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Yes, Carl Edwards misses racing. No, he’s not planning a return to NASCAR

Carl Edwards joins the NASCAR on NBC crew to discuss racing at Texas, what he misses most and what he's been up to in retirement.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Carl Edwards, who abruptly left NASCAR in January 2017, misses racing. He misses the tires sliding as he drives through the corners. He misses the speed, emotion and people. He misses the pressure of championship week that he experienced in 2011 and 2016 in Miami.

But he’s not coming back to NASCAR.

And so will end one of the favorite parlor games for NASCAR fans — wondering what ride he’ll take after it opens.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations with people but none in the last year or so,” Edwards said Saturday after being inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame at Texas Motor Speedway. “I think everyone pretty much understands that I’m not really interested in coming back and doing anything too serious right now. It’s been off my radar for a long time.”

Asked if he’s wavered in the decision to leave, Edwards said: “I will tell you that I do miss driving the cars. I have a feeling that something will come up that will be really, really fun and natural to go do, and I’ll drive a little bit more but definitely I’m not going to sign a three-year contract to go run for a Cup championship.”

Any racing he does — if he gets back in a car — will be on a different level.

“It would have to be something that really excited me,” said Edwards, who won 28 Cup, 38 Xfinity and six Truck races in his career. “The thing that I think I like the most is driving the road courses. I’ve talked to some people about maybe doing some testing at a road course or something. That would be a lot of fun.

“The races I miss the most are really Sonoma, Homestead. Homestead for two reasons because of all the pressure and the championship, I love that. I miss those tracks that you’re sliding around a lot, Atlanta. That kind of stuff would be fun to do. That, naturally, might be a dirt track somewhere or a road course test.”

Edwards said that Saturday was only the second time he’s been at a track on a race weekend since stunning the sport with his announcement before the 2017 season that he would not compete.

He admits he’s not followed the sport since.

“I don’t follow it really because I’m so invested in it and it’s been so close to me that I don’t think I can follow it without wanting to participate,” he said. “It would be just impossible for me. I try not to pay too much attention.

“If I’m going to follow it every week, I might as well come. Then I might as well drive and we’re back into it.”

Instead, Edwards has spent time with family and traveling the world. He’s twice sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.

“Making an Atlantic crossing is really interesting,” Edwards said. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and there are some really neat things about it. Ran into a big pod of whales at one point. I thought it would be a great idea to jump in and swim with them. I didn’t realize how small you could feel as a human being. That was really interesting.”