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NASCAR Stat: Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick Behind Carl Edwards in Career NASCAR Statistic

Gowtham Ramalingam

NASCAR Stat: Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick Behind Carl Edwards in Career NASCAR Statistic

Age alone has never been the prerequisite for a driver in NASCAR to consider retirement. The sport has seen many iconic names quit stock car racing still having gallons left in their tanks. A proper reflection of the same can be seen by looking at the dominance that they displayed in the final races of their careers.

It is no news that Carl Edwards’ retirement in 2016 is viewed as a largely premature one. He was just 36 at the time and could have gone to win a championship if he’d stayed in the field. Nevertheless, he led 47 laps in the 2016 season finale in Homestead Miami, his last race, before suffering a DNF. In the last 50 years of NASCAR history, no driver has led more laps in their final start than Edwards.

Kurt Busch is another driver who was still quite adept behind the wheel heading into retirement. He stands close at the heels of Edwards, having led 40 laps in a 2022 New Hampshire race. The start came from behind the wheel of 23XI Racing’s #45 car and ended with him in 10th place. Busch’s long and illustrious career with multiple teams came to a close on a high in that race.

The late Davey Allison pops on the list third. He led 38 laps in his final race in 1993. A part of the infamous Alabama Gang, he passed away tragically in a helicopter crash en route to the Talladega Superspeedway.

The latest big name to hang up the racing suit was Stewart-Haas Racing icon Kevin Harvick. The 2014 champion’s consistency and caliber behind the wheel over the past decade can be questioned by none. Though he went winless in his final season (2023), he managed to lead 23 laps in the season finale at the Phoenix Raceway. He is currently an on-air analyst for Fox Sports.

The reason behind Edwards, Busch, and Harvick retiring despite having the potential to fight for championships

Kurt Busch’s retirement came after he suffered a concussion at the Pocono Raceway. Though he hadn’t explicitly mentioned considering retirement before then, he made it official in August 2023. He continues being a presence in the 23XI Racing garage, acting as a mentor for the team’s current roster.

Kevin Harvick, on the other hand, cited the need to spend more time with his family as his reason to call it quits. Aged 47, at the time of retirement, he will go down as one of the greatest drivers to grace stock car racing.

Meanwhile, the most questionable of retirement choices is that of Carl Edwards. The fan-favorite driver was at the top of his game when he quit. End of the day, he quoted three reasons for the decision: One, he was satisfied with his accomplishments in NASCAR; Two, racing demanded too much of his time; and, three, he wanted to make some time for himself when he was still healthy. Looking back at the careers of these legends and the way they ended things early, one can only be left yearning for more.

Post Edited By:Srijan Mandal

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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