Joe Gibbs Racing announces that driver Carl Edwards has stepped away from racing in NASCAR. 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion Daniel Suárez will drive the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series No. 19 Toyota Camry in 2017.
Edwards, 37, joined Joe Gibbs Racing prior to the 2015 season and amassed five wins, 16 top-five and 33 top-10 finishes to go with nine pole awards in his two seasons with the organization. Over his 13-year career in NASCAR’s premiere series he totaled 28 wins, 124 top-five, and 220 top-10 finishes, along with 22 pole awards. His 28 career wins ties him for 23rd all-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“This has been a very difficult decision for me, but I’m confident that it is the right one for several reasons,” said Edwards. “It would be impossible for me to thank everyone I need to, but I do want to take a moment to say I greatly appreciate the support from Coach and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, especially my team and teammates, my sponsors and of course my fans. I could not have a better situation in racing than the one I currently have, so stepping away from that certainly took a lot of consideration.”
Edwards was the 2005 NASCAR XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year and captured the Series Championship in 2007. He amassed 38 wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in his career. Edwards also won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honor in 2003 and totaled six career wins in the Series.
“Certainly this was not something that we were expecting as we prepared for the 2017 season,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing. “However, it was clear in our conversations with Carl that he had given this careful consideration and believes strongly that it is the direction he needs to go. We support him in that. We loved having him be part of our team the past two years and we will miss him, but we hope he is happy in whatever is next for his life.”
Daniel Suárez captured the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship in 2016 in just his second full season in the Series. He is the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR Championship. He won three races and earned 19 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes along with three pole awards last season.
“This is amazing. I really can’t believe it. It is my dream, but I did not expect it right now,” said Suárez. “I can’t wait to get started. I have a lot to learn, but I couldn’t ask for a better situation. I have the support of a great team around me.”
“I have so many people to thank that helped get me to this point of my career, starting with my family of course, but it would be impossible for me to list everyone. I do want to thank Coach (Gibbs) and everyone at JGR for this opportunity,. and I also want to thank ARRIS, STANLEY, Subway, Interstate Batteries and Toyota for their support. I can’t wait for Daytona.”
Suárez will make his first-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 26, 2017.
“We are thrilled for Daniel,” said Gibbs. “Once we learned that Carl would not return next season, Daniel was really the obvious choice to take the wheel of this newly redesigned 2018 Camry. He is a great fit for our team and our partners. He has worked extremely hard and proven to be a quick learner. He will have a great team around him and he will have great teammates to lean on. This might be a bit earlier than we anticipated, but he has earned the opportunity and we are excited for his future.”