“It’s nice to be in victory lane,” Carl Edwards said at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Saturday.
But hold up just a minute. Yes, you read that right — Saturday, not Sunday. Edwards is still struggling in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012, looking for his first win of the year over on that circuit.
Saturday, he made his first start of the season in the Nationwide Series and got by Brad Keslelowski on a restart following a caution that came out with 14 laps to go in he Zippo 200 Nationwide race at the track and drove on to the win.
Keselowski, meanwhile, finished second after dominating much of the race.
Keselowski made his way by second-place starter Edwards and Penske Racing teammate and pole sitter Sam Hornish Jr. to take the lead for the first time on lap 12.
Until being overtaken by Edwards late in the race, Keselowski led most of the way from lap 12, except for when varying pit strategies by himself and other drivers shuffled other drivers into the lead temporarily.
After taking the late-race lead, Edwards held off Keselowski until Keselowski was able to get back to the front for a few brief seconds with six laps to go, but Edwards quicly got back by, held off Keselowski on the final restart of the race with two laps to go and gave crew chief Scott Graves his first win as a Nationwide crew chief.
“I hate to admit it, I missed a down shift,” Edwards said.
Hornish finished third, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fourth.
“A top-five at a road course for us — that’s huge,” Stenhouse said.
With their top-five finishes, Stenhouse moved up a spot to second in the championship points standings, and Hornish moved up a spot into third, each getting by former second-place driver, Austin Dillon. Dillon’s day included being penalized for an on-track incident and then suffering a tire issue late in the race. As a result, he dropped from second to fourth in points.
Ron Fellows rounded out the top-five, and Kyle Busch finished sixth after starting in the back when his crew replaced the engine and oil pan on his No. 54 Toyota.
Kasey Kahne was seventh, Paul Menard finished eighth, Justin Allgaier ninth, and Brian Scott rounded out the top-10.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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