Slideshow: Carl Edwards through the years

A look back on the impressive NASCAR career of Carl Edwards, who shocked the racing world with news leaking of his imminent retirement.

Slideshow: Carl Edwards through the years

Carl Edwards's rookie season

Carl Edwards's rookie season
1/26

Photo by: Tony Johns

Carl Edwards ran his first full Cup season in 2005, driving the No. 99 Ford for Jack Roush. He was 25 years old.

Carl's first win

Carl's first win
2/26

Photo by: Autostock

Carl Edwards has won 28 Cup races, four of which came in his rookie season. The one pictured above was the very first with Edwards edging Jimmie Johnson by 0.028 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The backflip

The backflip
3/26

Photo by: Autostock

The victory backflip became Edwards' signature celebration after every win. Here he is doing it for the first time at the Cup level. Ever since, he's always stuck the landing.

Making the Chase

Making the Chase
4/26

Photo by: Autostock

Carl Edwards made the Chase during his rookie campaign, along with all four of his Roush teammates. He went on to end the season an impressive third in the championship standings.

His only NASCAR title

His only NASCAR title
5/26

Photo by: Kurt Dahlstrom

It's hard to believe that the 2007 NASCAR Busch (now Xfinity) title stands as Edwards only NASCAR championship. In a time when Cup drivers could still run for championships in the lower divisions, Edwards dominated, winning it all by 618 points over David Reutimann.

His most successful season

His most successful season
6/26

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

2008 stands out as Carl Edwards best performance. He won a career-high nine races, leading 1,282 laps and scoring 19 top fives and 27 top tens. But in the end, he lost the championship to Jimmie Johnson.

Kansas Hail Mary

Kansas Hail Mary
7/26

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

During the 2008 season, Carl Edwards made a move that is still talked about to this day. On the final lap of the 400-mile Chase race at Kansas Speedway, he dove to the inside of Jimmie Johnson in Turn 3 and did not lift. He slammed the outside wall, but kept it in the throttle the entire time. Johnson still won, but Edwards was the one everyone was talking about that day.

Taking flight at Talladega

Taking flight at Talladega
8/26

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

Carl Edwards' most memorable wreck ... On the final lap of the 2009 spring race at Talladega Superspeedway, he was within a few hundred feet of victory when it all went wrong. Contact was made between he and Brad Keselowski, who went on to win for the first time at the Cup level. Meanwhile, Edwards was sent bouncing off the windshield of the Ryan Newman before being flung into the catch- fence. He was unhurt and crossed the finish line on foot, but several fans were injured by debris.

Edwards vs. Keselowski

Edwards vs. Keselowski
9/26

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

Following that wild finish at Talladega, sparks were not done flying between Edwards and Keselowski. Here they are having a cordial conversation during Xfinity practice at Bristol in 2010, but they would go on to have more than one run-in during that year.

Payback

Payback
10/26

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

During the 2010 spring Atlanta race, Carl Edwards was sent to the garage in the early going. He blamed Brad Keselowski for the incident and late in the running, he returned to the track for payback. But when Edwards hooked the No. 12 Dodge with roughly 15 laps to go, no one expected the car to flip and slam into the top of the SAFER Barrier on its lid. The wreck was strangely similar to their run-in at Talladega, one year earlier.

Edwards vs. Keselowski, Round Three

Edwards vs. Keselowski, Round Three
11/26

Photo by: Getty Images

A few months after the Atlanta incident, Edwards and Keselowski were at it again in an Xfinity race at Gateway Motorsports Park. Edwards was leading on the final lap, but was moved out of the way by Keselowski. He got back to his outside as they raced to the checkered flag and in a shocking move, he hooked the No. 22 into the wall. Keselowski was then hit violently by multiple cars as they crossed the line with Edwards taking the win. This prompted the now famous interview by Brad's father Bob, who said, "He ain't gonna kill my boy."

Winning the All-Star Race ... And then wrecking the car

Winning the All-Star Race ... And then wrecking the car
12/26

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Carl Edwards won the 2011 All-Star Race with a clean car, but that quickly changed as he went to celebrate. Edwards struck a manhole in the infield, ripping the front end off his Ford Fusion. But as you can see by the smile on his face here, it didn't bother him that much.

Checkers and wreckers?

Checkers and wreckers?
13/26

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

Carl Edwards was involved in one of the most bizarre finishes in NASCAR history. Teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was cruising to an Xfinity win in the 2011 Iowa race when his engine detonated out of the final corner. Edwards could have stolen the win, but got caught up in the fluid and slammed right into the back of Stenhouse, helping him across the line.

2011 championship battle

2011 championship battle
14/26

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

The 2011 championship fight between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards went down as the closest ever. Edwards was consistent throughout the Chase, but never won. Meanwhile, Stewart won half of the Chase races. Although they took two very approaches, it came down to the wire in the finale. After battling each other throughout the race, Stewart was leading as they closed in on the checkered flag. Edwards was second, but failed to run him down. The points margin between them was absolutely nothing, but Stewart took the crown via the tiebreaker rules.

Leaving Roush behind

Leaving Roush behind
15/26

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Between 2003 and 2014, Roush-Fenway Racing was the only team Edwards knew, driving for them in all three tiers of NASCAR's top divisions. But this victory at Sonoma in 2014 would end up being his final for Roush. It was also the last time RFR has seen Victory Lane.

Joining Joe Gibbs Racing

Joining Joe Gibbs Racing
16/26

Photo by: Nigel Kinrade Photography

In August of 2014, Carl Edwards announced that he would be joining Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2015 season. Here he stands with his new teammates.

Carl's new ride

Carl's new ride
17/26

Photo by: Joe Gibbs Racing

Our first look at Carl Edwards brand new ride for the 2015 season, the No. 19 Arris-backed Toyota Camry.

Winning NASCAR's longest race

Winning NASCAR's longest race
18/26

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Carl Edwards' first victory for JGR came in one of NASCAR's marque events -- The Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Winning the Southern 500

Winning the Southern 500
19/26

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

The Coca Cola 600 wouldn't be the only crown jewel Edwards would claim in 2015. Later that same year, he won the Southern 500 at Darlington.

Final Daytona 500

Final Daytona 500
20/26

Photo by: NASCAR Media

We didn't know it at the time, but 2016 would mark Carl Edwards' final Daytona 500. He finished the race fifth as part of the Toyota conglomerate that controlled the end of the race.

Another memorable finish

Another memorable finish
21/26

Photo by: NASCAR Media

Edwards wasn't done involving himself in enthralling finishes, battling Kevin Harvick to the checkered flag at Phoenix, slamming fenders to the sound of a roaring crowd. Edwards came out on the losing end by 0.010, one of the ten closest finishes in NASCAR history.

Making the Chase for the tenth time

Making the Chase for the tenth time
22/26

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

In a picture reminiscent of the Roush photo in 2005, Edwards stands with his fellow Gibbs and Toyota teammates, al of which made the 2017 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Impressively, it marked the tenth time he made the Chase in twelve attempts.

Final race win

Final race win
23/26

Photo by: NASCAR Media

Carl Edwards' 28th and final NASCAR Cup victory came at Texas Motor Speedway, which secured him a place in the Championship. Ironically, it was his only Cup win where he didn't do his traditional backflip, hoping he'd have another opportunity to do so in the season finale.

Championship showdown

Championship showdown
24/26

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

Carl Edwards battles for the lead with Kevin Harvick and title rival Kyle Busch at Homestead. He asserted himself as the man to beat as the laps clicked away in Southern Florida.

Going down fighting

Going down fighting
25/26

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

No one can say Carl Edwards went quietly into the night. On a restart with ten laps to go, he was in a position to win the championship, leading all three of his rivals. When Joey Logano made a daring move to the inside, Edwards blocked and slammed the inside wall. He came back up the track and was sent airborne by an impact from Kasey Kahne. He walked away and in the ultimate show of sportsmanship, he climbed Logano's pit box to apologize to the Penske team, taking responsibility for the wreck.

Edwards' legacy

Edwards' legacy
26/26

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

Carl Edwards' career was a successful one with 28 Cup wins, 38 Xfinity wins and six Truck wins. He reached very high in the NASCAR world and is one of those who worked hard for it, but he came short of breaching that glass ceiling and earning that coveted Cup title. He came close in 2005, 2008, 2011 and of course, 2016, but even without the championship, he will certainly go down as one of the best drivers in the modern era.
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Carl Edwards to retire from NASCAR racing, effective immediately

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards
Teams Roush Fenway Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing
Author Nick DeGroot
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