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NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver Elliott Sadler leads by example in Daytona 500 qualifying race

DAYTONA BEACH — Elliott Sadler was going to be out of the No. 19 Dodge until the threat of legal action assured his place this season at Richard Petty Motor- sports. A.J. Allmendinger, who was to take over the car, was likely going to be out of the Daytona 500 Sunday until Sadler coasted back in their 150-mile qualifying race Thursday and helped draft his teammate into a transfer position.

"You've got to be a man about these things," Sadler said of the offseason turmoil. "Kasey Kahne is the flagship driver of Richard Petty Motorsports. But I'm the most experienced, oldest … been here the longest … if I don't lead by example and set good ways for the drivers to go by, who will?

"A lot of times you have to … race what's good for you and your company."

Sadler, whose car was guaranteed a Daytona 500 berth by being in the final top 35 in owner points, swooped back to bump-draft Allmendinger — who needed to race his way in — when he was abandoned in the draft.

Sadler said he and Allmendinger talked through their potentially awkward situation soon after their motor coaches were parked side by side in the driver lot.

BACK IN: The top two cars from the Budweiser Shootout will be utilized in the Daytona 500. Teams generally use their Daytona 500 backups as their Shootout primaries, and winner Kevin Harvick and runnerup Jamie McMurray had to make switches after incidents in Daytona 500 practice this week.

Both cars go to the back of the field, not a major issue for Harvick, who was to start 32nd.

All teams were allowed by special Daytona 500 procedure to switch engines after the 150-mile qualifying races. McMurray was fastest (46.986 seconds, 191.546 mph) Friday in the lone practice session.

Six drivers, including Kyle Busch (who starts fourth Sunday) and Denny Hamlin (10th), didn't practice. Busch briefly practiced in the No. 20 Toyota of rookie teammate Joey Logano, likely to help him set up the car before his first 500 start.

Nationwide pole: Harvick won the pole for today's Camping World 300, edging Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer. Harvick turned a lap at 180.799 mph in a Chevrolet.

IDOL CHATTER: Tony Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet bears a sticker reading "Heroes Drive Us" with a logo and signature of his boyhood idol, A.J. Foyt. The four-time Indianapolis 500-winner has been at Daytona this week watching Stewart debut his Sprint Cup team.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver Elliott Sadler leads by example in Daytona 500 qualifying race 02/13/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 13, 2009 9:09pm]
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