Elliott Sadler Wins First Career Truck Series Race from Pole Position at Pocono Raceway Scores Third Straight Victory for KHI, Becomes 21st Driver to Win in All of NASCAR's Top-Three Series LONG POND, Pa. (August 1, 2010) - Just hours after ...
Elliott Sadler Wins First Career Truck Series Race from Pole Position
at Pocono Raceway
Scores Third Straight Victory for KHI, Becomes 21st Driver to Win in All of NASCAR's Top-Three Series
LONG POND, Pa. (August 1, 2010) - Just hours after earning his first career Truck Series pole award, Elliott Sadler earned his first career Truck Series victory at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The win, which he achieved in only his eighth start in the series, was Sadler's first since September of 2004 (Sprint Cup Series, Auto Club Speedway). Sadler is now the 21st driver to visit Victory Lane in all of NASCAR's top-three series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series).
The win also marked the third consecutive win for Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), which had previously taken the win at Gateway (Ill.) International Raceway (Kevin Harvick in the No. 2) and O'Reilly Raceway Park (Ron Hornaday in the No. 33).
"It's hard to put in words what this means to me," said an emotional Sadler in Victory Lane. "I'll be honest, tears filled my eyes when I crossed the start/finish line. I've had a tough couple years in the Cup Series, and until Kevin and DeLana [Harvick] gave me the opportunity to drive the No. 2 truck for KHI, I haven't had many opportunities to run up front, lead laps and win races. You sit at home a lot wondering if you're ever going to make it back to Victory Lane. I know that it's easy to say because it just happened today, but I feel that this is the biggest win in my career."
Coming into the inaugural Pocono Mountains 125, Sadler had the advantage of being the most veteran driver in the field, having completed 4,464 laps in 23 starts in Sprint Cup Series competition at the track. Sadler's experience quickly became apparent when he scored his first Truck Series pole award with a lap time of 55.350 seconds, (162.602 m.p.h.) over 0.23 seconds faster than the second place qualifier.
Choosing to take the green flag from the outside lane, Sadler quickly began to pull away from the pack before the first caution flag of the day waved for a spin in the very first turn of the race. Following a tight restart on lap four, Sadler once again opened up a gap between himself and the second-place truck. Sadler held his lead until lap 20 when the No. 18 of Kasey Kahne used the draft to slingshot around the No. 2 Silverado, dropping him to second.
The yellow flag waved for a truck in the wall on lap 26, which gave the No. 2 team the opportunity to make their first and only pit stop of the day. Although Sadler had mentioned that the truck was turning a little too freely in turn three, he didn't want to make any major adjustments and sacrifice the truck's stellar handling in the other two turns. Crew chief Butch Hylton opted to make only a small air-pressure adjustment, provide four fresh tires and fill the truck with enough fuel to last until the end of the race.
Restarting in the second position, Sadler rocketed into the lead on lap 33 and immediately pulled out to a 10 truck-length advantage over second. However, the lead was short lived when a caution for debris on lap 35 tightened up the field, and he slipped to second place during the restart on lap 38. Sadler fought hungrily with his competitors in the top four, and was running second when a two-truck incident brought out the yellow on lap 47. The restart allowed Sadler to regain the lead on lap 50, the field's first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
Although he handily took the lead after the green flag, an incident involving KHI teammate Ron Hornaday closed up the field and forced Sadler to defend the lead once again. When the green flag waved for the final time on lap 54, Sadler pulled away and never looked back until he took the checkered flag.
Sadler's win was his ninth NASCAR touring series victory in his 15-year career. Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillon and Aric Almirola rounded out the top five. The No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado now sits first in the Owner's Point standings, 2 points ahead of second place.
The Truck Series hits the track again on Saturday, August 7 for the Nashville 200 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway, where Ken Schrader will be behind the wheel of the No. 2.