By Jack Durbin - Motorsport.com
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Elliott Sadler wins first race! Following in the footsteps of other Wood Brother first time winners, Sadler takes his first Winston Cup Series race at Bristol International Speedway.
Sadler took the lead when Kevin Harvick had to pit to replace a punctured left front tire on lap 431. The Wood Brothers team left Sadler out rather than make a late race stop, the gamble paid off as Sadler became the third first-time winner of the 2001 season. Michael Waltrip and Kevin Harvick were the other first-time winner this year.
"This means more than anything in the world. To win these Winston Cup races is huge," Sadler said. "We had older tires than everybody else, but had a good car. Everybody believed in us. I'm so happy about this I don't know what to do. We get to go to The Winston in Charlotte and we're gonna win that one too."
John Andretti made a charge on Sadler in the closing laps, but was not able to take the lead. "Those late cautions hurt me cause a lapped car got me up in the outside wall. I was way too tight from them on. The closer I got to Elliott , the more I pushed. I was gonna try to get him. He deserves it, great win for him," said Andretti. The second place finish is Andretti's best of the 2001 season.
Jeremy Mayfield finished third. Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon were fighting for fourth on the last lap. They got together in turn four. Stewart spun and Gordon continued to finish fourth, Stewart finished in 25th. On the cool down lap as they were entering the pits, Stewart hit and spun Gordon into the pit wall. Both drivers were summoned to the NASCAR trailer for a conference. They both left a few minutes later in good humor.
NASCAR will contact Stewart on Monday regarding possible pentalties steming from the incident in pit lane.