News & Media


Nationwide Preview: Sadler wants a win, but he wants a title even more

October 14, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service, NASCAR.com

A glance at Elliott Sadler's cumulative statistics in the Nationwide Series this season reveals some flashy numbers: 11 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes to go with four pole positions. And he's second in the points standings heading to the Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend.

But there's also a number that Sadler doesn't particularly care for: The zero under the win column.

"I'm not trying to win to appease other people, I want to win for my race team."

--ELLIOTT SADLER

"Yeah, it bothers me, because I want to win," Sadler said. "I'm not trying to win to appease other people, I want to win for my race team. I want to win because [crew chief] Ernie Cope and those guys put a lot of effort into our race team each and every week to go to the race track and run good. I really see the effort that goes into having a championship-contending team. That's why I want to win. I want to win for those guys."

Sadler notes that his No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. has had its chances and easily could have four or five wins in 2011.

"But our No. 1 goal is to win the championship," Sadler said. "If you asked me whether I want to win a race and not win the championship or win the championship and not win a race, it's a very easy answer for me."

Sadler heads to Charlotte 20 points behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr. with four races remaining in the season. Under NASCAR's simplified points system, that's 20 positions on the race track. Sadler knows that won't be easy to make up, but he believes "it's definitely within reach."

"If we can average [beating Stenhouse] five positions a race, we've got a chance," Sadler said. "If we run in the top two or three each week for the last four races, we think we're going to be in the middle of this thing by the time Homestead is over with."

There is still a lot of racing left, and Sadler is experienced enough to know "anything can happen."

"You don't always need to hit a walk-off home run or throw a Hail Mary," Sadler said. "The way this points system is, it rewards consistency. If we can be consistent and average a third- or fourth-place finish the last four races, we honestly feel like we've got a shot to win this thing."

Of course, Sadler will be gunning for a victory, especially at Charlotte. This weekend's race -- as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- means a lot to Sadler and his family, as his mother, Bell, beat breast cancer a few years ago. He would love nothing more than to slip into Charlotte's Victory Lane.

2011 Nationwide Trends

• Justin Allgaier has top-11 finishes in four of the past five races; his worst finish in the past eight races is 15th at Bristol.
• Aric Almiorla has 17 top-10 finishes in 2011 including nine in the past 12 races (seven top-fives in 2011).
• Trevor Bayne has top-10 finishes in the past two races after a five-race streak of finishes outside the top-10.
• Mike Bliss finished a season best ninth at Dover and has 10 top-15 finishes in 2011 including five in the past seven races.
• Kyle Busch has top-five finishes in his past 13 starts including eight finishes of second or better (five wins).
• Carl Edwards has seven wins in 2011 matching 2008 for the most wins he has ever had in a single season; he finished first or second in the past five races.
• Sam Hornish Jr. finished a career best fifth in his past NNS start at Chicagoland; he started in the top-seven in his past six races
• Kasey Kahne has five top-five finishes and six top-10 finishes in 11 starts in 2011.
• Brad Keselowski has four wins in 2011, all in his past nine starts; he started on the front-row in seven of his past eight starts.
• Joey Logano started in the top-10 in his past seven starts and finished in the top-10 in only four of those seven starts.
• Paul Menard's worst finish in his six NNS starts in 2011 is ninth at Chicagoland; his worst start in 2011 is sixth at Richmond in April.
• Elliott Sadler finished third last week at Kansas matching his season-best finish for the third time.
• Reed Sorenson finished 26th last week at Kansas in his first start in the No. 82.

"I tell you what, a victory at Charlotte would be huge," Sadler said. "A victory anywhere is big, but to me, the fall race at Charlotte means a lot. It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we're running a pink race car this weekend. For what my family and my mom went through, to be able to win at Charlotte would be huge."