Monday, November 26, 2018

100 Stock Car Racing What Ifs: Carl's Conundrum

Nascar has a long and storied history, but it also has a past littered with “What If?” questions.  Join author Mike Mackler as he takes a look back at stock car racing’s 100 most-intriguing hypotheticals in “100 Stock Car Racing ‘What Ifs’”, the book available on Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle formats.  Here’s a preview of one of the one hundred “What If” questions asked throughout the book:

41. What if Carl Edwards didn’t retire early?

Obligatory back flip shot
Background: One of the most-successful of the so-called “Young Guns”, Carl Edwards won 28 points-paying Cup Series wins in a little over twelve seasons of Cup Series racing.

What Actually Happened: After another near-miss for the championship at Homestead, Edwards stunned the Nascar world by announcing on January 9, 2017 that he was stepping away from Nascar.

What Could Have Been the Turning Point: What if Carl had been convinced to give a championship run another try?

What COULD Have Happened: The most-obvious change would have been a log-jam at Joe Gibbs Racing, with both Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez looking to move up to Cup competition.  A likely compromise would have seen Suarez spend another year in Xfinity competition defending his title, followed by him moving into the 77 Furniture Row car upon it being vacated by Jones for the 2018 season.  Unless…
What role did Arris play?

And if THAT Happened…: What if Arris was so intent upon sponsoring Suarez in Cup that he was moved up anyways, either to the 77 car or to the 20 car of Matt Kenseth?  Would Kenseth have retired then and there, or have given it a go with another team?  And if so, would he still have retired after the 2017 season?

What Else Could Have Happened: Carl Edwards’ presence on the track wouldn’t have likely made much of a difference to stop Nascar’s ratings decline, but having another marketable, likable driver in a major ride would still have been a better look for Nascar, especially from a marketing perspective.

Why It Had to Turn Out The Way It Did: Carl Edwards made his decision for himself and his family, and by all accounts wasn’t looking to be talked out of it by anyone.