Elliot Sadler Wins Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega
JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Race 9 of 33: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway
Track Specs: 2.66-mile tri-oval / 116 laps
Weather: Sunny; 82 degrees
Race Winner: Elliott Sadler
Sadler’s Finish: 1st
Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 1 OneMain Chevrolet, took home the victory in Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race at Talladega Superspeedway. The win, Sadler’s first with JR Motorsports and 11th in NXS competition, puts him back atop the series points standings.
Talladega Superspeedway is best known for tight bumper-to-bumper pack-racing as well as crazy finishes, and it definitely lived up to its hype today. Sadler knew that the OneMain Chevrolet was fast and he would prove it as he started the race from the ninth position and advanced to the fourth position in only 10 laps. The move all but cemented Sadler among the top five, where he displayed his restrictor-plate prowess for the bulk of the race.
A competition caution would fly over the high-banked speedway on lap 20 and the OneMain car took fuel only. The yellow flag would fly five more times throughout the afternoon, and fortunately, Sadler avoided being involved in any of the accidents. He brought his OneMain Camaro down pit road on lap 75 for right-side tires and fuel only, marking the last time Sadler would see pit road before crossing it to go to victory lane.
The final caution at lap 111 set the stage for a Green-White-Checkered finish at Talladega. Sadler restarted the race from the third position and would have JRM teammate Justin Allgaier behind him to help push. Coming down to the final lap, Sadler had to find a way to get around the 22 car of Joey Logano, who was leading the field. While Logano was attempting to block the outside line on their run, Sadler was able to get a nose under 22. Mayhem ensued when the 22 started wrecking and the OneMain Camaro was forced down into the grass on the front stretch, all while the yellow flag waved. After a lengthy review by NASCAR, it was determined that the No. 1 was leading the race when the caution lights came on, thus awarding Sadler his second NXS victory at Talladega. With the victory comes the spoils and Sadler has now locked the OneMain Chevrolet into the NXS Chase for the Championship.
The victory was JRM’s second consecutive win for the team after owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. won last week at Richmond. It also stands as JRM’s third win in 2016, 29th organizational triumph and second victory at Talladega Superspeedway. The team now has five restrictor-plate wins to its credit. Sadler also became the 10th driver to win an NXS event for JRM. Additionally, Kevin Meendering earned his first win as a crew chief.
Justin Allgaier, Brennan Poole, Jeremy Clements, and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top-five.
Elliott Sadler, driver No. 1 OneMain Chevrolet
"Holy cow! So many emotions and stories going through my head right now. There were so many different reasons we wanted to win the race today. To have my kids and my wife with me today in victory lane was very special. The last three days I felt like I had to win this race and I told Kevin (Meendering, crew chief) earlier in the week that we were either going to win or bring the car back in pieces. To be locked in the Chase, it’s going to open us up to where we can take some chances and try some things. Dale Jr. gave me a great opportunity to come race with a great team. We had so many folks here today from OneMain, who is the longest running sponsor in the Xfinity Series, and they have stuck with us through thick and thin. It was great having them here in victory lane to share this win.”
Congratulations again to JR Motorsports! Let's keep the streak going!