FORT WORTH, Texas — Carl Edwards misses parts of racing — and while he doesn’t want to race full time, he also doesn’t want to rule out any racing in the future.
Standing at the Speedway Club upon his induction into the Texas Motor Speedway Hall of Fame on Saturday, the former No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing driver reminisced on his time behind the wheel — specifically his 2016 Championship 4 run at Homestead-Miami Speedway — and his last Cup win, which came on Nov. 6, 2016 at Texas Motor Speedway.
“You know what I miss, is I miss the challenge,” Edwards said. “And this is something, it took me until the end of my career to figure this out. … My competitors, even when you hate each other and you’re at each others’ throats. It’s like, those are the people that actually drive you to try to be your best.
“I told somebody the other day, I miss the meetings where you’re arguing with your teammate about something … It’s that kind of, I guess you’d call it adrenaline. Or excitement or challenge. And that’s the cool thing about races is you get to go battle every week. That’s something I miss.”
Edwards has spent his two years out of the car traveling, even swimming with a pod of whales while crossing the Atlantic Ocean. He’s also spent time with loved ones, being “the friend and family member that I just wasn’t able to be because I was gone all the time.”
His heartbreaking run at Homestead-Miami Speedway is one that he looks back on fondly, despite missing the title in what would later be announced as his final season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“There’s one simple fact, you can’t go back and change anything,” he said on his 2016 Miami run. “That’s the way it is. Yes, I would love to be a two- or three-time champion. That’s what we work toward. But I think it’s not just time, I think it’s the more life I live, the more I see, the more I realize the real gift of racing to me was the day-in-day-out effort and the teamwork and the learning. … I was a much different person at the end of my career than I was at the beginning of my career. I feel like I was better and I feel like racing made me that way.
“To me, it’s not about winning — that’s the fun part, yes — but, it’s the growth. I wouldn’t trade that Homestead race for anything. Yeah, it didn’t turn out great, but that was the best I’d performed in a race car, the best team that I have ever had. … I think I’d be foolish to try to change (it).”
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As for any racing cameos in his future? Edwards said he’s “had a couple conversations with people but none in the last year.”
“It would have to be something that really excited me,” he said. “The thing I like the most is driving in the road courses. I’ve talked to some people about maybe doing some testing on a course or something. It might be a lot of fun. The races I miss the most are really Sonoma, Homestead — Homestead for two reasons, because of all the pressure and the championship, I like that — I miss those tracks where you’re sliding around a lot, you know, Atlanta. So that kind of stuff would be fun to do. …”
“I don’t know how I’ll feel in a year or two. I don’t have a plan.”