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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)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, leads Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ideal Door/Menards Toyota, talks to Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Toyota Toyota, on the grid during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fourth position Friday, November 20, 2015 Sunday`s final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for thirteenth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick will be joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Truex, Jr. will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Sunday will be Gordon`s last race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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