelve years it’s been run as part of NASCAR’s “post-season” format. The non-title contenders to win the Homestead finale during that stretch are Greg Biffle in 2004 and 2006, and Hamlin in 2013.

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Recap of Last Year’s Darlington Race

Carl Edwards helped bring the summer of 2015 to a close the same way he opened it fifteen weeks earlier: with a trip to Victory Lane. Edwards rallied from two laps down … survived a track-record eighteen cautions … and rode NASCAR’s low-downforce, high-action aerodynamic rules package to his twenty-fifth career Sprint Cup Series victory. Edwards’ win May 24th at Charlotte Motor Speedway kicked off a hot summer streak that now showed Joe Gibbs Racing with eight wins in a fourteen-race stretch including Edwards’ Darlington victory, his second win of the season. It came after a lightning-fast pit stop late in the race that put the Number-19 Toyota at the front of the field for the final restart. Edwards then masterfully held off Brad Keselowski, beating the pole sitter to the checkered flag by nine-tenths of a second. Denny Hamlin, one of Edwards’ J-G-R teammates, finished third with Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick completing the top five. Kyle Busch ran seventh, giving Joe Gibbs Racing three cars among the top ten … The race was slowed by eighteen cautions, breaking the track record of seventeen that was set in 2009. The eighty-nine yellow-flag laps were nearly one-fourth of the race distance … After starting from the pole, Keselowski led the first sixty-two laps and by night’s end, had led a race-high 196 trips around the famed South Carolina oval. By contrast, Edwards led just fifteen laps, but eleven of them came at the end of the race – which featured twenty-four lead changes among eleven drivers.

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Recap of Last Year’s Coca Cola 600

Carl Edwards managed his fuel mileage to perfection and stretched it all the way to Victory Lane, giving Joe Gibbs Racing a sweep of the track’s May events. Edwards’ win came eight days after teammate Denny Hamlin drove to victory in the Sprint All-Star Race. Edwards led the first two laps of the “Six Hundred” and the last twenty-one in notching his twenty-fourth career win and first at C-M-S. It snapped a thirty-one-race winless streak for Edwards, whose last victory had come in June 2014 at Sonoma, California. In winning at Charlotte, Edwards beat runner-up Greg Biffle to the checkered flag by four-point-seven seconds. Dale Earnhardt Junior finished third with pole sitter Matt Kenseth fourth. Martin Truex Junior led a race-high 131 laps but needed a late pit stop for fuel and finished fifth. Thirty-seven laps from the finish, it looked like Hamlin was on his way to sweeping both Charlotte races on his own. But a loose wheel forced him to pit and give up the lead to Truex, who then surrendered the lead himself with his late fuel stop … Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick finished ninth, which was enough for him to maintain a commanding lead in the standings with the regular season nearing its halfway point. Harvick’s advantage over second-place Truex was forty-one points heading into the next race at Dover, Delaware … Team Penske’s Joey Logano came home in thirteenth place on the same day he celebrated his 25th birthday …Kurt Busch still owns the track qualifying record at Charlotte with a lap of 198.771 miles per hour in securing the Number-1 starting spot for the fall race in 2014 … Busch is the last driver to win both the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 in the same season, doubling up in 2010 … The race record for winning average speed belongs to Kasey Kahne, who covered the six hundred miles at a winning pace of 155.687 miles per hour in 2012

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NASCAR Heads to Talladega

Next stop for NASCAR is Talladega for Sunday’s GEICO 500, tenth race of the 2016 Sprint Cup Series. The last two races have been run on short tracks in Bristol, Tennessee, and Richmond, Virginia – with Carl Edwards winning both to climb to the top of the regular-season point standings. The last driver to win three straight Sprint Cup races was Joey Logano, who swept the Contender Round of last year’s post-season Chase with victories at Kansas Speedway, Charlotte and Talladega … Edwards finished fifth and thirty-second in last year’s two trips to the Alabama oval … Joe Gibbs Racing has four wins at Talladega, most recently in 2014 with Denny Hamlin.

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Carl Edwards Wins at Richmond

Carl Edwards nudged race leader … and teammate … Kyle Busch out of the way on the final lap of Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway – driving on to his second straight victory and giving Joe Gibbs Racing a sweep of the first three short-track races of the season. Busch had passed Edwards for what would be his final lead of the day less than forty laps from the finish, but Edwards remained in dogged pursuit as the checkered flag neared. In the third turn of the final trip around the three-quarter-mile Fairgrounds oval, Edwards closed on Busch and tapped the rear bumper of the Number-18 Toyota just enough to send it up the track and into second place. The margin of victory was sixty-seven one-hundredths of a second with Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and pole-sitter Kevin Harvick completing the top five. The victory carried Edwards to the top of the regular-season standings with one-fourth of the 2016 season now complete. Harvick entered the weekend holding the Number-1 spot but is now second, seven points behind Edwards heading into the next race next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway … Tony Stewart made his first start of the season after recovering from back surgery in February. He finished nineteenth in the forty-car field … Edwards started fourth on Sunday and led a race-high 151 laps in the Number-19 Toyota, notching his twenty-seventh career victory and second at Richmond. His first win there came in September 2013 … Joe Gibbs Racing now has eleven Cup Series victories at R-I-R, breaking a tie with Hendrick Motorsports for second place on the track’s all-time win list. Richard Petty Motorsports has fifteen but none since 1975.

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Carl Edwards Wins at Bristol

Carl Edwards lead two-hundred and seventy-six laps to pick up his first win of the 2016 season and fourth win at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Sunday’s Food City 500. Starting from the pole, Edwards maintained good track position throughout the race, piloting his Number-19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to victory on a day that saw several drivers experience trouble at the always difficult half-mile speedway. Dale Earnhardt Jr. rebounded from falling two-laps down at the start of the race to finish second. At the drop of the green flag, Earnhardt Jr.’s stuck throttle safety system activated causing him to retreat to pit road on the first lap to reset the ECU. Kurt Busch led forty-one laps and was in position to challenge Edwards on the final restart with five laps to go, but settled for third. Rookie sensation Chase Elliott and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top five. Bayne, who started in tenth, fell back to twenty-eighth but battled back to score his first top-five finish in ninety-nine races when he won the DAYTONA 500 in 2011. Edwards was able to escape tire trouble that plagued his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. Busch, who was looking for his third win in a row, finished a disappointing thirty-eighth tallying his first DNF of the season after making contact with the wall for the third time on lap 258. With the win, Edwards assures himself of a spot in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and moved into second place, one-point behind Kevin Harvick in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers Point Standings. Edwards’ victory made it four-in-a-row for Joe Gibbs Racing. The race included sixteen lead changes among seven drivers. There were fifteen cautions for one-hundred and two laps, but no incident involving more than three drivers.

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Carl Edwards Joins the Sprint Unlimited Field

Carl Edwards has joined Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Kyle and Kurt Busch, and rookie Chase Elliott on the list of drivers newly eligible for next year’s Sprint Unlimited non-points special event as a result of their qualifying efforts in 2016. The non-points special event features pole winners from the previous season and traditionally kicks off Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. Edwards claimed the Number-1 starting spot for this past weekend’s Duck Commander 500 with a speed of 194.609 miles per hour. He finished seventh in the race, one of just fifteen drivers running on the lead lap with winner Kyle Busch at the checkered flag … Kurt Busch is the only one of those six drivers with multiple poles thus far. He led qualifying February 26th in Atlanta and followed one week later with a track record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

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