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May 30, 2024

‘I won the lottery in racing’: Carl Edwards reacts to NASCAR Hall of Fame election

When the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2025 was announced on May 21, Carl Edwards was on a flight and had no inkling his name would be read by sanctioning body president Steve Phelps.

After Edwards’ landed, his wife told him to check his phone for the news about his election.

“I thought about it. I thought, man, I can’t build my day around that because it’s not going to happen,” Edwards said Thursday in a Zoom media availability. “I called Randy Fuller (former Roush Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing senior media relations manager), and I was just blown away. I knew Randy wouldn’t mess with me like that. I was shocked, and I still am at how much it means to me. I wasn’t expecting to feel this way. It’s very humbling.”

RELATED: Meet the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2025

A 72-time winner across all three of NASCAR’s national series, Edwards was one of the sport’s most successful drivers from the mid-2000s until his retirement at the end of the 2016 season.

Edwards was never able to lay claim to a Cup Series championship but came so close on a handful of occasions with runner-up results in 2008 and 2011, the latter of which was a tiebreaker won by Tony Stewart after Stewart outdueled Edwards in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Despite coming up short in reaching the pinnacle of NASCAR, Edwards didn’t hesitate to share the appreciation he has for competing.

“The longer I’ve been away, I appreciate the sport more and more,” Edwards said. “Last year, just the honor of being part of those 75 (Greatest) drivers, it shocked me how much fun it was to come back to Darlington to be a part of that, and I guess what I’m trying to say is the longer I am away, the more I appreciate it. This honor is over the top. I did not expect this in any way. I was shocked. It’s been a huge deal to me, much bigger than I ever would have expected.”

Since his retirement, Edwards’ presence in NASCAR has been minimal as he continues to focus and make his family top priority. Edwards is also very active in serving communities in his home state of Missouri, specifically in disaster relief following severe weather outbreaks in the Midwest.

For Edwards, it still hasn’t set in that he will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on Feb. 7, 2025, and to the 44-year-old, he feels like he’s just one of the guys.

MORE: Look back on Edwards’ career

“The paradigms we live in. I mean, we all have our like, what we think of ourselves, how we see ourselves, and I can’t help but to just … I see myself as someone who … I won the lottery in racing,” Edwards said. “I mean, I wanted to drive race cars more than anything in the world, and I got to do it. I felt like these things happened. Then, when I stepped away, I guess looking back on it, I feel like, man, I hope that people in the sport don’t think I’m being disrespectful. I hope they know how much I appreciate it.

“But I guess my point is that I always felt like a guy who just got to come be a part of it. The sport gave me so much. The people in the sport gave me so much that … I don’t know. I think of a Hall of Fame person as someone who gave more, and so I guess that’s why it shocks me. It’s hard to explain.”