Carl Edwards won't run Nationwide slate

Updated: January 16, 2012, 2:13 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Carl Edwards, a seven-year veteran and 2007 champion of the Nationwide Series, won't be returning full-time to the second-tier NASCAR circuit for the 2012 season.

"The way we're approaching this season is, I'm not committing to any races right now," Edwards told NASCAR.com. "And as the season goes, if I decide I'm just a nervous ball of energy on Saturdays and I can't function without going and racing -- because that might be the case -- then we'll work to try to go (Nationwide) racing."

Edwards I'm hoping this lets me focus more on the Cup car, lets me be a better Cup racer by maybe having more time during the race weekend to maybe hone the setups in.

-- Carl Edwards

Edwards had finished in the series' top 3 in every season he'd raced and the top 2 in each season but 2005 before last season, when he was ineligible for the season championship after NASCAR ruled drivers wouldn't be able to compete for two series titles in the same year.

"Once they said we could not run for the championship, I had already committed and Roush and the sponsors had already committed to running the full season," Edwards said, "so we stuck with it and we did it. But to me, that was really, in my mind, my last real go at it for the whole season."

Edwards drove to a career-best eight Nationwide wins in 2011 despite his status, posting 1,887 laps-led -- more than double his previous best of 918 in 2009. But he also contented for the Sprint Cup title, losing the championship to Tony Stewart in the last race of the Chase.

"I'm hoping this lets me focus more on the Cup car," Edwards said, "lets me be a better Cup racer by maybe having more time during the race weekend to maybe hone the setups in.

"I don't know how it will actually affect our performance but I do know my calendar is a lot more open and I'm able to breathe a little more. And I know my family and everyone will really appreciate that (my schedule is less hectic on Fridays and Saturdays)."