Sadler heads to Bristol with a lot of optimism
Bristol, TN (Sports Network) - Elliott Sadler will attempt to win the Nationwide Series spring race at Bristol for the second year in a row, but he will do so with a new team.
Sadler drove the No. 2 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing last year, finishing second to champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the point standings, but after the season concluded, Sadler moved over to Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the No. 11 Toyota.
After three races, Sadler is tied with Justin Allgaier and Brian Scott for second in points. Sam Hornish Jr. won last Saturday's race at Las Vegas and built a 19-point lead in the series.
Sadler began the season with a 15th-place finish at Daytona and then placed fifth at both Phoenix and Las Vegas.
"I think one thing I've learned from my experience as a race car driver is to try to get off to a good, solid start to kind of get the year going," Sadler said. "You've got to get some momentum on your side, and we were close at Daytona. We led a lot and ran up front a lot. We got in two wrecks at the end and knew we had to go to Phoenix and Vegas and managed some really good finishes there; and had some good, solid days to try to get some momentum on our side.
"We find ourselves going into probably three of my best racetracks here with Bristol coming up, California and Texas, places that I've won with all in the Cup cars."
Sadler, who hails from Emporia, Va., has two wins, six top-10 finishes and one pole in 12 Nationwide starts at Bristol. He has finished no worse than eighth in the last five races here. Sadler's first win in the Sprint Cup Series came at this half-mile oval in March 2001.
"Bristol Motor Speedway has always been special to me, because I attended races there as a fan when I was a kid," he said. "My dad would take us, and I used to sit in those stands and dream about winning a race there. To be able to race there years later, winning a race early in my Nationwide Series career in 1998 and win my first-career Sprint Cup Series race in 2001 was special."
Pit strategy paid off for Sadler at Bristol one year ago. He was the only driver on the lead lap that opted not to pit during the last caution period. Sadler took the lead with 36 laps remaining and then held off Sprint Cup regular Kasey Kahne with 27 laps to go. Sadler beat Kahne to the finish line by just over a second.
"Winning at Bristol last March was definitely one of my favorite moments of my career," Sadler said. "I was able to celebrate in victory lane with my parents for the first time. It is one of those moments that I will never forget."
Forty-three teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 300. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski are those Sprint Cup regulars scheduled to compete in this race.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, March 10. Race: Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips 300. Site: Bristol Motor Speedway. Track: 0.533-mile oval. Start time: 2 p.m. ET. Laps: 300. Miles: 159.9. 2012 Winner: Elliott Sadler. Television: ESPN2. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.
03/14 15:20:55 ET