NNS: Sadler holds off field, claims second win of the season

March 17, 2012 No Comments

Credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images for NASCAR

It took 14 years between Elliott Sadler’s fifth and sixth career Nationwide victories, and it took just two weeks between Sadlers sixth and seventh career victories.

After capturing a victory at Phoenix two weeks ago, Sadler returned to victory lane at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday.

“This beats my wildest dreams to win two of the first four races,” Sadler said to ESPN reporters in victory lane. “I definitely love this place.”

Sadler didn’t lead until the last 35 laps when a late caution mixed up the strategy. While most of the leaders pitted on that caution, Sadler and crew chief Luke Lambert decided to stay out.

Even though most of the cars behind him had fresher tires Sadler had a great restart and was able to open up as much as a 1.3 second lead over second place Kasey Kahne. All Kahne could do in the closing laps was fend off Brad Keselowski who was closing in on Kahne for second. Keselowski finished third.

History played a part in Sadler’s second Nationwide Bristol win. When Lambert told Sadler to stay out, history was playing into the call.

“I was almost second-guessing [Lambert], but he said something that made me realize I can win,” Sadler said after the race. “[Lambert] told me I won the race here in 1998 and 2001 on the same strategy. It was a great call by Luke.”

This is the second time Sadler has won at Bristol in the Nationwide series. His last win came in 1998.

“I knew it was going to come down to track position at the end,” Lambert said to reporters after the race. “We took off there at the end.”

Much of the day was dominated by the Toyota of Joey Logano, who started from the pole. Logano led twice for a total of 119 laps.

Kyle Busch and Trevor Bayne also took turns leading. With the laps winding down, it was Bayne who was in control, but his teammate, Stenhouse Jr., was closing in and made the pass for the lead.

With 40 laps remaining, Busch, who had fallen back to seventh, tagged the wall and brought out just the fourth and final caution of the day.

Sadler was the only lead-lap car that stayed out and his tires carried him to the lead. For Sadler it is his second win this season and his fourth top-5 of the season.  After four races, Sadler is the Nationwide Series points leader by 25 points over second-place Stenhouse Jr.

“We have to catch Elliott, he is on fire this season with four top threes and two wins,” Bayne said to ESPN reporters after the race.

Next week the Nationwide series will race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Ford EcoBoost 300 results:

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



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