Elliott Sadler Finishes 26th After Late-Race Accident in Caution-Filled Race at Bristol Brake Damage Ends Night Early For No. 2 Team BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 19, 2010) - Elliott Sadler demonstrated that he had a truck that could contend for the...
Elliott Sadler Finishes 26th After Late-Race Accident in
Caution-Filled Race at Bristol
Brake Damage Ends Night Early For No. 2 Team
BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 19, 2010) - Elliott Sadler demonstrated that he had a truck that could contend for the win at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but late-race contact with a competitor led to a night-ending wreck 21 laps later. With body damage and destroyed front brakes, the No. 2 Grand Touring Vodka Chevrolet Silverado was relegated to a 26th-place finish in a caution-filled race at "the world's fastest half mile."
After earning the third-place starting position in the O'Reilly 200, Sadler quickly proved how strong the No. 2 Chevrolet was, moving into the lead before the completion of the first lap. Immediately pulling ahead of the field, Sadler maintained his lead through the first caution of the evening for debris on lap 13. On lap 18, Sadler had a difficult restart, losing the lead and sliding back into third. The caution flag waved again just three laps later after a three-truck incident, and Sadler remained in third for the restart on lap 27.
The yellow waved three laps later for the No. 23 truck's blown engine, and again on lap 37 for a two-truck incident on the frontstretch. Relaying to crew chief Butch Hylton that the truck was just a little too difficult to steer in the middle of the turns, Sadler brought the No. 2 down pit road for two tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Choosing to pit when many of his competitors didn't, Sadler restarted in 17th on lap 44. With enough fuel to make it until the end of the race, Sadler focused solely on regaining his position in front of the pack.
Three cautions and 25 laps later, Sadler broke back into the top five, restarting fourth on lap 69. Immediately after the restart, Sadler moved up to third, which he maintained for nearly 100 laps.
After battling hard with the No. 17 of Timothy Peters for most of those 94 laps, Sadler was finally in the position to overtake his competitor on lap 165, but Peters' truck fishtailed as Sadler made the pass, and the No. 17 made contact with the wall. Sadler suffered minor front-end damage and brushed the wall in the scuffle, but it appeared that the No. 2 Grand Touring Vodka machine was mostly undamaged, and Sadler opted to remain on the track. Peters was forced to pit to repair the damage to his truck, and Sadler inherited the second position, prepared to reel in leader Kyle Busch.
Unfortunately, the No. 2 was in worse shape than Sadler or Hylton anticipated, and it became more and more difficult to handle with each lap. Restarting with 30 laps remaining in the 200-lap event, Sadler quickly lost two positions, and by lap 180 he had lost two more, sliding to sixth. On lap 186, Sadler suddenly lost control of his truck, shooting up the track into the wall. Initially the team believed that the damage was not catastrophic, but NASCAR officials spotted the No. 2 truck's right-front brake rotor on the track following the incident which forced Sadler to pit. Coming down pit road for a tire change and body repair, Sadler confirmed that he did not have full braking abilities in the front of his truck, but he felt that he could finish the race and salvage a decent finish.
Sadler returned to the track, but was called back down pit road by NASCAR because the absent rotor was confirmed by an official during the pit stop. NASCAR's safety guidelines dictate that a truck must have four working brakes, and Sadler would not be allowed to continue until a new brake was installed. Knowing that they did not have enough time in the remaining 10 laps to make the repair, the team pushed the truck behind the wall and retired from the race. Kyle Busch earned his third victory of 2010 in an overtime green-white-checkered finish, followed by Aric Almirola, KHI teammate Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner and Justin Lofton rounding out the top five.
"I'm so sorry guys," Sadler said to the team after his wreck, remorseful of the damage on the No. 2 Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) Chevrolet. "I can't thank the team enough for giving me a great truck. We definitely had a truck that could win the race, but this is Bristol and sometimes that's how things go here. I'm just disappointed that we didn't get a better finish and have a better points night for KHI."
The No. 2 dropped one spot to third in the Owner's Point Standings, now 77 points out of first place.
The Truck Series hits the track again on Friday, August 23 for the EnjoyIllinois.com at Chicagoland Speedway where Shelby Howard will be behind the wheel of the No. 2.