Looking for his first-career Nationwide Series win at his home track, Elliott Sadler started the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway from the 14th position in the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota.
Strapped in for 250 laps around the Virginia short track, Sadler moved into the top 10 on lap 21 and when the first caution of the race was displayed on lap 25, Sadler radioed his team that he was “too tight getting to the center and loose off.” After an extended clean up and brief red flag, Sadler pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments to help with the handling of the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota. The race restarted on lap 40 with Sadler in the 18th position.
Quickly moving through the field, Sadler moved back into the top 10 on lap 46 and cracked the top five on lap 75.
With the race continuing under green, Sadler was able to move into the lead on lap 89 before the caution waved on lap 100. Sadler pitted for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. The race restarted on lap 106 with Sadler leading the field back to green before slipping to second on lap 107.
Radioing the team that he was “tight in the center and free on exit,” Sadler was able to take advantage of the caution on lap 151 to pit from the third position for four tires, fuel and a track-bar and air-pressure adjustment. With another solid stop by the Sport Clips crew, Sadler maintained his position to restart the race on lap 156 from third.
Continuing to run in the third spot, Sadler made his final stop of the race on lap 192 for fresh tires, fuel and another round of adjustments to help with the handling of the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota. Gaining one position on pit road, Sadler restarted the race from the second position on lap 196.
Slipping to seventh by lap 201, Sadler radioed the team that the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota was hitting the splitter and was tight in the middle. With multiple cautions over the final 50 laps, Sadler was able to gain one position to cross the finish line in the sixth position in his 20th-career Nationwide Series start in front of his home crowd.
Sadler gained two positions in the Championship Point Standings to fifth, 35 points out of the lead.
Elliott Sadler’s Post Race Thoughts: “We just got on the splitter a little too hard there at the end and these cars, when you get on the splitter too hard it’s just hard to make the front tires turn. Proud of my guys, we led some laps. Great pit stops — it’s just when you get on the splitter too hard it’s hard to stay up there with those guys. Not the finish we wanted, but we made some gains today during the race and made some good adjustments and we will move forward from there.”