Watkins Glen, NY – Carl Edwards made an impressive return to the Nationwide Series by winning Saturday's Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International.
Edwards passed Keselowski for the lead after a restart with 10 laps remaining. The fifth and final caution for an incident involving rookie Austin Dillon setup a two-lap shootout to the finish. After the restart, Keselowski challenged Edwards for the top spot but was unsuccessful in his attempt.
Edwards went on to beat Keselowski to the finish line by 1.1 seconds for his 38th career Nationwide victory, which broke a tie with Kevin Harvick for third on the series all-time race winners list. It was also Edwards and Roush Fenway Racing's first Nationwide win at Watkins Glen.
"Man, that was a heck of a battle," Edwards said. "(Keselowski) raced me very clean. I had a lot of fun racing him."
Edwards and Keselowski have had numerous altercations on the track in both Sprint Cup and Nationwide in the past. Keselowski dominated most of his race by leading 44 of 82 laps.
"It was just good, hard racing, and there's nothing wrong with that," Keselowski said. "Restarts are the best chance to make a pass. We had one of the best cars today, if not the best. I'm proud of everybody on the team for that. It's a lot of fun when you have fast cars. I feel like I gave away a win."
Edwards did have an incident with fellow Sprint Cup competitor Joey Logano. On lap 56, Edwards bumped into Logano and spun him around while battling for position.
"I got to say sorry to the 18 (team) for getting into Joey," Edwards confessed."
Edwards won eight races in Nationwide last year. He competed in the series full time from 2005-11 but opted not to run a full schedule this season to focus more on his Sprint Cup Series efforts. Edwards has not won a race in NASCAR's premier series since March 2011 at Las Vegas.
"It's good to be back," Edwards said. "Everybody (in the Nationwide Series) is so nice to me over here. I've had a lot of fun. (Crew chief) Scott Graves did a great job."
Graves made his crew chief debut in Nationwide after most recently serving as an engineer for Roush Fenway.
"It's unbelievable to be in this spot and to have this opportunity," Graves said.
Sam Hornish finished third after starting on the pole. Ricky Stenhouse, who is Edwards' teammate, placed fourth, while road-course expert Ron Fellows completed the top-five.
"I hope Carl has been practicing his (celebratory) backflips. It's been a while since he's done it off of a Nationwide car," Stenhouse said.
Stenhouse moved from third to second in the point standings. The defending series champion is 13 points behind Elliott Sadler, who finished 12th.
Hornish trails by 24 points, while Dillon is 29 markers out of the lead. Dillon's blown tire in the closing laps led to a 23rd-place finish.
On the opening lap, Danica Patrick ran into the back of Ryan Truex and damaged her radiator beyond repair. Truex lost it going into turn one and spun into the path of Patrick.
"I feel so bad," said Patrick, who finished 43rd. "I wish it would have gone differently, but that's the sport. There's a lot of stuff that's out of your control."
Patrick fell from 10th to 11th in points (-297).