A week after he felt robbed of a potential victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Elliott Sadler rebounded Saturday night at Iowa Speedway with his fourth win of the NASCAR Nationwide Series season.
Sadler was judged to have jumped the last restart at IMS and had to serve a drive through penalty as a result. He rallied to 15th, but went to the NASCAR transporter after the race with team owner Richard Childress to argue their case, ultimately to no avail.
In Iowa, Sadler took the lead with 58 laps remaining with a pass on Justin Allgaier through Turns 1 and 2, and wouldn't relinquish it the rest of the day. As there were no further cautions, there was no repeat of last week's episode.
An elated Sadler on the radio exclaimed, “They are not taking that championship from me!” as a play off his radio transmission a week ago when he said “Man, they're just trying to take this championship away from me.”
The points elaborated exactly on what that meant in victory lane.
“It's been a tough week – we should have won last week,” he said. “My dad had knee surgery, but he gave me the best advice. He told me, ‘Do not let them take this championship. Go win it.' We got a lot of help from Austin Dillon's bunch. And they're gonna have to take it from us. I'm driving with a lot of confidence.”
The win gave Childress his second win of the day, as Childress' Joey Coulter won the Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono earlier Saturday. Childress attended both.
Allgaier was second, still shy of his first win of the year, while Sam Hornish Jr.'s third place won him Nationwide's $100,000 “Dash for cash” sweepstakes on the night. The fan associated with him, Tammy Altieri, broke down into tears as she has a special needs child with the funds available for support.
Hornish, one of only a handful of drivers running in both the Nationwide race in Iowa and Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono this weekend (under the extenuating circumstances he's been placed into), felt relieved at another good run.
“We felt we had a good car in qualifying,” Hornish said. “I wasn't exactly sure if we could do this. We're trying to get points. We'll get our day soon if we keep finishing like this.”
Michael Annett and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. completed the top five, the latter who was seeking his third straight Iowa Speedway NNS win.
A host of youngsters early in their careers finished well; part-timers Michael McDowell (sixth), Darrell Wallace, Jr. (seventh), Brett Moffitt (ninth) and Ryan Blaney (tenth) all recorded top-10 finishes. Danica Patrick and Johanna Long also turned in good results in 11th and 13th, respectively.
Sadler leads Austin Dillon, who finished 15th, by 18 points with Stenhouse third, 21 back. The series hits road courses for the next two weeks, Watkins Glen next Saturday and Montreal the Saturday after that.