NXS: New Team, No Problem; Elliott Sadler Brings Home Top-Five in Daytona Opener

Kyle Magda Featured, NASCAR, Southeast 0 Comments

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Report by Race Chaser Online Northeast Correspondent Kyle Magda — Sean Gardner/Getty Images North America photo —

Once again, Elliott Sadler positioned himself to snag his second career restrictor-plate victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Daytona International Speedway.

But once again, it just didn’t quite work out.

After coming second in last summer’s race there, Sadler sniffed the lead on the final lap until JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott powered to the outside of the No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet with a push from defending Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano down the back straightaway.

“We were in position and that’s all we can ask for,” Sadler said after climbing from his car. “I was going down the back straightaway when Chase pulled up and had a pretty good run going, but the 6 (Darrell Wallace Jr.) just wasn’t able to push me as fast as the 22 (Logano) could push the 88 (Elliott), so we were in position and that’s all you can ask for.”

Sadler brought home a fourth-place finish in his JRM debut, with two of his three teammates — Elliott (win) and Kasey Kahne (third) — just ahead of him at the finish. The fourth JRM Chevrolet, driven by Justin Allgaier, finished 12th.

JRM announced in October that the team was joining forces with Sadler to contend for the 2016 XFINITY championship. A strong-qualifying effort on Saturday morning in Daytona placed him 10th on the starting grid, allowing him to work with teammates Kasey Kahne and eventual race winner Elliott during the race.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am and everybody back at JR Motorsports. This team built me such a great race car. We put so much effort into this deal and Dale and Kelley gave me a great opportunity. We have so many people here from OneMain and so many fans of this sport have been with this company such a long time here to support us.”

The final laps of Saturday’s race appeared to be the [Chase] Elliott and Elliott [Sadler] show when the two worked together to keep the top two spots as the white flag waved. But, again, it just didn’t quite work out that way.

Unofficially, Sadler leaves Daytona with the series points lead, with his former Roush-Fenway Racing teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. sitting three markers behind. The top-three finishers in the race were all ineligible to get points since they run (Elliott, Joey Logano and Kahne) full-time in the Sprint Cup Series.

This is the first time Elliott Sadler has led the XFINITY Series points standings since September 2012 while running with Richard Childress Racing and it comes as JR Motorsports begins the quest to claim their second drivers title after Elliott’s rookie campaign in 2014 resulted in the heavy hardware.

“Very proud of this race team, that’s a strong run right here out of the box.”

Sadler heads next to Atlanta Motor Speedway with his No. 1 OneMain Financial team. The 40-year-old veteran and two-time XFINITY championship runner-up has a best finish of fourth at 1.54-mile Georgia track.

 

About the Writer

Kyle Magda is a Northeast Correspondent for Race Chaser Online and a co-host of both Motorsports Madness and the Stock Car Steel/SRI Motorsports Show, airing at 7 p.m. ET on Monday and Thursday nights, respectively, on the Performance Motorsports Network. Magda broke into racing in mid-2001 as the sport’s tide was beginning to change towards the current modern-era formula, but still has an affinity for the history of NASCAR’s earlier days.

The 22-year-old is a graduate of Penn State University and can be found traveling to numerous tracks across the country, covering everything from NASCAR and the ARCA Racing Series to the UNOH All-Stars Circuit of Champions and the Super Cup Stock Car Series.

Email Kyle at: kmagda@ptd.net

Follow on Twitter: @KyleMagda

Email Race Chaser Online: news@racechaseronline.com

Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews

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