Elliott Sadler and the OneMain Financial team brought home a second-place finish in the Sparks Energy 300 on Saturday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway. After claiming the highest finish by a full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and capturing his fourth top five of the season, Sadler continues to hold the NXS point standings lead.
Sadler began the 300-mile event from the 14th-place starting position, but was up and racing among the top five just three laps in. Shortly thereafter, a drafting push from Joey Logano caused the OneMain Financial Chevrolet to make contact with the wall, receiving right-side damage. The Emporia, Va. native relayed to his team that the front end of his Chevrolet wasn’t handling like it should be and that he was in need of adjustments. A longer pit stop under caution for two tires, fuel and right-side repairs put the OneMain Financial team in 34th place on the restart. The No. 1 team made a few passes in the remaining stage laps, finishing Stage One in 28th place.
Before Stage Two began, the OneMain Financial team made another long stop for adjustments under caution. It was on lap 35 that Sadler reported his Camaro was still having front-end handling issues. Another caution was displayed on lap 49 when Sadler was in the 28th-place running position. This position is where he would be scored for Stage Two as the stage ended just one lap later.
The OneMain Financial team came to pit road once again under caution before the final stage began. After multiple cars were collected in the lap-49 incident—and with the help of a quick pit stop—Sadler took the green flag for the final stage of the race in 10th. By lap 58, the veteran driver was closing in on the top five. A strong restart following a yellow flag on lap 99 allowed Sadler to make his way into second place. The OneMain Financial Chevrolet made a quick fall back to seventh after losing the draft, but found the right lines and drove back forward. As the white flag waved, Sadler was running second. He raced hard to take the lead, but ultimately came across the finish line in second place.
Aric Almirola won the NXS event, followed by Sadler, Logano, Ben Kennedy and Erik Jones to round out the top five.
Race 9 of 33: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway
Track Specs: 2.66-mile tri-oval / 113 laps
Weather: Sunny; 75 degrees
Race Winner: Aric Almirola
Sadler’s finish: 2nd