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Sadler earns redemption with Iowa victory

August 06, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service,

NEWTON, Iowa -- It isn't how you start, but how you finish.

After earning three straight poles at Iowa Speedway, Elliott Sadler finally has a finish to match.

U.S. Cellular 250

2.J. Allgaier Chevrolet
3.S. Hornish Jr. Dodge
4.M. Annett Ford
5.R. Stenhouse Jr. Ford

Sadler passed Justin Allgaier with 58 laps remaining and pulled away to win the U.S. Cellular 250 on Saturday night at the 0.875-mile oval. It was his fourth victory this season, setting a career best for wins in a year.

Sadler gave a victory yell on the radio and jogged to grab the checkered flag. He talked about redemption after last week's incident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he was penalized for beating the leader to the start/finish line during a late restart.

"It's been a rough week," Sadler said. "We felt like we should have won that race last week."

His father underwent knee surgery but provided his son with some motivational words for his race at Iowa. Sadler took the advice to heart and claimed his second win in three weeks.

"He said do not let them take this championship away from you," Sadler said. "Go to Iowa and kick their butts."

Sadler, who increased his one-point lead over Austin Dillon in the standings to 18, led 60 laps. He surrendered the lead to Darrell Wallace Jr. on the opening lap. Wallace, making his second Nationwide Series start after placing ninth in his May debut at Iowa, came in seventh, leading the first 37 laps before Austin Dillon took over.

"I didn't really like not leading the first lap, but that's not the one that pays the money," Sadler said. "We learned what we had to learn, and we moved on from it. I felt like my restarts the rest of the race were pretty good."

Sadler briefly gained the lead from Dillon, his Richard Childress Racing teammate, on the restart following a competition caution on Lap 50. The second caution, when John Blankenship spun out 87 laps in, jumbled the front-runners. Allgaier benefited from a fast pit stop to take the lead, while Dillon dropped to 10th and Sadler to eighth.

Sadler fell back again after a pit stop during the third caution for debris on the track, but he maneuvered through the field before overtaking Allgaier late.

"I had a hard time passing [Allgaier]," Sadler said. "He knew where my car was fast.

Dash 4 Cash

Dash 4 Cash rewards the highest-finishing eligible driver at each of four designated races with $100,000, creating a "race within a race" that could reward the overall winner with $1 million.

"He just got a little loose off of Turn 4, and that particular lap I got a really good bite under him. ... Once we got out front, I knew we were in really good shape."

The win capped a huge day for RCR. Team owner Richard Childress was at Pocono Raceway for Joey Coulter's win in the Pocono Mountains 125 on Saturday afternoon. He joined Sadler in Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway later that night. Adding to the impressive day, Sadler and Dillon hold the top two spots in the Nationwide points.

"That was great," Childress said. "You get two wins in one day, let's hope tomorrow we can cap it off and make it a full sweep with a third one."

Childress had faith Sadler would come through with the win, praising his passes of Kurt Busch for second before taking the lead from Allgaier.

"I couldn't be prouder of him," Childress said. "Elliott got up on the wheel when he had to get up on the wheel."

Allgaier, who has 13 top-10 finishes in 2012, recorded his best finish of the season, placing second. He set a career best, leading 101 laps of a Nationwide race. His previous best was 88 laps led.

"To come here and lead the most laps and run as good as we did, I was proud of that," Allgaier said. "It's tough to see Elliott out there and know you're catching him and there's not really much you can do."

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had won three straight Nationwide races at Iowa but couldn't make a push for the lead. He suffered problems with tire grip after starting 11th and finished fifth. Stenhouse held his third-place spot in the standings, falling to 21 points back of Sadler but closing to three behind Dillon.

Sam Hornish Jr. won the final Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus as the program from series sponsor Nationwide drew to a close. He placed third, finishing one spot ahead of Des Moines native Michael Annett.

Annett remained sixth in points, trailing Allgaier by 26, and placed a few spots ahead of fellow Iowan Brett Moffitt, who made his series debut.

Moffitt placed ninth, one spot ahead of where he started. He viewed the night as just another race but was happy with the performance.

"It was a lot of fun," Moffitt said. "I got a lot of experience racing with the cars. These things racing around other cars, they're really aero-dependent, so it's a lot harder racing around other cars. I learned a lot, so that was good."


• Elliott Sadler earned his ninth career win in his 184th start
• It was his first Iowa win in his fourth race; his previous best finish was second in May.
• Sadler has won at eight different tracks.
• He is the fourth different driver to win at Iowa in six races.
• It was Sadler's fourth win of 2012, the most by a Nationwide Series regular and second to Joey Logano (five).
• Four wins in a single season is a career best for Sadler.
• Sadler has won three Nationwide races from the pole, the previous one coming July 12, 1997, at Myrtle Beach.
• Richard Childress Racing earned its 61st career win, its first Iowa win and its fifth win of 2012.
• Chevrolet got its first Iowa win and eighth win of 2012.
• Justin Allgaier (second) had his best finish of the season and best finish at Iowa after leading the most laps (101 of 250).
• Sam Hornish Jr (third) got his eighth straight top-10 finish, the longest streak of his career, and won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.
• Michael Annett (fourth) earned his fourth career top-five, all in the past six races.
• Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (fifth) got his 15th top-10 finish of 2012, tying Sadler and Austin Dillon for the most this season.
• Darrell Wallace Jr. (seventh) finished in the top-10 in both of his Nationwide starts, both at Iowa.
• Austin Dillon (15th) failed to finish on the lead lap for the first time in 2012.

Brad Sweet was the highest finishing rookie, placing 12th.