WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. Carl Edwards’ return to the NASCAR Nationwide Series was a successful one.
Edwards, making his first start in the series of the year, held off a furious charge by Brad Keselowski to win Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, his first trip to Victory Lane in any NASCAR series since he won the Nationwide race last October at Charlotte.
Edwards took the lead for the first time on a restart on Lap 73 of 80. He then traded the lead with Keselowski on Lap 77 and held off Keselowski on another restart on Lap 81 to earn the victory.
The win is Edwards’ 38th in the series and puts him solely in third place in all-time series wins. He was previously tied with Kevin Harvick for third.
“That was a heck of a battle. Brad raced me really clean,” Edwards said after the race. “I’m glad to be back in the series. I’ve had a lot of fun over here.
“This win means a lot to me. We had virtually no practice and almost qualified on the pole and won the race.”
Edwards said restarts were “intense.”
“There are so many games being played and I didn’t get the chance to start on the pole until the final restart and I was kind of trying to sense where everbody was,” he said. “I was very fortunate.”
Series points leader Elliott Sadler finished 12th and holds a 13-point advantage over Stenhouse.