NNS: Sadler collects first 21st century Nationwide win

March 3, 2012 No Comments
Credit: Tyler Barrick/ Getty Images for NASCAR

Credit: Tyler Barrick/ Getty Images for NASCAR

The last time Elliott Sadler won in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the President of the United States was Bill Clinton, the top song on the Billboard Top 100 was “The First Night” by Monica and it was still the 20th Century.

Halloween 1998 was the last time that Sadler visited victory lane in the NASCAR Nationwide (then Busch series) Series. That streak ended Saturday at Phoenix.

“It’s a very emotional win,” Sadler said to media members after the race.  “To be able to do it this early in the season gives us confidence.”

Since 1998, Sadler has raced mostly in the Sprint Cup Series, but last season Sadler stepped back from the Sprint Cup to the Nationwide series when he was racing for Kevin Harvick Inc. This season, Sadler is racing for Richard Childress Racing.

“Richard Childress said he is going to give us the stuff we needed to win with,” Sadler said. “Just That attitude he has, that he believes in me has meant a lot to me, it’s so awesome for us to get a great finish today.”

Sadler didn’t lead until the last twenty-five laps. Much of the day was dominated by Sadler’s teammate and last year’s car owner, Kevin Harvick.

As the laps were winding down, Sadler had to hold off Brad Keselowski for the race win. Keselowski had the lead on the final restart, but Sadler quickly overcame Keselowski.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Keselowski has finished second in the Nationwide Series.

“Two second place finishes that’s a lot to be proud of,” Keselowski said to ESPN reporters after the race. “All in all it was a good day for us and a great day for the series.”

Sadler’s lead was at one point, almost a second over Keselowski, but lapped traffic kept Keselowski in contention for much of the final laps, but after Sadler cleared lapped traffic with five laps to go the only thing in his way was the start/finish line.

“My car was a lot stronger than Eliott’s on the long run than the short run,” Keselowski said. “We needed some more laps, but man, if he would have made one little mistake we would have had him.”

Harvick led 107 of the 200 laps in Saturday’s race, but at the end of the race, pit-strategy caught Harvick back in the pack and he couldn’t catch back up to the leaders in time. On the last pit-stop, Harvick and his crew took four tires, while others took zero tires or two.

When the checkered flag flew, Harvick finished in the fifth position.

“We got a little further back than what we expected [on that last pit-stop] I think we restarted seventh,” Harvick said to ESPN reporters after the race. “Our car just didn’t handle like it did when it was out front, it was loose, it was tight.”

The top five in Saturday’s Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 were Sadler, Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillion and Kevin Harvick.

Only three cautions slowed down the race on Saturday. The first and last were for debris and the second one was for Kenny Wallace when he blew a tire and hit the fence.

Saturday’s win was not only his first Nationwide victory since 1998, it was his crew chiefs, Luke Lamberts first win in the series.

“I knew what Luke was made of and I knew what Elliott needed from watching the last couple races last year,” Childress said to ESPN reporters after the race. “Its worked out.”

After two races, Sadler is the NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader.

The next race will be Saturday, March 10, 2012 from Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Race results:

  1. Elliott Sadler
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  4. Austin Dillon
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Sam Hornish Jr.
  7. Trevor Bayne
  8. Joey Logano
  9. Denny Hamlin
  10. Michael Annett
  11. Kyle Busch
  12. James Buescher
  13. Cole Whitt
  14. Brian Scott
  15. Justin Allgaier
  16. Mike Bliss
  17. Casey Roderick
  18. Kasey Kahne
  19. Jason Bowles
  20. Tayler Malsam
  21. Danica Patrick
  22. Jeremy Clements
  23. Jamie Dick
  24. Joe Nemechek
  25. Joey Gase
  26. Erik Darnell
  27. Benny Gordon
  28. Eric McClure
  29. T.J. Bell
  30. Tim Schendel
  31. Blake Koch
  32. Mike Wallace
  33. Daryl Harr
  34. Charles Lewandoski
  35. David Green
  36. Kenny Wallace
  37. J.J. Yeley
  38. Morgan Shepherd
  39. Mike Harmon
  40. Josh Wise
  41. Chase Miller
  42. Scott Speed
  43. Jeff Green

 

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