CONCORD, N.C. — Carl Edwards didn't watch the Daytona 500 from the drop of the green flag to the wave of the checkered flag.
He watched part of it. It's not that he didn't care about what was going on. He had texted team members throughout the race week in Daytona. But …
"I'm getting on with other parts of my life," Edwards said.
Edwards, who stunned the racing world when he announced in January he would at least temporarily retire and not return to the Joe Gibbs Racing driver stable in 2017, was back at the racetrack Tuesday afternoon but in street clothes.
One of his former race-team sponsors, Subway, still has a relationship with Edwards and wanted him for a commercial with his replacement,Daniel Suarez, it filmed Tuesday at Concord (N.C.) Speedway. Edwards also will help Suarez on Friday when the NASCAR Cup cars begin practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a place where Edwards had some of his greatest success. Edwards won't be able to get in a race car at Atlanta, and it didn't sound as though he really had a huge urge to do so.
"The chance to go win the Daytona 500 is something that is really cool," Edwards said. "But that's one of the things that I gave up when I made the decision. But there is a lot of gain, too.
"Things have been really, really good — definitely no regret."
Edwards said he didn't see the No. 19 car being used for the commercial and feel "that is my car," nor was it weird to see Suarez in a uniform similar to the one Edwards used to wear.
"I never felt that way [of it being my car]," Edwards said. "It's been a while since I made all the hard decisions. I've moved on. … I like the people involved. That is why I'm here.
"Subway has done great things for me and I plan to be in Atlanta on Friday to help Daniel any way I can."
While he has had calls from owners that he said have been primarily well-wishing and humbling, he doesn't have anything planned and dismissed the "really funny rumors" of the reasons why he left, including that he already is set to join another team in 2018. He still is open to the potential role of being a substitute driver.
"I've been working on some neat stuff but nothing I'm ready to talk about yet," Edwards said. "It's nothing earth-shattering. I'm just living life. … We'll see how it all goes.
"I'm paying attention enough and staying really fit and as engaged as [the team] will let me be. I'll always be ready if somebody needs a driver for something."
An avid pilot, Edwards has spent part of the past month, through a personal services deal he has with Cessna, flying people who have had health issues and can't fly commercially.
"For the last several years, I was flying back and forth to races and to see what some people are going through, it puts it all in perspective," Edwards said. Bob Pockrass/ESPN