Report: Carl Edwards to leave NASCAR

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FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2016, file photo, Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) greets fans during driver introductions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup auto race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va. Two people with knowledge of the situation tell The Associated Press that NASCAR driver Carl Edwards is retiring. Joe Gibbs Racing has scheduled a pair of news conferences Wednesday. Jan. 11, 2017, in which Edwards is expected to announce he is giving up the sport immediately. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – NASCAR driver Carl Edwards is retiring from the sport less than two months after nearly winning his first Cup championship. That’s what two people with knowledge of the situation have told The Associated Press.

The stunning decision comes as Joe Gibbs Racing has scheduled a pair of news conferences Wednesday during which Edwards is expected to announce he is giving up the sport immediately and that reigning Xfinity Series champion Daniel Suarez will replace Edwards in the No. 19 Toyota. The two people spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because the team and Edwards had not announced the move.

The 37-year-old Edwards came close to winning his first Cup championship in November’s season finale. He was leading all championship contenders with 10 laps remaining until a caution set up a restart that bunched the field. Edwards tried to block Joey Logano’s attempt to take the lead, and it caused a crash that ended Edwards’ title bid.

Edwards won three races in 2016 as JGR dominated the regular season and put two drivers in the final four. He spent 13 years in the Cup Series and has 28 career victories in 445 starts.