I don’t think many NASCAR fans saw the news of driver Carl Edwards’ retirement coming.

Actually, I don’t think anybody saw it coming. Not his teammates, not his car owner, not anybody. The only person I think knew this was coming was Carl Edwards.

Whatever his reason for retiring, I hope he finds success in whatever he chooses to do. I certainly enjoyed what he brought to the sport during his career.

I remember the weekend he picked up his first wins. He won what was then the Busch Series race Saturday at Atlanta and then followed that up by beating Jimmie Johnson in a photo finish Sunday. I’ll also remember his signature celebration after wins when he would do a backflip from the driver’s side window.

However, what I’ll remember most about Carl Edwards was the one time I met him.

My parents and sister used to be volunteers for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A lot of kids come to Talladega for visits with NASCAR drivers. One particular visit was a kid meeting Jeff Gordon. The weather at the track that day was terrible.

It seemed like it was never going to stop raining. Gordon was running late to the visit because of a team meeting with his crew. We waited outside Gordon’s hauler until he arrived. While we were waiting a young driver that was beginning to make a name for himself stopped by and talked with the kid. The driver was Carl Edwards.

Nobody asked him to do it and several other drivers had walked by without stopping. Edwards stayed with the kid until Gordon arrived and talked with him and his family.

After that, I always had a lot of respect for Carl Edwards.

Sports Writer Will Gaines: 256-235-3577. On Twitter: @wgaines_star.