NASCAR: Kyle Busch fired, Carl Edwards finally returning?

On this April Fools’ Day, let take a brief look back at some Beyond the Flag’s NASCAR pranks from over the years.

Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR
Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR / Robert Laberge/GettyImages
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It's a back-to-back run of holidays to start the week, with Easter on Sunday and now, of course, the April Fools' Day "holiday" to start the fourth month of 2024 today.

We were ultimately (and unfortunately) forced to stop our annual April Fools' Day article trend in 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation at the time, given how much nonsense was already being spread around during non-April Fools' Day dates, and it was simply never reignited.

On this year's first of April, let's have a look back at our final five years of participation in the fun "holiday".

2014

Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were dating at the time. Competing for Stewart-Haas Racing and Roush Fenway Racing, respectively, they were said to have agreed to get married and also switch Cup Series teams.

Of course, none of that happened. The pair broke up in 2017, with Stenhouse having since gotten married. Stenhouse did ultimately switch Cup Series teams in 2020, moving to JTG Daugherty Racing, and Patrick left Stewart-Haas Racing after 2017 before making one final start in 2018 with Premium Motorsports in the Daytona 500.

2015

This one surprisingly (or not surprisingly, depending on how you view the individual in question) turned out to be true. Brian France was said to be ousted as NASCAR chairman and CEO.

It ultimately happened in August 2018, not April 2015, due to the fact that he was arrested for driving while intoxicated and for criminal possession of oxycodone. Jim France, his uncle, took over and continues to occupy the same role.

2016

Tony Stewart confirmed before the 2015 season ended that he would be returning in 2016 but retiring afterward, with Clint Bowyer tabbed as his replacement for the Stewart-Haas Racing team Stewart owns along with Gene Haas. Contrary to this prank, he did not return for the 2017 Daytona 500.

Ironically, he did get his first -- and to this day, only -- Daytona 500 win as a team owner in 2017 with Kurt Busch. Stewart has not made any NASCAR starts since 2016, and while that was expected to change in 2020, COVID-19-related schedule modifications had other plans, and he no longer plans to return.

2018

Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin were widely considered the two most hated drivers in NASCAR at this point; one of them still probably is. But the then-Joe Gibbs Racing teammates did not actually announce during the 2018 season that they would both be retiring with immediate effect.

Busch has since left to join Richard Childress Racing, doing so after the 2022 season, while Hamlin still competes for Joe Gibbs' team. But he also now co-owns the 23XI Racing team with Michael Jordan. Believe it or not, it was actually "fake news" -- and not an April Fools' Day prank -- which led to the creation of this organization.

2019, Part I

2019 provided us with a double whammy. One of them was taken so seriously that the rumored team had to address the situation on social media, and the other was a predetermined scenario which was contingent upon three separate outcomes to even make sense. All three unfolded perfectly.

Ever since his unexpected retirement after the 2016 season, Carl Edwards has been the subject of various NASCAR Cup Series return rumors (spoiler alert: they never happen). But the simple mention of the fan-favorite possibly returning to the sport always gets the crowd riled up.

So when it was reported that he would be joining Team Penske in a fourth car they would be adding by acquiring the Wood Brothers Racing team with which they have a technical alliance, it was totally believable, right?

2019, Part II

The other prank involved Busch again, this time that he had been fired by Joe Gibbs Racing for winning Truck Series and Xfinity Series races but "controversially" not being able to win Cup Series races.

Busch is known to drop down to the two lower series and run as many races as NASCAR allows him to (to the point where the lower series limitations on Cup Series drivers are known as the Kyle Busch rule).

He had just won both the Truck Series and Xfinity Series races, the latter for Joe Gibbs Racing, at Texas Motor Speedway, but he placed 10th in the Cup Series event.

Fake quotes by Busch and team owner Joe Gibbs were, of course, provided, referencing everybody from musical artist Drake to current Joe Gibbs Racing Cup Series driver Christopher Bell.

How ‘fake news’ turned Michael Jordan into a NASCAR team owner. dark. Next. How ‘fake news’ turned Michael Jordan into a NASCAR team owner

Busch has since sold his Kyle Busch Motorsports Truck Series team to Spire Motorsports, though he still plans to compete in five races per year. He took the 2022 season off from Xfinity Series competition, "retiring" after hitting triple-digit wins in 2021, but he returned for select starts with Kaulig Racing last year. He has not yet confirmed a 2024 schedule for the series.

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