Sunday, January 21, 2018
Sports

Grace, class marked Carl Edwards' NASCAR career

Carl Edwards, who is expected to announce today that he won't race in 2017, won 28 races over a 13-season NASCAR Cup career. But, as much as anything else, Edwards will be known for the class and decency he showed after coming agonizingly close to winning two championships.

Edwards, 37, will likely be replaced in the No. 19 Toyota by Daniel Suarez, who won last season's Xfinity Series championship.

Two news conferences — presumably for Edwards and Suarez — are scheduled for today at Joe Gibbs Racing's Huntersville headquarters. News of Edwards' stepping away was first reported Tuesday by Fox Sports.

Edwards was one of four drivers who made the final four of the Chase in 2016. He also led the points standings heading into the 2011 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway but lost a memorable race and points battle against Tony Stewart.

Edwards is the third NASCAR star to retire over the past two seasons. Jeff Gordon retired after the 2015 season (although he drove several races as a substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. last season). Tony Stewart retired after the 2016 season.

Edwards will be remembered for celebrating his victories by doing a back flip off his car. Ironically, he elected not to do the flip after winning what could be the final race of his career in November at Texas Motor Speedway due to wet conditions. Edwards' final back flip came after he won at Richmond last April.

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage compared Edwards' decision to the retirement of former Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders.

"Shocking and with loads of ability and time left in a very successful career," Gossage said in a statement. "Everyone, rightfully, expected Carl to win both races and championships. I talked to Carl about a month ago and he didn't give any indication he was considering this. It is a shock that just doesn't seem real."

Although Edwards didn't win a championship, he finished second twice (in 2008 and 2011) and fourth in 2016.

He came up short in 2011 to Stewart in an epic season finale at Homestead. In what was then another version of the Chase, Stewart beat Edwards, who entered the race with a three-point lead and started on the pole, for the title. Stewart battled from behind for much of the race, and would win for the fifth time in 10 Chase races. Those five victories gave Stewart the championship through a tiebreaker after they finished tied atop the point standings.

"That's as hard as I can drive," Edwards said after the race, in which he led a race-high 117 laps. "Give Tony and those guys the credit. That's all I got at the end."

Edwards clinched a spot in last season's final four by winning at Texas. Edwards was leading at Homestead with 10 laps left when he inexplicably wrecked Joey Logano during a restart, knocking them both out of contention (although Logano rallied to finish fourth).

Edwards took responsibility for the accident and even went to Logano's pit stall to shake hands with crew chief Todd Gordon.

"I just wanted to make sure he knew that was just hard racing, in my opinion, and that's hard racing and I wished them luck," said Edwards, who added that he didn't apologize to Gordon.

After the final race — after Edwards had once again come so close to winning the championship — he said:

"I am telling you, this team is going to be on fire next year. You watch out. This is going to be awesome."

Comments
What’s gone wrong with Lightning?

What’s gone wrong with Lightning?

It didn't take the sound of a door slamming in the dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay felt like it worked hard – at least, harder than Thursday's listless loss to Vegas – yet dropped another ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasn’t turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

Wozniacki advances to quarterfinals

MELBOURNE, Australia — Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki is through to the Australian Open quarterfinals and with a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking in women’s tennis. Wozniacki beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-0 today at Rod Laver Arena. Rybarikova...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Sports in brief

SPORTSNO AIR FORCE GAMES; NFL BROADCASTS ABROAD IN JEOPARDYThe federal government shutdown prompted the Air Force Academy on Saturday to call off sports events and upended plans for military outside the United States wanting to follow today’s NFL con...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

Florida wins big SEC showdown with Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Jalen Hudson came off the bench to score 17, and Chris Chiozza, Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes contributed clutch baskets down the stretch as Florida rallied to upset No. 18 Kentucky 66-64 Saturday night. "We were able to win it jus...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Avalanche climbs into playoff spot with ninth straight win

DENVER — The Avalanche has gone from pushover to powerhouse in less than a season, and its recent streak is evoking memories of past glory. Nathan MacKinnon, Erik Johnson and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist each, Jonathan Bernier made 27 save...
Updated: 9 hours ago
After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

After rout, LeBron scoffs at playoffs

CLEVELAND — LeBron James came up just short of 30,000 points. Oklahoma City nearly got there, too. Unable to stop Paul George, Russell Westbrook or Carmelo Anthony, the Cavaliers were embarrassed 148-124 Saturday by the Thunder, which not only rolled...
Updated: 9 hours ago
McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

McIlroy shoots third-round 65, trails by 1 at Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy fired 7-under 65 Saturday in the third round of the Abu Dhabi Championship to move one shot behind co-leaders Ross Fisher and Thomas Pieters. Fisher shot 65 and overnight leader Pieters added 67 to reach...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballMiami at N.C. StatenoonCh. 44Rutgers at MichigannoonBig TenWomen: South Carolina at KentuckynoonESPNUWomen: Marquette at VillanovanoonFS1Women: George Washington at DaytonnoonCBSSNWomen: Virginia Tech at Virginia12:30 p.m.Fox S...
Updated: 10 hours ago