Elliott Sadler and the No. 2 OneMain Financial team earned a fourth-place finish under the lights in the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday night. The green flag dropped on the NRA American Warriors 300 with Sadler starting from the seventh position and wasted little time moving into the fourth position before the first lap was completed.
Running in the top five early in the race, the Emporia, Va., driver relayed to the pit crew that he felt that he was using the right-rear tire too much, and the No. 2 Chevrolet was too tight in the entry of the corners. Throughout several scheduled pit stops during the 195-lap event, the Luke Lambert-led crew serviced the No. 2 machine with four tires, fuel and a series of chassis adjustments to alleviate the tight-handling on entry.
Sadler battled to the third-position by lap 170 when he came down pit road for a green-flag pit stop. The OneMain Financial team bolted on four tires, added fuel and made a slight chassis adjustment, positioning the No. 2 Chevrolet on track in the seventh position after the field cycled through stops. A large wreck behind the blue and white Chevrolet on lap 187 halted the race, and NASCAR officials displayed the red flag to remove debris from the race track, with Sadler listed in the fifth position.
Lining up to for the restart, Sadler moved up to the fourth position, where he would cross the finish line for the team's 11th top-five finish of the 2012 season. Sadler remains the leader of the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, 12 points ahead of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Eliott Sadler: "I am so proud of this OneMain Financial team this weekend. This team never gives up, and we had a great car this weekend. We just couldn't hold up on the long runs tonight. We improved on our finish last season here at Atlanta (Motor Speedway), and we continue to show consistency with our second top-five finish in a row. I'm really looking forward to moving onto my home track of Richmond (International Raceway) next weekend."
Austin Dillon drove Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish in the NRA American Warriors 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, securing the team's 18th top-10 finish of the 2012 season. Dillon started the 300-mile race from the ninth position and struggled with a loose-handling condition on his No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet until the first round of green-flag pit stops on lap 48 afforded the team an opportunity to make sweeping air pressure and chassis adjustments to correct the handling issues.
Dillon showcased speed in the black No. 3 Chevrolet following the pit stop, and although he was running in the top 10, he fell one lap down to the race leader during a long green-flag run in which allowed only seven cars remained on the lead lap. After earning the "Lucky Dog" award on lap 81, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender returned to the lead lap and raced his way into the top three.
The AdvoCare Chevrolet was scored in the third position for a late-race restart on lap 192 but dropped to sixth in the closing laps following a hard charge from teams with fresher tires. Dillon remains fourth in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings.
Austin Dillon: "What a crazy race. There was a lot of slipping and sliding out there. The AdvoCare Chevrolet was not handling very well at the beginning of the race but we worked together as a team and recovered well. The car was great towards the end of the race and we had a good shot at a top-three finish. I'm proud of Danny Stockman and the entire team for their hard work tonight."
Kevin Harvick and the No. 33 Bad Boy Buggies team brought home a disappointing third-place finish in the NRA American Warriors 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after leading 157 laps and dominating the 300-mile event Saturday night. The Bakersfield, Calif., native started the NASCAR Nationwide Series event from the third position and worked his way to the front of the field by lap 18.
As the race progressed, Harvick continued to extend his lead over the field creating a 15-second gap over the second-place car when NASCAR officials displayed the yellow flag for the third caution period on lap 66. As green-flag racing resumed, the two-time Nationwide Series champion continued to lead the field around the 1.54-mile track until lap 120 when Harvick brought the Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel.
Multiple cars opted to stay on track during the caution period, positioning Harvick sixth for the lap-126 restart. With a bold move on the race track, Harvick regained the lead by lap 127 and maintained his position until the green-white-checkered finish when a two-car tandem with new tires slid by the Bad Boy Buggies machine on the final lap, leaving Harvick to settle for a third-place finish.
Kevin Harvick: "We obviously had the dominate race car tonight, but didn't get the finish we should have. The Bad Boy Buggies team worked hard all weekend and deserved the win. We'll move on from this and turn our focus to next week's race at Richmond (International Raceway)."
Source: Richard Childress Racing