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Edwards’ decision a shocker

This is one of the down weeks in racing. However, news was announced Tuesday and clarified on Wednesday that has rocked the NASCAR world.

Carl Edwards has retired from driving the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota Camry and driving in general. Mexican-born Xfinity Champ Daniel Suarez has been named as his replacement in the Monster Energy Cup series.

Carl’s initial announcement left way more questions than answers. He clarified in his press conference that he will not be driving full-time in the Cup series. He stated that he is going with his gut. It’s time to step away. He’s healthy and he wants to remain clear and alert and healthy.

Carl stated that he has the support of coach Joe Gibbs beyond racing. He says he may be open to broadcasting opportunities but has no other plans at the moment. He stated if he wanted to drive race cars he would make the first call to Coach Gibbs.

His career has spanned 20 years and even this past year he appeared to be on his way to a Cup championship before an accident took him out of contention. Carl stated  he has lots of other interests outside of racing and a wonderful home and family and a very large working farm in Missouri. He is just stepping away and is still driven by a competitive spirit and is open to the right situation but doesn’t have anything planned. Bottom line is it’s his choice and he is ready for a new chapter in his life at this point.

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The big news I originally planned to report on was the fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is no longer single. He married a beautiful Victoria, Texas, lady, Amy Reimann, on New Year’s Eve. She has been at his side and a driving force behind his recuperation from his post-concussion syndrome.

The wedding was quite an event, with many of NASCAR’s stars in attendance. Photos and videos from the event show Dale moon-walking and dancing. He probably needs to get back at his day job!

There may be another wedding soon because Danica Patrick caught the bride’s bouquet. Run, Ricky, run! Just joking around, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Danica have been an item for a while and seem to be in love, so wedding bells for them would not be a big surprise.

Dale says he plans to be back behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevy when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series rolls into Daytona Beach in February.

The next event was another wedding. Kurt Busch tied the knot with a lovely polo player and model, Ashley Van Metre. Their ceremony took place in the Caribbean Islands and was attended by approximately 30 close friends and family members. The reception was attended by around 300 guests back in Florida.

Kurt says that she has brought a peace and happiness to his life and has been a wonderful supporter of his career. Kurt will drive the Monster Energy-sponsored Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2017.

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Daytona International Speedway will kick off 2017 with the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

This unique road-racing event will be Jan. 28-29. The event runs continually over 24 hours and features four separate divisions competing at the same time. These divisions are Prototypes, Prototype Challenge, GT Lemans and GT Daytona series.

There is a 40 to 50 mph speed difference between these groups, with the Prototypes being the fastest. This IMSA-sanctioned event is recognized worldwide as one of the premier races. Last year’s event was won overall by the Corvette C7R, driven by Oliver Gavin, who was followed closely across the line by teammate Antonio Garcia. The gap between these cars was only .034 seconds after 24 grueling hours of racing.

Special note, last weekend while practicing for this event one of these Corvette racers suffered a catastrophic fire and the other team car was immediately parked and taken back to the race shops to find the issues that caused the fire. The driver was uninjured.

Sixty-seven cars have entered this year’s event, with most teams having three to four drivers each. There are international endurance racers, Indy car drivers,and many sports car racing greats included in the starting field. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup drivers Jeff Gordon, A.J. Allmendinger, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson are entered also.

This event uses the high banks of the oval and the twists and turns of the infield road course, and more than 1,000 total laps will be run.

In a few short weeks there will be lots and lots of left and right turns and I plan to watch as much of this event as I possibly can, because at the end of the straight there’s going to be another left turn.

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