Sadler ends winless drought in Nationwide at Phoenix
Avondale, AZ (Sports Network) - Elliott Sadler won in the Nationwide Series
for the first time since October 1998 by taking Saturday's Bashas'
Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Sadler, in just his second start for Richard Childress Racing, took the lead
from Sprint Cup Series regular Brad Keselowski with 26 laps remaining and then
held off Keselowski at the finish by just 0.3 seconds for his sixth career
Nationwide win but his first since the '98 fall race at Rockingham, NC.
He had been without a victory in his last 91 starts in NASCAR's second-tier
"It's been a long time since I've been in victory lane," a jubilant Sadler
said. "Richard Childress said he was going to give us the stuff we needed to
win. It's just the attitude he has. He believes in me, and it means a lot to
me. It's so awesome for us to come here and get a great finish today."
Sadler drove for Kevin Harvick Inc. in 2011, but KHI ceased operations and
sold its equipment to Richard Childress Racing when last season concluded.
Childress paired Sadler with crew chief Luke Lambert.
The win at Phoenix coupled with a third-place finish in last weekend's race at
Daytona International Speedway has given Sadler a 10-point lead over his
teammate Austin Dillon, who finished fourth. Dillon began his rookie season in
Nationwide with a fifth-place finish at Daytona.
Sadler finished second in last year's Nationwide point standings, a distant 45
points behind champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Keselowski has finished second in the first two races this season.
"Two second-place finishes, that's a lot to be proud of, but we want to win
too," he said. "It's great to see Elliott Sadler win."
Stenhouse finished third.
Kevin Harvick dominated most of this race by leading 107 of 200 laps. But
Harvick, who is running a limited Nationwide schedule for Childress this year,
gave up the lead when he took four new tires compared to a two-tire change for
the other frontrunners during a round of pit stops under caution late in the
Harvick fell back to seventh after the stops and then nearly crashed just
after the final restart. While in traffic, Kasey Kahne made slight contact
with the wall, forcing Harvick down the track and onto the apron along the
backstretch. Harvick crossed the finish line just inches behind Dillon to
"We got a little further back than what we expected, and then [Kahne] got
loose and just about spun out and got behind," Harvick said. "Our car just
didn't handle like it did in front."
Sam Hornish Jr., who won at this track last November, finished sixth, followed
by Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Michael Annett. Hamlin started
on the pole and led a total of 56 laps. Kyle Busch, driving his No. 54 Toyota,
was 11th. One year ago, Busch led all 200 laps to win this race, driving the
No. 18 car for Joe Gibbs Racing at the time.
Danica Patrick started 30th and finished three laps behind in 21st.
Unlike the crash-filled season-opener at Daytona, this race featured just
three cautions, with two of them for debris on the track. The only incident
occurred just past the halfway point when Kenny Wallace blew his right-rear
tire and made contact with the wall.
03/03 20:11:59 ET
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