Grabbing the lead from Brad Keselowski after a restart with 10 laps left in Saturday’s Zippo 200 at The Glen, Edwards held on to win his first Nationwide Series start of the season.
Edwards took the top spot from Keselowski on lap 73 of 82, completing a pass to the outside as the cars approached the esses at the 2.45-mile road course. Keselowski regained the lead momentarily on Lap 76 but lost it again to Edwards’ crossover move as the cars approached Turn 1 to start Lap 77.
That’s when a caution for Austin Dillon’s blown tire slowed the field and set up a restart with two laps left. After a side-by-side battle in Turn 7 on Lap 81, Edwards held off Keselowski to win by 1.130 seconds.
“I hate to admit it, but I missed a downshift in Turn 6,” Edwards said of the sequence of events that allowed Keselowski to pull up beside him as the cars approached the white flag. “All day, that was where he was beating me, so I went in there extra hard, and I missed my downshift and he got next to me.”
Keselowski, however, ran out of room to the outside, and Edwards pulled away to his 38th Nationwide victory, breaking a tie for third with Kevin Harvick on the series’ all-time win list.
“Obviously, he missed that last left-hander [Turn 6],” Keselowski said. “I pulled up beside his left-side door and went into [Turn 7] on Carl’s outside, and he got loose and came up the track and hit me and put me in the wall there.
“That kind of took away all my momentum. I didn’t have a chance at it from there.”
Pole-sitter Sam Hornish Jr. ran third, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and road course ace Ron Fellows.
Entering the race with high expectations after her strong run at Road America in June, Danica Patrick suffered terminal damage to her No. 7 Chevrolet before the race was a lap old.
Ryan Truex’s No. 20 Toyota slid through the grass in the first corner and back onto the pavement right in front of Patrick’s car. The collision broke Patrick’s radiator and ultimately put her out of the race in 43rd place, the worst finish of her NASCAR career.
“One thing leads to the next in these situations, and the radiator was leaking,” Patrick said. “I noticed on my lap [after attempted repairs on pit road] that it took a long, long time to get to fourth gear on the backstraight. It might have been losing power at that point in time. 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.
“I feel so bad. I wish it would have gone differently but that’s the sport. There’s a lot of stuff that is out of your control and there’s a lot of stuff you look back at that you would’ve, could’ve, should’ve done differently — but that’s just racing.”
Scott Graves, Edwards’ crew chief, is batting 1.000, too, with a win in his first Nationwide Series race.
Elliott Sadler finished 12th and saw his lead in the series standings shrink to 13 points over Stenhouse, 24 over Hornish and 29 over Dillon, who finished 23rd and lost two positions in the points.