Elliott Sadler and the Textron Off Road Wildcat XX team ran their race, finishing third in the Kansas Lottery 300 on Saturday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. With the strong finish, Sadler was able to claim his 14th top five of the season, now only one top-five finish away from tying his career-best of 15 in one season. Following the 300-mile event, the No. 1 team jumps to second in the NXS playoff standings— only nine points behind the leader with two races remaining in the Round of 8.
After advancing into the third and final round of knockout qualifying, Sadler took the green flag in 11th at the 1.5-mile speedway. With the help of his spotter Brett Griffin, Sadler was able to avoid two multi-car incidents in the opening laps of the event. Once the field was able to log consecutive laps, the Textron Off Road Wildcat XX driver was able to report tight handling of his No. 1 Chevrolet. With his racing experience, the veteran driver was able to drive through the tough-handling condition and into the top five by the stage end. At the conclusion of Stage One, the Textron Off Road Wildcat XX team was in fifth place.
Just prior to Stage Two, the No. 1 Chevrolet came to pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. With a longer stop for the changes, Sadler restarted for the second stage in 12th place. It didn’t take long however, for the Textron Off Road Wildcat XX team to reenter the top 10 as the adjustments improved the handling of their Camaro for Sadler. By the lap-58 caution, the team was in the eighth-place running position. Sadler remained on track and later found himself racing teammate Tyler Reddick for the fourth position on lap 63. As the stage continued, the Virginia native once again came over the radio to relay he was tight driving through the center of the turns. When the stage ended on lap 90, Sadler had completed the pass, earning a fourth-place finish.
Under the stage-ending caution, the Textron Off Road Wildcat XX Chevrolet came to pit road for fresh tires, fuel and another adjustment. Sadler then began the final stage in fifth place. Shortly thereafter, the No. 1 team began to report quick lap times to their driver who was running in the fourth position. As the field remained green, crew chief Kevin Meendering called Sadler down pit road for a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 150. When the green-flag stops cycled through, the Textron Off Road Wildcat XX team remained in the fourth position. On lap 163, the final caution of the day was displayed. This time, Meendering made a last second two-tire call for right-side tires, putting Sadler on the front row for the restart. Sadler restarted strong, taking over the lead for two laps before two cars with four fresh tires made their way past the No. 1 Chevrolet. When the checkered flag waved on lap 200, the Textron Off Road Wildcat XX Chevrolet was in third place. Sadler was the second highest driver of the playoff contenders.
John Hunter Nemechek won the first event in the Round of 8 and was followed by Daniel Hemric, Sadler, Shane Lee and JR Motorsports teammate Tyler Reddick to round out the top five.
Elliott Sadler, driver No. 1 Textron Off Road Wildcat XX team:
“Man, that was a wild race. The first and last race of each playoff round is always important, as we saw today. Kevin (Meendering, crew chief) made some great adjustments to our Textron Off Road Wildcat XX Chevrolet throughout the race, getting us better and better each stage. That was also a great call, taking two tires, there at the end. We did what we needed to do to start this Round of 8 off right. Now, to keep up the top fives and hopefully a win.”
Laps Completed (Led): 200 of 200 (2)
Points (Bonus): 47 (0)
Points Standings (from leader): 2nd (-9)