BRISTOL, Tenn. (Aug. 27, 2011) — Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team notched another top-10 finish for the season at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday night and gained three points in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Driver’s Point standings.
The Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) driver qualified third for Friday night’s event in, his 18th top-10 start of the season. When the green flag waved, Sadler looked to maintain consistency and have a solid points night in the 250-lap event.
After the opening laps, Sadler settled into the fourth position and held steady until lap 18 when he passed the No. 09 for the third. From the early laps, spotter Brett Griffin and crew chief Ernie Cope encouraged the driver to save fuel at every opportunity in preparation for a potential fuel-mileage race.
Sadler and KHI teammate Clint Bowyer battled for the third position as the first caution of race fell on lap 35 for a spin involving the No. 64 car. Cope opted not to pit, and the field went back to green on lap 42 with Sadler in the fourth position. The Emporia, Va., driver continued to battle inside the top five, and sat in fourth behind Bowyer on lap 82.
The field was slowed for another caution on lap 125 for an incident involving the No. 51, providing an opportunity for the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet to come down pit road. The KHI crew gave the Chevrolet four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The quick stop put the No. 2 in the fourth position for the restart on lap 132.
Another caution fell on lap 136 with Sadler in the fourth position. When the field went back to green, Sadler battled with the No. 18 of Kyle Busch for the second position. Lap traffic increased, and Sadler was shuffled back to third. The driver relayed to the crew that he was way too tight, however, the car got better on the longer runs.
The yellow flag waved for a fourth time on lap 145 as the No. 22 car spun down the track in turn two. Cope made the call not to pit and encouraged Sadler to continue to save fuel.
With 100 laps to go, Sadler restarted in the third position, but fell back to the eighth after the restart due to a tight-handling car. Another caution fell on lap 191, but Cope again opted not to pit as he and Sadler agreed that the tires were in good shape, and the car was good on fuel. Several of the front runners did make a visit to pit road during the caution which put Sadler in the third position for the lap 198 restart.
Back under green, the No. 2 slipped from the third to fifth position. Cope reiterated to continue to save fuel and protect his equipment as the laps ticked down.
With 50 laps to go, Sadler fell to the eighth position and looked to stay out of trouble on the track. Sadler would remain in the eighth position as the field took the checkered flag. With his solid performance, Sadler gained three points in the Nationwide Series Driver’s Point standings. He sits in the second position, five points out of the lead behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet team will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway next weekend for the 26th event of the season with live coverage beginning on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. and PRN at 7 p.m.
Comments from driver Elliott Sadler:
“Eighth place wasn’t exactly what we wanted tonight, because we always want the win, but what a great points night for us. The No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet was pretty fast all night, and we made the decision not to pit when the leaders did because our car was really good on the long runs. In the end, we had a solid day and gained three points in the championship standings.”