Carl Edwards leaves JGR: What they’re writing – Nascar
The media center can be a tough place for drivers — or a place to celebrate. Reliving the key moments of a thrilling victory. Hard questions on hard days.
Carl Edwards‘ decision to leave Joe Gibbs Racing and step aside from competing full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series brought a little of both at Wednesday’s press conference at the team’s shop.
And it was his own quote, published by NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan on Tuesday, that made Edwards choke up and tearfully whisper, “I just want to be a good person.”
The quote from Ryan’s story was: “For me, the Midwestern mentality is pretty simple. It’s just do your job, do your work, be kind to people. Your reputation will follow. I’m really proud to be from Missouri.”
It’s an accurate self-description, per the lauds from NASCAR writers and broadcasters heaped upon Edwards upon his exit. Here are some of the sentiments shared in print and online.
Tom Jensen of FOX Sports initially broke the story of Edwards’ imminent departure and wrote, “Whatever his next move, Edwards certainly has established an impressive body of work in NASCAR. He owes no one in the racing community anything, and his choice to step away — whether temporarily or permanently — that’s his right. And he’s exercised it. Good luck in the future, Carl. We’ll miss you.” | Read more
Ryan added: “You always know what you will get in an interview with Carl Edwards — a professional take on whatever the question is, and answered with the measured intelligence and perspective of a man who once taught high school on the side.” | Read more
Bob Pockrass, ESPN: “(Edwards) likes his business to be handled neatly, and he believes any friction should be handled privately, leading to criticism that he wasn’t as genuine as other drivers. But that also has given him the persona as the ultimate professional publicly, and that is what has attracted fans and has allowed him to be a favorite of talk show hosts looking for a driver who can relate to fans and nonfans alike.” | Read more
Jordan Bianchi, SB Nation: “As private as Edwards is, he is also among the more personable drivers in the garage. Any interview with him began with him removing his sunglasses so he could look the interviewee and camera straight in the eye. The gesture became such a trademark, sometimes other drivers would good-naturedly mock it.” | Read more
The finish at Homestead repeatedly came up in conversations this week. One of the most illustrative moments in Carl Edwards‘ racing history was the way he left what may be his last race. After a heartbreaking wreck involving the No. 22 Team Penske car with 10 laps to go that cost him the 2016 NASCAR Chase championship, Edwards shook hands with Joey Logano‘s crew chief Todd Gordon and team members, rallied his own family and reached out to fans.
Jeff Gluck of USA Today told the tale on Nov. 20:
“On his way out of the garage, Edwards spotted one of his longtime fans. Rhianne Mitchell was standing silently nearby, with tears in her eyes. Edwards stopped in his tracks, turned around and returned to give her a hug. He pumped his fist at his loyal supporter, as if to try and pick up her spirits.
“This kind of exceptional conduct in the face of deep disappointment was something everyone in all walks of life should cherish. And NASCAR fans should certainly be proud Edwards is one of their own.” | Read more
Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com reached farther back in her own memories to share a story that paints a picture of who Edwards was when he entered the sport, and who he remained. It occurred after Edwards’ victory in the 2004 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opener at Daytona International Speedway.
“But it was after that Daytona win that Edwards would forever endear himself to this writer. After a typical, hectic Speedweeks, I was battling the flu and was forced to leave the track and follow the race on TV. Edwards was kind enough to call me from Victory Lane to offer fresh quotes for my story. Edwards’ graciousness was not lost on me.” | Read more