“I felt like Elliott (Sadler) had good restarts all day, and the 6 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) struggled a little big,” Elliott Sadler’s crew chief, Luke Lambert, said after Sunday’s STP 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. “I hoped that would work in our favor.”
Work in their favor it did, as Sadler held off Ricky Stenhouse Jr. on the final restart of the race with two laps to go to take the race win and the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. The restart push from third-place runner Justin Allgaier didn’t hurt.
“I knew we had to get a good restart there,” Sadler said in victory lane. “I knew Justin Allgaier had to push me and push me straight.”
Stenhouse finished second to Sadler after dominating the race. He started from the pole, but lost the lead for brief moments of time at the start of the race and again on a restart following the first caution of the race on lap 50 of the 200-lap event.
He got shuffled back to the 10th position when a yellow flag caught him back in the field right after a green-flag pit stop with about 33 laps to go.
“Cautions just didn’t fall our way,” Stenhouse said.
When the race went back to green, Stenhouse drove toward the front like he was on a mission, getting up to the runner-up spot with 16 laps to go. He was gaining on Sadler, then the race leader, when the yellow flag waved for the final time with under 10 laps to go.
With Sadler’s cushion erased, he and Stenhouse restarted side-by-side up front with two laps to go. Sadler got a push from Allgaier on the restart to get out front and drive on to the win.
“The 2 got a heck of a push from the 31, there,” Stenhouse said.
Kenny Wallace relived his past with a fourth-place finish.
“That’s just shadows of the past,” Wallace said of his top-five. “That’s the Hermanator.”
As the top-four-finishing series regulars, Sadler, Stenhouse, Allgaier and Wallace qualified to race for the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus to be awarded next weekend at Indianaplis Motor Speedway.
Michael Annett rounded out the top-five.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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