FONTANA, Calif. (March 27, 2011)—- Rain and cold greeted the NASCAR Nationwide Series on their annual West Coast journey to Auto Club Speedway. Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 Bad Boy Buggies team fought a loose-handling race car in qualifying resulting in a 34th-place starting position. Sadler and the team came from behind and recorded their second top-five finish of 2011.
“I’m really proud of my guys,” Sadler said after the race. “We didn’t have a great practice session, but my team fought really hard and made a lot of changes. We were just a little too loose when the race started, but we worked on it all day and were able to get a solid finish.”
Mired deep in the field Sadler began to methodically work his way toward the front as the race started. Immediately he began to pass cars moving into the 27th position at the completion of lap one.
The first caution of the day flew at lap seven for debris on the front stretch. Sadler reported to the team that he was too loose but felt that the car might come to him. Crew chief Ernie Cope felt it was too early in the race to come to pit road and made the call for Sadler to stay out. Many of the leaders chose to make pit stops moving Sadler into the 11th position for the restart at lap 11.
Sadler moved into the top 10 at lap 15 and continued to make forward progress. The second caution of the event came out at lap 18 for a spin off turn four. The Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) team brought the No. 2 car down pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to aide Sadler with his loose condition. The caution waved for the third time on lap 25 as the No. 2 car moved into the seventh position. The driver was very happy with the changes made on the previous pit stop so the team opted not to come down pit road. A long green-flag run allowed Sadler to make his way into the top five by lap 48. The caution waved for the fifth time on lap 64, just as the No. 2 car was planning to come to pit road under green-flag conditions. The team hit pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment under the caution period. Sadler took the restart on lap 68 from the ninth position and began to work his way back into the top five.
Following the restart, Sadler reported to the crew that the car was much looser during this run than the last run and didn’t have the rear grip he needed to get off the corners. Despite the loose handling condition, the No. 2 car took over the sixth position on lap 85. The caution flew for the sixth time on lap 93, as the No. 51 car hit the outside retaining wall slowing the field. Sadler brought the No. 2 car down pit road for the third pit stop of the day. The team took on four tires, fuel and made an air-pressure adjustment. A solid stop by the No. 2 team placed Sadler back on the track in the sixth position for the restart on lap 96.
As the laps wound down Sadler held onto the fifth position. However, the No. 2 car was only a few laps shy of making it to the end of the race on fuel. The driver brought the car down pit road for the final time on lap 137 for four tires and fuel. Sadler battled for position among the top four cars as the race came to a close and ended the event in the fifth position.
Kyle Busch won the Royal Purple 300 followed by Carl Edwards and KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick. The No. 2 team moves up one position in the Driver’s Point standings to the seventh, 32 markers out of first. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will head to Texas Motor Speedway for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 on Friday April 8 at ¬8:30 pm, EST on ESPN 2.
March 26, 2011
Auto Club Speedway
Race: 5 of 34
Nationwide Series Point Standings: 7th (-32)
Next on the Schedule for the No. 2:
Date: April 8, 2011
Track: Texas Motor Speedway
Event Name: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300
Broadcast Time: ESPN 2, 8:30 p.m., EST PRN 8:00 p.m., EST