SPEEDWAY, Ind. — A chaotic sequence of pit stops coming to the end of the second stage of Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 handed polesitter Elliott Sadler a surprise stage victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After a restart with eight laps to go in the stage saw his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier jump out to the lead after pushing Joey Logano forward, Sadler made a snap decision to stay out in hopes of capturing the stage win, a decision that was rewarded when the caution flag flew with two laps to go before the stage break.
Allgaier was the first to pit, coming to three to go in the stage, but left before the right front wheel was completely tight on his No. 7 Breyers Chevrolet, causing heavy damage to the right-front corner of the car as he attempted to return to the race track as the wheel flopped around before being pinned at an angle underneath the fender.
Ultimately Allgaier stopped at the bottom of Turn 2, drawing the caution flag just after Busch had made his way to pit road and Sadler had taken the point.
The stage win was Sadler’s fifth of the season.
“I think we’ve been seeing a lot closer racing this year than in the past couple of years,” Sadler said. “This is a gamble I took; my crew chief told me to pit early. I thought we could stay out and get a stage win. It’s all on me; I put it on my shoulders. They gave me a great car, and now I have to drive my butt off to get it back to the front.”
Chevrolet drivers rolled through the top five, with Brennan Poole, Daniel Hemric, Brendan Gaughan and Brandon Jones following Sadler to the line under caution.
Ross Chastain, Ben Kennedy, J.J. Yeley, Ryan Sieg and Jeremy Clements completed the points scoring drivers in the top 10.
Two additional incidents slowed the pace during the second stage. The first was a multi-car incident at lap 38, when Ryan Sieg and Tyler Reddick spun in Turn 3 after Sieg was turned around by Spencer Gallagher, while Garrett Smithley spun on lap 49 to set up the dash to the stage break.