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“If I Ever Come Back”: Carl Edwards Finally Breaks Silence Over Long-Awaited NASCAR Return

Published 05/18/2023, 8:02 PM EDT

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The possibility of a Carl Edwards comeback is one of the hottest topics in NASCAR right now. Recently, Edwards’s name was added to NASCAR’s 75 Greatest Drivers list. The former Joe Gibbs Racing driver has hinted at a possible return to racing as speculations continue to float.

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One of the best drivers to have never won a championship, Edwards is a great proponent of racing culture. The announcement of his retirement in 2017 came as a surprise to everyone. Following an unfortunate crash in the final race of the 2016 season and thus conceding the championship hopes, he decided to hang up his boots. He addressed the recent rumors about his return during a talk with Clint Bowyer during the FOX Sports broadcast.

Getting harder and harder: Carl Edwards speaks on staying away from racing


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Carl Edwards fans know how much he loves a great race. Creator of one of the most iconic celebrations in NASCAR, the victory backflip, he has truly embodied the competitive spirit of racing. Talking to Bowyer about the restless feeling of watching races from afar, he said,

“It was easy to not race when I first stepped away, but it’s getting harder and harder. I like sliding stuff around and driving cars. So there’ll be a time when I go do something. Maybe sim work, something like that … to see if I could still drive. It’s a step-by-step process.”

To stay away from something you have dedicated several years of your life is indeed a daunting ask.


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Moving from the Xfinity to Cup Series in 2004 was a huge transition for Edwards. The differences in the culture and approach to race were something he could adapt to very quickly. Speaking about his idea of a return to the track, he adds “I love racing cars. I love driving cars. But I want to do it at 100%.

“For me, to step away from the sport when I did, I got to go do the things that I wanted to do 100%. And if I ever come back, I want to be able to give it all I got.”

This clarification might give some hope to the fans of his intentions to get involved in the industry as soon as possible. A Carl Edwards comeback would definitely be great for NASCAR.

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A Timeline of Carl Edwards’s Illustrious Career

Edwards’ first experience with NASCAR came in 2002 with MB Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series. His impressive performances and will to grow did not go unnoticed as Jack Roush roped him in for a Truck Series spell. In 2003, he won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Rookie of the Year award.

Following that, he moved to Cup and Busch Series as a full-time driver. He began to record wins including a win over the legendary Jimmie Johnson in the Golden Corral 500 race in Atlanta. A win in just the third race as a full-time Cup driver is indeed a remarkable achievement. 2007 was a milestone year for Edwards, resulting in a Busch Series championship trophy.

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He continued his stellar run as he finished only behind Jimmie Johnson in the Cup Series in 2008, winning nine races that season. The year after that was a slump in form for Edwards. He went winless and had to survive a dangerous wreck with Brad Keselowski.


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He continued to race for Roush Fenway Racing till 2014 and won multiple accolades. However as 2012–2014 seasons did not prove to be fruitful, he moved to Joe Gibbs Racing as the driver of the #19 Camry in 2015. In his two years at the JGR stable, he won 5 races. In the season finale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, his unlucky contact with Joey Logano put him out of contention.

The news of his retirement came as a shock as the then 37-year-old had been dishing out consistent performances, coming in 5th and 4th in 2015 and 2016, respectively.


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Overall, Carl had a remarkable career that had its moments. Though he must feel cursed to miss out on a Cup Series trophy so many times, his contribution to the sport is immense.

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek


One take at a time

Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As an engineering graduate, he has a strong affinity for cars, and it didn't take long for him to translate that into his love for the sport. He is a big fan of Kyle Busch and believes that the Richard Childress Driver still has his best years ahead of him.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal