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Sadler, Stenhouse Jr. take their title fight to Richmond

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. are making things really interesting in the Nationwide Series championship battle.

With nine races to go, Sadler holds just a 12-point lead over Stenhouse. Sam Hornish Jr. is 32 points out of the lead, while rookie Austin Dillon trails by 37.

Stenhouse, the defending Nationwide champion, trimmed seven points from Sadler's lead after winning last Saturday's race at Atlanta. The series is now heading to Richmond, where Stenhouse hopes his winning momentum will continue.

"We're coming off a huge win at Atlanta," he said. "Richmond is a fun track to race, because it is the typical short track racing. We have been fast there in the past but have come up short. Hopefully. we can get our first back-to-back win."

Stenhouse has been on a roll lately, finishing no worse than 12th in the last 11 races. Atlanta marked his fourth win of the year, which is two more than he scored during his championship season in 2011.

Sadler has three wins this year, but a victory at Richmond on Friday night would be a very special one for him. It's his home race.

"I say this every year, but there is no place I would rather win than Richmond International Raceway," said Sadler, who hails from nearby Emporia, Va. "It is my home track, and I have so many memories there as a fan and as a driver."

Sadler's best finish in 18 Nationwide races at Richmond is second, which came in May 2005. He has placed sixth in his last two starts there.

Stenhouse has posted three top-five finishes in five Nationwide starts at this 0.75-mile racetrack. He finished third there one year ago and placed fourth in April.

Hornish finished fifth and Dillon ninth at Richmond earlier this year.

Worldwide action sports icon Travis Pastrana made his Nationwide debut at Richmond in the spring. Pastrana drove the No. 99 Toyota for RAB Racing, which formed an alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing. He will compete at Richmond this time as driver of the No. 60 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.

"We had our best finish at Indy and led our first laps (last) weekend in Atlanta, so I'm excited to get back to Richmond and build on that success and see what I can do behind the wheel of a Roush Fenway Ford," Pastrana said.

Ryan Blaney also made his first Nationwide start in the Richmond spring race. Blaney, the 18-year-old son of NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney, drove the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet to an impressive seventh-place finish. He is slated to drive the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge. Brad Keselowski has been behind the wheel of the No. 22 car in most Nationwide races this season.

Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are those Sprint Cup Series regulars competing in this race. Busch is driving the No. 54 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He gave KBM its first Nationwide win at Richmond earlier this year.

Forty-six teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Virginia 529 College Savings 250.

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, September 7. Race: Virginia 529 College Savings 250. Site: Richmond International Raceway. Track: 0.75-mile oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m.(ET). Laps: 250. Miles: 187.5. 2011 Winner: Kyle Busch. Television: ESPN. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.

09/05 23:02:00 ET

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