Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

Sadler Maintains Points Lead Stranglehold After Charlotte Top-Five

By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor

CONCORD, N.C. – When it comes to drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, there have been none more consistent in 2018 than Elliott Sadler, who had finished in the top-10 in every race heading into Saturday’s Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

After the checkered flag flew, Sadler not only kept that streak going with a fourth-place run, but also keeps his No. 1 JR Motorsports team at the top of the points standings.

“We battled all day,” said Sadler. “Proud of my guys on this team. We had a 12th to 15th place car probably there at the beginning and the air conditioning not working and smelling fumes and worrying about how we were going to make it. Kevin made some really good adjustments there towards the end of the race and pit stops got us out in the single digits and we were able to race hard from there.

“All in all, another top-five. I can’t complain about that. Proud of everybody on this One Main Financial Chevy and we’ll take this momentum and head on to Pocono.”

While the end result was another finish toward the top of the leaderboard, Saturday’s race was anything but easy for Sadler. After starting 13th, Sadler was only able to advance to 12th by the end of the first stage and had a pit road speeding penalty at the end of stage two that dropped him to 27th.

Adding insult to injury, Sadler was also having issues with the air conditioning unit inside his car as it was malfunctioning and blowing hot air. Though he had to suffer through it, he managed to advance to the top-10 before the rains came with 28 laps to go, bringing out an hour long red flag.

Under the red flag, he was able to go back to his motorhome to get oxygen and get himself reenergized for the remaining laps once the track was dried.

When the green flag flew for the final 24 laps, Sadler picked his way through the field to crack the top-five for the first time all day, settling into fourth, where he would remain through the final caution and overtime.

“I was hot,” Sadler said of his issues with the air conditioner. “Something happened to the air conditioner and it started blowing extremely hot air and then when I tried to hit my button to cut it off, it fell off in the floor, so I couldn’t reach it. So, the whole first 45 lap segment, it was just excruciating heat on my face and then I had to cut it off. Then I was smelling the fumes and then I had an electrical fire shortage it smelled like inside the car, so I had to smell that for a while.

“I didn’t know if I was going to make it, but the rain came at the right time for me, where I could regroup and get some oxygen and come back out and finish in the top-five.”

Heading to next weekend’s race at Pocono, Sadler holds a 38 point advantage over Christopher Bell.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.