Andrew Luck shocked the sports world Saturday Night when he announced he would be retiring from the NFL at the age of 29. After only 7 years and countless injuries, the Standford grad decided, smartly, that it was time to hang it up.
That got us thinking, who has shocked the racing world with a surprise retirement?
Two months after nearly winning the 2016 NASCAR Cup Series Championship Carl Edwards called it quits in early January. The 28-time Cup Series winner gave no specific reason for why he was stepping away other than the fact he wanted to spend more time with his family. Joe Gibbs Racing was caught off guard, a month before Daytona and they were left looking for a driver. It is the most shocking NASCAR retirement ever, a move no one saw coming.
Five days after winning the 2016 F1 World Championship the German announced that he was retiring from the sport. At the age of 31, Rosberg was content with that he had accomplished in the sport. Stating that one title is all he ever wanted, essentially it solidified his career. After an intense inter-team battle with Lewis Hamilton Rosberg is the only person that can say he straight up beat Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel of an AMG Mercedes. Of course, Rosberg was in one too, but Bottas hasn’t been able to do that yet. 2016 was a weird year.
Two weeks before the start of the 2019 NHRA season Courtney Force announced that she would retire from driving immediately. Nothing like putting the family team in a weird spot. Force who is married to IndyCar driver Graham Rahal so we just all assumed she was pregnant. Nope, just done with driving and good for her. You never want to do something, especially something like going 300 mph if your heart isn’t in it.
Juan Pablo Montoya Quits F1 For NASCAR
In 2006 Juan Pablo Montoya shocked the racing world by announcing he would be leaving Formula and would be heading to the United States to race NASCAR. The 7-time Grand Prix winner underperformed in 2006 and thought Fernando Alonso was brought in to replace him alongside Kimi Raikkonen so he called up Chip Ganassi who he won the Indy 500 with six years prior to see if he had anything for him in NASCAR. In reality, Raikkonen had already signed with Ferrari for 2007 so JPM likely could have retained his seat at McLaren had he been performing. Instead, the team promoted Lewis Hamilton and things seemed to work out ok. Montoya got his first taste of NASCAR with some starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and ARCA Series late in 2006 before making his Cup debut at the season finale in Homestead the same year.
If you’re a NASCAR fan you’ve heard the name Junior Johnson your entire life, the guy started in 1953. One thing you probably didn’t know is the man retired at the age of 34. Junior Johnson stopped racing cars in 1966 and he’s still regarded as one of the greats 53 years later. With 50 wins, a Daytona 500 and a moonshine running conviction on his record Junior Johnson is one of racing’s badasses. Imagine if he would have raced for even 5 more years.
The 4-time IndyCar champ and 3-time Indianapolis 500 winner abruptly announced his retirement following a crash in the second race of the Houston Grand Prix. Franchitti suffered a last-lap crash on the temporary circuit that saw his #10 Target car go into the fence and violently whip around before settling back on the race track. Franchitti suffered a spinal fracture, right ankle fracture, and a concussion. Because of previous concussions and injuries, Franchitti was advised not to get back in a race car. And just like that, the Scot was out of the sport. His last win fittingly was the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
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