Elliott Sadler wins at Talladega
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Most of Elliott Sadler's memories of Talladega Superspeedway are unpleasant. They either involve a horrific 2003 crash in which his car flipped several times and slid forever through the grass on its roof, or many different ways he'd come up empty racing for a win.
Finally, he has a victory that tops all those other disappointments.
"Everybody always asks me about flipping at Talladega," Sadler said in Victory Lane. "Now we won one at Talladega, man, this feels a lot better."
Sadler won a three-lap shootout to the checkered flag in the Nationwide Series race.
The race Saturday was stopped for a little more than nine minutes to clean the track following a six-car accident that began when Jeremy Clement was turning into an outside wall and his car shot back into traffic.
Sadler reflected on many of his previous races during the stoppage.
"Under the red flag, I was playing all these scenarios in my head," Sadler said. "Really, how many races I've lost in the last couple laps not making the right decisions."
There were three laps remaining on the restart, and Sadler had to throw several blocks to hold off a charge from the pack of traffic behind him.
It was the 10th Nationwide Series victory of Sadler's career, first at Talladega, and first win since 2012.
"We just stayed to the bottom and stuck to our guns," said Sadler, who went winless last season in his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing.
"I was disappointed last year we weren't able to do it. It means a lot to me to get the JGR team to Victory Lane -- they work their butts off and we weren't able to reward them."
Chris Buescher finished second and Regan Smith, winner of last year's race, was third. Sadler's win ended a three-race winning streak for JR Motorsports, which picked up victories from Chase Elliott at Texas and Darlington and Kevin Harvick last week at Richmond.
"We couldn't keep the JR Motorsports winning streak alive, but there's a lot of races left," Smith said. Elliott, who finished 19th, maintained his lead as the Nationwide points leader. But Sadler's victory pulled him to just one point behind Elliott.
David Ragan finished fourth and was followed by Sam Hornish Jr., making his first race since losing the Nationwide title by three points last season. Hornish has a seven-race deal with JGR and made his debut by winning the pole in Friday qualifying.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press
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