WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 14, 2011) - Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team finished 10th at Watkins Glen International on Saturday afternoon. The Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) team qualified in the fourth position for the second road-course event on the schedule and brought home the team’s 15th top 10 of the season.
In the opening laps of the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at the Glen, Sadler held his fourth-place starting position as the field wound around the 2.45-mile road course. Shuffled to the sixth position in traffic by lap 15, the driver relayed to the crew that the OneMain Financial Chevrolet needed a bit more front grip, and the car was tight on the right-hand turns.
The field began scheduled green-flag pit stops near lap 23, moving Sadler to the second position. Crew chief Ernie Cope called the Chevrolet Impala down pit road on lap 25 for four tires and fuel, putting Sadler back on the track in the fifth position.
A full-course caution came out on lap 25 for the No. 14 which had stalled on the track, and Cope encouraged Sadler to save fuel during the caution period.
Green-flag racing resumed on lap 29 with Sadler in the fifth position. On lap 38, he communicated to the crew that grass was on the grille from cars in front of him going off course, and the car was starting to push water, a sign of over-heating. The driver brought the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop to get the grass off the grille and top the car off with fuel.
Sadler left pit road in the 16th position on lap 39, but focused on picking positions off one at a time and moved into the 14th position by lap 51. Another round of scheduled green-flag stops began on lap 53, moving Sadler to the ninth position. Cope brought the driver to pit road, this time for a scheduled stop, on lap 55, and the KHI pit crew gave the No. 2 four tires, fuel and added tape to the grill.
The No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet went back onto the course and moved to the 12th position after the field cycled through green-flag pit stops. With 17 laps to go, Cope informed the driver that he was running lap times that rivaled the top-five cars as Sadler moved back into the top 10.
A full-course caution fell on lap 80 after a two-car incident, setting up a green-white-checkered finish for the field, as Sadler moved into the ninth position. The No. 2 came down pit road for the final stop of the day for four tires and fuel. Entering his pit stall, however, Sadler exceeded the speed limit, placing the No. 2 at the tail end of the lead lap cars in 11th.
The No. 2 OneMain Financial lined up for the green-white-checkered finish and quickly moved past the No. 87 into the 10th spot. Sadler remained in the position for the final two laps of the race, bringing home his 15th top 10 of the season.
Sadler remains in the third position in the Nationwide Series Driver’s Point Standings, 24 points behind leader Stenhouse Jr., and 14 behind second place Reed Sorenson.
Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial team will head to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada Saturday for the final road-course event on the 2011 Nationwide Series schedule. ESPN will broadcast the NAPA Auto Parts 200 live at 2:30 p.m. ET with MRN beginning coverage at 2 p.m. ET.
Comments from driver Elliott Sadler:
“It was a tough race for the OneMain Financial team this week at Watkins Glen. We had a really good race car, but had to come in for an unscheduled stop when the car began overheating after getting grass on the grill. We worked hard to get back to the front, and the guys had great pit stops all day. We got a speeding penalty there at the end, which was unfortunate, but we walked away with a top-10 finish. I’m looking forward to heading to Montreal next week for our last road course of the season.”