Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

Elliott Sadler wins Nationwide race

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Most of Elliott Sadler's memories of Talladega Superspeedway are unpleasant.

They involve a horrific 2003 crash in which his car flipped several times and slid forever through the grass on its roof and many other different ways he had come up empty racing for a win.

Finally, he has a victory amid all those disappointments.

"I have such a love-hate relationship with this racetrack. We always run good here, but I always doggone flip or wreck or hit hard or something," Sadler said after winning Saturday's Nationwide race at NASCAR's longest track. "Every autograph session, everywhere I go, everybody always reminds me of the flip I had down the back straightaway here. Now maybe they can ask me about winning here."

Sadler won a three-lap shootout to the checkered flag in the Aaron's 312.

The race was stopped for a little more than nine minutes to clean the track after a six-car accident that began when Jeremy Clement was turned sideways 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 … how many races I've lost in the last couple laps not making the right decisions," he said.

Three laps were left on the restart, and Sadler had to throw several blocks to hold off a charge from the trailing pack.

It was Sadler's 10th victory in NASCAR's second-tier series.

"We just stayed to the bottom and stuck to our guns," he said of his strategy. "We made the right blocks at the right time."

Chris Buescher finished second, and Regan Smith, winner of last year's race, was third. Sadler ended a three-race winning streak for JR Motorsports, which picked up two victories from points leader Chase Elliott last month and Kevin Harvick last week at Richmond.

Sadler is a point behind Elliott in the standings.

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