JOLIET, Ill. (Sept. 18, 2011) - Elliott Sadler drove the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish Saturday afternoon in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Sadler and the Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) team competed toward the front of the field for the entire race, creating a two-point gain in the Driver’s Point standings andmoving the driver 14 points from the lead.
On a brisk afternoon at the Joliet, Ill., track, Sadler took the green flag from the fifth position for the 200-lap event. The driver was shuffled on the restart to the sixth position and narrowly avoided the No. 20 car as it spun on the backstretch, bringing the first caution of the day on lap seven.
The field went back to green on lap 11 with Sadler in the fifth position. The driver didn’t waste much time moving forward, passing the No. 11 car for the fourth position and on lap 20, the No. 18 car for third.
Sadler continued to show speed as he passed KHI teammate Paul Menard in the No. 33 Chevrolet for the second position by lap 42.
The second caution of the day fell on lap 46 for debris with Sadler running in the second position. As the field slowed, the driver relayed to the crew that the car was loose on entry and he needed more rear grip. Crew chief Ernie Cope called the OneMain Financial Chevrolet down pit road for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustment on lap 48.
The field resumed green-flag racing on lap 51 with Sadler in the third position. As the driver settled into the run, he reported that the No. 2 was still too loose and fell to the fourth position on lap 60.
The final caution of the day fell on lap 65 as the No. 30 car hit the wall in turn four. As the leaders came down pit road, Cope called the No. 2 to pit with Sadler in the fourth position. The KHI crew added fuel and made a quick chassis adjustment, and the OneMain Financial Chevrolet restarted on lap 70 in the fourth position.
By lap 91, the No. 2 machine was the fastest car on the track and moved into the third position. The OneMain Financial Chevrolet continued to turn lap times faster than any other car in the field and battled around the track in the third position as the race approached the halfway mark.
The field began to make scheduled green-flag stops on lap 114, and Cope instructed Sadler to come down pit road on lap 117 for four tires and fuel. As the field cycled through the green-flag stops, Sadler moved into the second position and started to run down the leader by lap 126.
The No. 11 car began to apply pressure on the No. 2 for the second position and passed Sadler on lap 138. After moving into third, Sadler reported that he lost front grip with the adjustments made on the green-flag stop. By lap 140, the No, 60 car maneuvered past the driver, sending the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet to fourth. Not able to hold on to the spot, Sadler fell to the fifth position on lap 145 as the No. 12 car passed him.
Despite losing the front grip of the car, Sadler was the fastest car on the track by lap 166 and continued to battle in the top five. Cope called the No. 2 Chevrolet to pit road for the final stop of the race for four fresh tires and fuel. The quick stop put the No. 2 on track in the fifth position as the field cycled through the second round of green-flag stops.
Back on track Sadler reported that the adjustments from the last stop made his Chevrolet too tight. The driver tried to hold off the No. 12 car, but fell to the sixth position on lap 184. Sadler continued to race hard and run lap times as quick as the leader, but was unable to catch the top-five cars and crossed the finish line sixth. The finish marks the driver’s 20th top-10 finish of the season. The strong performance also gained Sadler two points in the Driver’s Points standings where he sits second, 14 points behind leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
After an open weekend in the Nationwide Series schedule, the No. 2 OneMain Financial team returns to action on Oct. 1 for the OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway. Coverage begins on MRN at 3 p.m.ET and ESPN 2 at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Comments from driver Elliott Sadler:
“Today was a solid top-10 finish for the No.2 OneMain Financial team. Not the finish we were looking for, we want the win, but our team continues to make gains each week. We gained two points on the Driver’s Points standings, and with six races to go, we know every point counts. We had a strong car all weekend, and it was fast from start to finish, but after the last stop, we were tight. We have a big weekend coming up after our off-weekend as OneMain Financial is sponsoring the event at Dover International Speedway for the OneMain Financial 200. It’s going to be an exciting event for us to be a part of, and I’m thrilled for the weekend. Our team will get some downtime this upcoming weekend, and we will be back at it in Dover.”