Elliott Sadler and the OneMain Financial team finished eighth in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 on Saturday afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway. Following his second consecutive top-10 finish in the Round of 8, Sadler sits second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff standings, just seven markers behind leader and teammate Tyler Reddick.
After reporting tight handling in his second qualifying run earlier on race day morning, Sadler rolled off the grid for the 300-mile event in 13th place. Sadler was quick to advance into the top 10 and was running in seventh by lap 14. Under the day’s second caution, Sadler began relaying feedback to his OneMain Financial team. The Virginia native informed his team that his Chevrolet was overall handling well, but that he was still tight into the throttle. Throughout Stage One, Sadler continued to gain positions. When the stage ended, the OneMain Financial team was running in the fifth position.
A quick stop under the stage-ending caution kept the No. 1 team in fourth place for the start of Stage Two. After getting a strong restart, Sadler was in second. Shortly thereafter, the veteran driver returned to the radio, reporting his Camaro was once again growing tight. When the caution flag waved on lap 80, OneMain Financial crew chief Kevin Meendering began to make his strategy calls, calling his driver down to pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. Sadler then restarted in the 13th position after some teams remained on track. By the end of Stage Two, the No. 1 team had made their back way to sixth place.
With their recent stop, Meendering kept Sadler on track under the stage-ending caution. When the final stage of the race began, the OneMain Financial team was back in second place. Sadler held this position through a series of cautions. Once again, Meendering made the strategy call for a fuel-only stop under the lap-135 caution. With the majority of the field opting to stay out, Sadler restarted in 17th place. With improved handling of his Chevrolet, the OneMain Financial Chevrolet made its way back through the field. On the final restart of the day, Sadler was in third place. With his teammate Reddick in first, selecting the bottom, the duo worked together to push the No. 9 of Reddick out to the lead. Following Sadler’s successful push, he got loose and began to fall back. When the checkered flag waved for the finish, the OneMain Financial team was scored in eighth.
Cole Custer won the second Round of 8 NXS Playoff race and was followed by Reddick, Austin Cindric, John Hunter Nemechek and Justin Allgaier to round out the top five.
Elliott Sadler, driver No. 1 OneMain Financial team: “Overall, today was a good day for my OneMain Financial team. We came and did what we needed to do, collecting stage points and be in contention for the win. On that last restart, I just pushed too hard to get my teammate (Tyler Reddick) out front and got loose. That is not what we needed for the end result. We’ve got one race to go in this round and we’re sitting in second. We’re going to move on to Phoenix with Homestead on our minds.”
Laps Completed (Led): 200 of 200 (0)
Points (Bonus): 40 (0)
Points Standings (from leader): 2nd (-7)