Carl Edwards confused by rumors about his departure from racing

Carl Edwards wants to clear something up: The rumors about him having an ulterior motive for stepping away from racing aren’t true.

Edwards appeared puzzled Tuesday when he chatted with a small group of reporters in the Phoenix Raceway garage, where he was on hand to guide Daniel Suarez through the rookie’s first-ever Cup laps.

After a long news conference earlier this month to explain why he was leaving, Edwards thought he detailed all of his reasons fairly well.

But then he started listening to Sirius/XM Radio’s NASCAR channel in his free time and learned some people believe he had other reasons for getting out of the car.

“It’s like all the sudden I didn’t explain myself or something,” he said. “I guess if people don’t understand, that’s just the way it is. I thought I explained it pretty clearly. People gotta have something to talk about.”

At one point, Edwards paused and asked reporters for more information about the speculation (which even his former teammates have seemed to fuel).

“What is it that people think I have planned that I didn’t say?” he asked.

The reporters responded by telling Edwards some of the rumors flying around in the garage.

“Man,” he said, shaking his head. “Well, I want to go on the record saying those things are not true. I know you guys need something to talk about, but that’s pretty wild. Pretty crazy.”

Edwards said he still doesn’t know how he’ll fill his time after leaving racing, but he’s interested in doing some sailing and has been working out frequently.

As for the report Edwards might run for political office, he seemed to indicate that would be something in the more distant future than 2018.

“That whole thing blew up very quickly,” he said. “Holy crap! That went out of control.

“The point is, I don’t ever rule out anything. I really do believe in America and if a person can help maintain the future opportunities for other people, that’s our duty as Americans.

“If that’s something down the line that fits in as something I can do, that would be an endeavor I’d be real proud of. But I’m not like putting together this campaign or something; not right now.”

Carl Edwards chats with reporters during at test session at Phoenix Raceway (Photo: Jeff Gluck)

Matt Kenseth clueless as to why Carl Edwards quit racing

Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards have been fairly tight the last few years, with their infamous Martinsville altercation buried long ago.

But even Kenseth says he’s still not sure why Edwards stepped away from racing — this despite speaking with Edwards on the phone about it.

“I called him and asked him (why) straight out, and when I hung up, it was probably less clear than before I picked (the phone) up,” Kenseth said. “I tried to listen to what he was saying, I tried to listen to what he wasn’t saying and I didn’t really come up with anything.”

Kenseth said he had no idea Edwards was thinking of leaving until Joe Gibbs put all the drivers and crew chiefs on a conference call together on a Sunday night — which was the first time that had ever happened in Kenseth’s tenure with Joe Gibbs Racing.

“(Gibbs) told us about it then, and I guess the announcement was (the next) Wednesday,” Kenseth said. “That was the first time I heard about it, and I was very, very surprised.”

But Kenseth said after thinking about it more, he wasn’t totally shocked — because that’s sort of Edwards’ nature.

The AP’s Jenna Fryer asked why that is.

“Carl has always been his own guy, right?” Kenseth said. “He kind of does his own thing, and if he decided that’s what he needed to do at the time, it doesn’t shock me he actually went through with it.”

Below: Matt Kenseth cracks jokes in a sarcastic press conference.