Carl Edwards cites family, health as reasons for stepping away from NASCAR

Carl Edwards on Wednesday made official what first reported a day earlier: He is leaving Joe Gibbs Racing and will not compete in NASCAR in 2017.

Appearing at a press conference at JGR's headquarters in Huntersville, N.C., Edwards said, "I'm stepping away from full-time driving in the Cup Series. … I don't have any intention of going back to full-time racing."

Edwards said there were three reasons he was leaving: 1. He's satisfied with his career. 2. He wants to devote time to the people in his life. And 3. He wants to stay healthy.

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"I'm not using the 'R' word," Edwards said of retirement, leaving the door open for a return to JGR. Edwards said he won't race for another team but could do some other racing in the future.

"I want to spend time outside the sport on things that are important for me," said Edwards. "… I really believe it's the right thing. It's a personal thing."

Edwards added, "Life's short. You've got to do what your gut tells you."

The driver said he had no specific future plans figured out yet.

"There's no life raft I'm jumping on," he said. "I'm just jumping. And in a way that makes it easier."

Daniel Suarez, the reigning NASCAR XFINITY Series champion, will take over for Edwards behind the wheel of the No. 19 JGR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Camry for the season.

In his 13 years in the Cup Series, Edwards twice finished second in points, including a memorable tie with Tony Stewart in 2011. Stewart was awarded the NASCAR championship that year by virtue of the fact that he had more race victories.

Over his Cup career, Edwards had 28 race victories, 22 poles, 124 top fives and 220 top 10s in 445 starts.