DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 19, 2010)—- Elliott Sadler finished second in the NextEra Energy 250 Truck Series season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway Friday night. Sadler started the 2011 season off right by taking new sponsor partner OneMain Financial to the front of the field, leading 32 laps of the 100 lap event. Sadler led the field down to the checkered flag but was passed by Michael Waltrip coming out of turn four.
“I’m really proud of my guys,” Sadler said after climbing from the OneMain Financial Chevrolet. “I have to thank Kevin and DeLana Harvick for giving me this opportunity. We had a game plan at the beginning to drop to the back and ride, but we decided we needed to make a charge to the front around lap 50. Michael [Waltrip] and I drafted so well together. After my teammate [Ron] Hornaday was taken out in the first major wreck, Michael and I headed to the front. It was fun leading laps, but I’m just really disappointed for my guys that we didn’t get the win. Michael is just so good in the draft, and we just came up short tonight.”
When the NextEra Energy 250 began, the three Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) teammates of Sadler, Hornaday and Nelson Piquet Jr. slid to the back of the field as planned. The race went caution free forcing the field to make green-flag pit stops on lap 25. Sadler brought the No. 2 OneMain Financial truck down pit road for fuel only in an attempt to gain track position. Sadler and Hornaday teamed up following the green-flag exchange running in the top-15 pack of trucks.
The first caution of the night waved on lap 39 as a result of a cut tire by the No. 22 team. The No. 2 KHI team decided to bring Sadler to pit road to change four tires and take on fuel. Sadler made his way into the top 10 for the first time following the pit stop sequence. Sadler and Hornaday once again became drafting partners as they tried to make the top line of the track work. The caution waved for the second time on lap 55 for debris. The team once again brought Sadler to pit road for fuel only. KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick radioed to Sadler and told him to “save, save, save” on fuel.
As the laps wound down many trucks began making moves to work their way to the front. Sadler found a new drafting partner in Michael Waltrip. Sadler took the lead for the first time in 2011 on lap 75. One lap later a crash ensued behind Sadler taking with it Hornaday, his KHI teammate. A total of 14 trucks were involved in the melee. After clean up was complete Sadler proceeded to lead the next 30 laps with drafting partner Waltrip in tow.
With only three laps remaining in the 100-lap event, Sadler once again saw trucks wrecking behind him, this time taking out over half the field. The red flag was displayed for clean-up efforts. After a short delay the race restarted under a green-white-checkered scenario. Sadler led the race until the final corner when Waltrip pulled out from behind him and the two drag raced to the finish line. Waltrip collected the victory by a mere 0.061 seconds over Sadler.
The finish marks Sadler’s fourth top-five Truck Series finish in only nine starts for KHI. The Truck Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the second race of the season on Friday, February 25 at 8:00 pm, EST on SPEED. Clint Bowyer will climb behind the wheel of the No. 2 Tide Chevrolet to defend his fall win at the one-mile speedway.
February 18, 2010
Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway
Race: 1 of 25
Driver: Elliott Sadler
Truck Series Owners Point Standings: 2nd
Next on the Schedule for the No. 2:
Date: February 25, 2010
Track: Phoenix International Raceway
Event Name: Lucas Oil 150
Driver: Clint Bowyer
Broadcast Time: SPEED 8:00 p.m., EST MRN 7:45 p.m., EST