Sadler holds on, wins at Chicagoland
JOLIET, ILL. Elliott Sadler spent most of the week in bed with a stomach virus, and wasn’t able to eat anything beyond a single biscuit Sunday morning.
As weak as Sadler felt, there was no way he was giving up his seat.
Sadler brushed off questions from team owner Richard Childress about a potential replacement driver, then held off a charge by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on a green-white-checker finish to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.
Was there a pride factor in toughing it out?
“You’re damn right,” Sadler said. “I told Richard yesterday, I was like, ‘I can handle this.’”
Childress said he thought about putting a backup driver in place as an insurance policy, but understood why Sadler didn’t want to give up the wheel.
“I’ve seen drivers when it gets down to it, that’s worse than giving your wife away, I think,” Childress said.
Childress then sheepishly apologized to Sadler’s wife, who was sitting off to the side in the postrace interview room.
Explaining why it was so important to tough it out, Sadler proudly noted that he threw up three times in his helmet during a race earlier in his career.
“It was a big-time pride thing today to stay in the car and do what I felt like I needed to do to be competitive,” Sadler said.
Stenhouse finished second, followed by Justin Allgaier, Kenny Wallace and Michael Annett.
Wallace’s car was found to be too light in postrace inspection. NASCAR officials are expected to determine any penalties early this week.
Stenhouse appeared to have the stronger car and was chasing down Sadler in the closing laps of the race. But a late caution bunched up the field for NASCAR’s version of overtime, Sadler got a push from Allgaier on the restart and pulled away.
It was the third win of the season for Sadler, who has eight Nationwide victories in his career. Sadler won at Phoenix and Bristol earlier this season.
He leads the series standings by 11 points over Austin Dillon, who finished sixth.
Sunday’s race drew a sparse crowd, although no official attendance figure was released. The Sprint Cup Series was off this weekend and will resume racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next week.
Castroneves wins in Edmonton
Helio Castroneves has tightened up the IndyCar Series points race by winning at Edmonton, Alberta. Castroneves had to hold off Takuma Sato over the final 15 laps of Sunday’s race to pick up his second win of the season.
It pushed Castroneves to second in the standings, and he trails leader Ryan Hunter-Reay by 23 points with four races remaining. Power finished third, but lost a spot to his Penske Racing teammate in the standings.
Still, Power cut his deficit in the standings from 35 points to 26 behind Hunter-Reay. Sato was second, Power third and Graham Rahal and Alex Tagliani rounded out the top five.
Hunter-Reay finished seventh.