Denny Hamlin stated that he feels Carl Edwards is itching to return to NASCAR and that he is open to the idea of 23XI Racing being his landing spot.
Since Carl Edwards unexpectedly announced his retirement before the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season, not even two months after competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, there have been all kinds of rumors surrounding a potential return.
As far as driver retirements that fans have never fully been able to accept, Edwards’ ranks at the top of the list.
Six and a half years later, that still holds true. The 43-year-old Columbia, Missouri native returned to the track for the first time since 2016 in May as a guest announcer in the Fox Sports booth at Darlington Raceway, and he returned again two weekends ago at Nashville Superspeedway to be introduced as the inaugural member of the venue’s new “Legends Plaza.”
With two recent Carl Edwards sightings at NASCAR races, the speculation that has never truly faded has begun to heat up again.
Edwards said, for about the 50th time, that he does not currently have any plans to return to the Cup Series, but he didn’t totally rule out the idea like he has appeared to in the past.
He admitted at Darlington Raceway that it is getting harder and harder for him to stay away from the sport, and his two appearances in two months after none in six years show that there is definitely some truth to that.
But is it possible that he will actually compete in another Cup Series race?
Denny Hamlin, a former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate of Edwards, stated last week on his Actions Detrimental podcast that he senses Edwards is “itching” to return to the sport.
Hamlin added that 23XI Racing, the team he co-owns with NBA legend Michael Jordan, could be Edwards’ landing spot and that discussions have already been had with the 28-time race winner.
"“I have talked to Carl early on when we started this race team about doing some one-off stuff. I’d be interested in that for sure. He does some similar work for us — he’s done some Chicago stuff for us at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). … I talked to him at that NASCAR 75 celebration and he’s itching a little bit. I think he does miss it for sure, so we’ll see where this goes…“Don’t think this story ends anytime soon.”"
23XI Racing, which expanded from one car to two last year, now run a third car in select races. Travis Pastrana debuted the No. 67 Toyota in this year’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, and Kamui Kobayashi is set to drive it in August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
So the car is certainly available for Edwards if he does find that he truly can’t stay away forever. He has the connections with Toyota, Hamlin, and Joe Gibbs Racing, which have a technical alliance with 23XI Racing, from his seasons working with them, and it seems that all parties involved would be more than happy to welcome him back.
It goes without saying that nothing is set in stone, but the fact that Hamlin added that the story probably won’t end anytime soon can only mean one thing: get ready for additional Carl Edwards return rumors, and don’t expect them to slow down until he actually comes back.