Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 Hunt Brothers Pizza team brought home the win Sunday evening at Chicagoland Speedway, collecting the team's third NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the 2012 season.
After battling an illness leading into the race weekend and starting from the 15th position, Sadler worked his way around the 1.5-mile track and into the top 10 by lap 14. The Richard Childress Racing driver reported to the team that the No. 2 Chevrolet was lacking side-bite, and the condition worsened as the cloud cover dissipated and the track became slicker.
At the halfway marker of the 200-lap event, Sadler moved into the fifth position, but reported that the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet was too loose as he fell to the eighth spot. The driver continued to pick off positions until a one-car spin brought out the caution flag on lap 128. Lambert called the driver down pit road to alleviate the loose-handling condition with four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, and the driver lined up to restart eighth.
A quick restart catapulted Sadler into the third position, and Sadler moved into the top spot on lap 165, distancing himself from the field until a caution with seven laps remaining slowed the team's pace. Lambert and Sadler discussed strategy as the field prepared for a green-white-checkered finish. Sadler chose the bottom line for the restart and held onto the lead despite challenges from his competitors on the restart, earning his third checkered flag of the season.
The win also earned Sadler the $100,000 Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash bonus, beating out Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sam Hornish Jr. and RCR teammate Austin Dillon. Sadler qualifies for an additional $100,000 bonus at the next Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 28.
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTE
"Man, what a day. I have been sick with a bug for the past three days, but this win makes me feel a lot better. It feels so good to be able to be in Victory Lane for the third time this season, and it is great to be able to get Hunt Brothers Pizza a win. We knew we had a good car on the long runs, but we knew we had work to do on the short runs. Luke [Lambert] made a great call at the end with adjustments, and at the end of the day, it was all about track position, and our car was really fast out front. I'm really proud of my guys, who stuck with me knowing that I wasn't feeling great all weekend. I'm a little worn out, but I'd rather be worn out in Victory Lane than anywhere else."