• With his third-place finish in the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, Elliott Sadler won the first installment of Nationwide Insurance’s Dash 4 Cash program, winning the $100,000 Nationwide Insurance bonus and qualifying for round two of four next week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
• Before taking the green flag for 100-scheduled laps around the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Sadler reported to his Sport Clips team that his cooling unit was blowing hot air. Sadler would go the entire race with no cooling unit, taking extra bottles of water under each pit stop to help with cooling his body on the hot summer night.
• Starting the Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona from the ninth position, Sadler quickly found a dancing partner and moved into fourth place by lap two. Taking part in the two-car tandem, Sadler was a part of an eight car break away early in the race.
• As the race continued caution free, the field began to make green-flag pit stops around lap 30. Pitting on the same lap as his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, the two pitted on lap 35. The team changed four tires and filled the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota with fuel, sending Sadler back on track with Busch.
• Running in the eighth position, the first caution of the race waved on lap 47 for debris. Happy with the handling of his Toyota, Sadler and crew chief Chris Gayle made the call to come to pit road for fuel only. The race restarted on lap 52 with Sadler and the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota team in the fourth position.
• With help from Kurt Busch, Sadler took the lead on lap 53 and with close racing and multiple tandems, would move around in the top 15 over the next long green-flag run before the caution waved again on lap 70.
• Sadler made his final stop of the race on lap 74 from the sixth position for two right-side tires and fuel. When the race restarted on lap 77, Sadler and the No. 11 Sport Clips Toyota team were scored in the fifth spot.
• Falling to 13th on lap 82, Sadler became concerned about his Toyota Camry running too hot. Keeping a close eye on the temperatures and being reminded by his team that he needed to take care of his car to finish the race for a good point’s day, Sadler slipped to 16th on lap 83. He would soon find a dancing partner to push him toward the front and moved back into the top 10 on lap 87.
• A quick caution on lap 89 slowed the field for a few laps before a big wreck on lap 95 forced NASCAR to display the red flag, stopping teams on the backstretch for clean-up from the wreck. Following the red flag, the race was restarted on lap 99 forcing the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
• With a three-lap shootout to the checkered flag, Sadler was again paired with Kurt Busch as the two made their way to the front of the field. As the field took the checkered flag, Sadler was scored in the third position and with the finish, took the honors of winning the first Dash 4 Cash race.
• Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth won the race followed by James Buescher, Sadler, Kurt Busch and Austin Dillon.
What was your strategy on the final restart? “Well, Kyle Busch is so good at this stuff. We were trying to figure out if it was better for me to get up in front of him or him get down in front of me and then NASCAR changed the lineup somehow, someway and they put the 54 (Kyle Busch) behind us and then we were just kind of stuck on the bottom. (Sam) Hornish gave me a little bit of a push and then left me out and I was like, ‘Man, I’m bottom three-wide. We are in trouble.’ But, Kurt Busch — Cole Trickle — picked us up and pushed us here to the finish. Great run for our guys. I’m so happy to win this ‘Dash for Cash’ and cannot wait to get home to see my family. I’m looking forward to getting home to see them.”
How was your race? “I’m very happy about our performance tonight. You know, what Nationwide Insurance does for our series — this ‘Dash for Cash’ stuff is a great program. I’m not talking about just the extra money they’re putting on the table. Like tonight we had an in-car camera and stuff in our car and that brings a lot of exposure to our race team. It brings a lot of exposure to our sponsors. This is a big, big program for our series. And for those guys to do it four weeks in a row and bring that much attention to our racing, that means a lot to me, that means a lot to our owners and that means a ton to our sponsors. For us to be able to be a part of it — this is the third year in a row that I’ve won at least one of these ‘Dash for Cashes’ and now we’re eligible for New Hampshire so we’re looking forward to going up there and seeing if we can’t make it two in a row.”
-Joe Gibbs Racing PR