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Nationwide: Edwards back with a win

Carl Edwards decided to sit out Nationwide Series races in 2012, but made an exception for Watkins Glen - and ended up beating the two Penske cars to victory lane on his return.
After losing out on the 2011 Sprint Cup championship by the narrowest of margins to Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards decided to cut out the distractions and focus on his 2012 Cup season. One of the 'distractions' was his long-time commitment to the Nationwide Series, and Watkins Glen was the first time that he'd returned to the series since the end of last season.

As it turned out, the return to Nationwide actually proved a most welcome distraction from what had been a frustrating, winless time in Sprint Cup this year. One race, one visit to victory lane is just what the doctor ordered: "This is huge for us, it�s nice to be in victory lane," he said after claiming the win.

Edwards had started on the front row of the Zippo 200 at the 7-turn, 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International road course in New York state alongside polesitter Sam Hornish Jr., but the early danger came from Hornish's Penske team mate Brad Keselowski starting in fourth place alongside Paul Menard on the second row.

Keselowski was able to use an early restart opportunity on lap 10 to get second place off Edwards, and then two laps later was able to hurdle the curbing and trust that Hornish wouldn't do anything to knock them both out of the race, allowing him to take the lead on lap 12.

The restart had been for a caution triggered by a cut tyre sent Alex Popov into the guardrail, the yellows being needed for the ensuing debris. But there had been an even earlier incident on the very first corner of the first lap, which while it didn't bring out a caution did end up putting Danica Patrick out of the race, a 43rd place the worst result of her NASCAR career to date.

It actually wasn't her fault, and was purely a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time: Ryan Truex had lost control of the #20 on the downhill run into the turn 1 right hander, and spun onto the grass. Unable to stop, he slid down the slope until the car ran back onto the track at the exit of turn 1: Patrick just happened to be the car coming round the bend when Truex materialised, and she had no where to go but right into him.

"I drove in the corner and got wheel-hopped and spun out back in front of everybody," explained Truex. "It was either wheel-hop and hope I didn�t run into my teammate in front of me and take out the field, or turn in the grass and spin out and not hit anybody, and I chose the grass. I had no control after that."

At first, Patrick's team hoped that the damage was merely cosmetic - merely a crumpled engine cover obscuring Danica's vision. The mechanics beat that back into place and secured it with tape before sending it back out again, but the amount of water running out was all too evident and indicated the radiator was shot. Patrick brought the #7 back into the garage to see if there was anything that could be done, but the damage did indeed prove terminal.

"One thing leads to the next in these situations," said Patrick after calling it an early day. "When they got the radiator changed - and they did it really quickly - I went to fire it, and there was water coming out of the tail pipe. It wouldn't turn over."



Related Pictures

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Alex Kennedy`s #87 car skids to a stop after a heavy crash during the NASCAR Nationwide Series` Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. (Photo Credit: John Harrelson, Getty Images for NASCAR)
Carl Edwards` #60 Ford takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series` Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, races the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, and his team celebrate by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, stands on the grid with Haley Carey prior to the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Resers Toyota, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates with brother and Sprint Cup driver Austin Dillon after Ty won the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The Richard Childress Racing #3 Chevrolet Nationwide Series car driven by Ty Dillon. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ty Dillon with his team owner and grandfaster Richard Childress at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7 2014. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, leads the field out of the pits during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, qualified fourth fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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