Elliott Sadler and the No. 1 Chevrolet team brought home a third-place finish and the $100,000 Xfinity Dash 4 Cash prize in Friday night’s race at Richmond Raceway. Sadler also claimed his first stage win of the 2018 season, earning one playoff point while competing at his hometrack. The strong finish qualified Sadler for next weekend’s Xfinity Dash 4 Cash event at Talladega and keeps him on top of the NASCAR Xfinity Series leaderboard. The veteran driver now leads by 29 markers over second place.
After advancing into the third and final round of qualifying, Sadler began the 250-lap race in eighth place. On lap 20, while under the day’s first caution, the Chevrolet driver relayed to his team that he was tight center and free off of Turn 4. Driving through the tough-handling condition, the Emporia, Va., native made his way inside the top five. Sadler’s fifth-place running position at the end of Stage One was just the beginning of a successful night.
Following the stage end, crew chief Kevin Meendering called Sadler down pit road for fresh tires and fuel. With a few teams electing to remain on track, the No. 1 team began Stage Two in ninth place. By lap 111, the JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro was back in the top three and leading the Dash 4 Cash competitors. Just 15 laps later, Sadler was informed by his spotter that he was the fastest car on track. On lap 132, the No. 1 Chevrolet completed the pass to take over the lead. When the stage ended on lap 150, Sadler remained out front. The stage win was his first of the season, bringing the Chevrolet team one playoff point for the NXS championship run.
A quick pit stop for four tires and fuel under the stage-ending caution allowed the No. 1 team to remain in the lead for the start of the final stage. Following the restart, Sadler was quick to report the tight handling had return with the cold tires. His Chevrolet team reminded him of his great long-run speed, which he soon found again. By lap 190, reports of strong lap times were once again heard over the radio. Throughout the final 50 laps of the race, Sadler drove to compete with the top two. Although he was third in the field, the Chevrolet driver was first of the four competing Dash 4 Cash drivers. At the conclusion of the race, Sadler was in third place. Once again, the No. 1 Chevrolet team brought home a single-digit finish, claiming their sixth top-five of the season.
Christopher Bell won the Virginia event and was followed by Noah Gragson, Sadler, Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric to round out the top five.
Elliott Sadler, driver Chevrolet team:
“It’s always so good to run here at my home track. To be running up front, taking home a stage win and the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 prize is awesome. I wish we would have gotten the win, but I couldn’t be more proud of my guys. I just got myself too tight there at the end. With another top five, we’ve set ourselves up to compete in next week’s Dash 4 Cash event. We’ll bring this momentum and hopefully win it all at Talladega.”
Laps Completed (Led): 250 of 250 (30)
Points (Bonus): 50 (1)
Points Standings (from leader): 1st (+29)