Sadler Battles For Fifth, Leads JRM at Charlotte

JR Motorsports | 5/26/2018

Brandt Charlotte Elliott Sadler Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News OneMain Pilot Flying J Pinnacle Financial Partners Tyler Reddick XFINITY Series

Elliott Sadler battled to finish fifth in overtime on Saturday, leading the way for JRM at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Race 11 of 33: Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Mostly Cloudy; 82 degrees
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski

Sadler’s Finish: 5th       
Annett’s Finish: 12th        
Reddick’s Finish: 23rd      
Allgaier’s Finish: 32nd

Elliott Sadler

Elliott Sadler and the OneMain Financial team battled adversity to bring home a fifth-place finish in the Alsco 300 on Saturday afternoon during the rain-delayed event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After claiming his 11th consecutive top-10 finish of the season, Sadler remains first in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings and is now only three single-digit finishes away from tying his record of 14 straight. The finish is also his ninth top five in only 11 races this season.

Sadler began the 200-lap event in the 13th position after a rain-delayed qualifying event. On lap 14, the No. 1 driver relayed over the radio that his Camaro was tight on landing and through the center. Shortly after, the OneMain Financial driver reported another issue—this time his air conditioning unit was blowing hot air. With his veteran experience, Sadler was able to fight through the tough driving conditions and remained on track through the first caution of the day, holding his position. When Stage One ended on lap 45, Sadler advanced one position and was scored in 12th place.

Before Stage Two began, the OneMain Financial team made their first stop down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel, adjustments and hopeful AC repairs. On the restart, Sadler was in 11th place. Within the first 10 laps, Sadler was logging lap times quickest of the day, so far. Halfway through the second stage, Sadler began to slip back due to his right-rear tire loosing air. The Virginia native fought to remain in control in the closing laps of the stage, ultimately finishing in the 26th position. 

The OneMain Financial team opted to visit pit road once again under the stage-ending caution. After receiving a bag of ice to help cool him down, the ice bag slipped down to the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet’s feet. While reaching to retrieve the bag, Sadler sped too quickly and received a penalty for speeding while exiting pit road. On lap 97, the OneMain Financial team was in 27th place. Remaining focused, Sadler began to make his way forward. By the lap 126 caution for light rain, Sadler had made his way into the 11th-place position. With the field only changing to yellow flag conditions, OneMain Financial crew chief Kevin Meendering called Sadler down pit road for four tires, fuel and another adjustment. The improved handling helped Sadler drive his way into the top five before the lap 155 caution. Under the yellow, the team returned to pit road, making their final stop of the day. The No. 1 Chevrolet claimed two positions before rain returned, causing a one hour and one-minute delay. Sadler restarted in 10th for the final stretch of the race, passing five cars before the race finish. When the raced concluded, the OneMain Financial Chevrolet was in fifth place.

Brad Keselowski won the race, followed by Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, Ty Dillion and Sadler to round out the top five. 

Elliott Sadler, driver No. 1 OneMain Financial team

“We battled a lot of adversity today and never gave up. I had my AC go out early, had a right-rear tire go down and came back from a speeding penalty. My guys had great pit stops all day and Kevin (Meendering, crew chief) made great adjustments. By the end of the day, we had our OneMain Financial Chevrolet racing up front. We’ll take this and move on to next weekend.”

Michael Annett

Michael Annett entered the final two laps of Saturday’s Alsco 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a chance to earn his best finish of the 2018 season. He did, but contact on the final restart took four spots off where he might have wound up. Annett drove the No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet to 12th in the rain-delayed event, resetting his best finish for the season from 13th, which he accomplished on another 1.5-mile track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Annett’s situation looked very good on the next-to-last restart with 14 laps remaining. He was 12th at that point, on lap 186, and over the next four laps he’d advanced four spots to eighth. He was holding off a group behind him that included Kyle Busch and was close enough to challenge for seventh when the yellow came out again with two laps to go for debris. That set up the final restart, where contact from rookie Kaz Grala punted Annett to the middle lane rather than the preferred higher line in Turn 1.

Annett started the race 25th and was 20th at the end of the 45-lap Stage One, battling the bumps and a tight condition on his No. 5 Chevrolet. On the pit stop at the break, crew chief Jason Stockert put on four tires, added fuel and made air-pressure adjustments to help his driver. The Pilot Flying J pit crew gained three spots on the exchange and sent Annett back out in 17th place. Those changes made the car a bit too loose for Annett to move it forward, and Stockert brought him down pit road under caution at lap 78, before Stage Two ended, to make chassis adjustments. Pitting at the end of Stage Two after finishing 22nd, Stockert added wedge, four tires and fuel for the final stage.

Annett restarted the final stage in 21st, and made up five spots on the first lap of green-flag racing. Five laps later, under another caution, Annett told Stockert that the changes had produced a “happy medium” for him in terms of handling, having cleared up the handling issues at both ends. On lap 126, the yellow waved for a brief rain shower and Annett came down pit road again on lap 128 for tires and fuel, picking up four spots in the process to run 13th. After a solid restart, Annett was up to 11th on lap 131 and was 16th when the caution waved again for a crash on the backstretch at lap 146. A quick dash pit-ward for fuel gained four more spots and put him back in 12th for the restart at lap 152.

Another yellow—there were 13 in the race—on lap 157 saw Stockert call Annett down pit lane for the team’s final set of tires and more adjustments on lap 159. On the ensuing restart, Annett dodged a bullet on the backstretch when Dylan Lupton and Ty Majeski crashed on the backstretch, narrowly missing his car as they spun toward the wall. On lap 172, a short time later, the rains came and stopped the race for 61 minutes. The green flag waved with 24 laps remaining, and Annett was running a solid 15th when JRM teammate Justin Allgaier got turned into the wall on lap 181. Annett told Stockert the car was the best it had been all weekend, and then set about proving it. Restarting 12th with 14 laps remaining, Annett raced up to eighth and was looking for more when the debris caution changed the tempo of the race against the Pilot Flying J team.

Brad Keselowski won the race, followed by Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, Ty Dillon and JRM’s Elliott Sadler. Annett’s finish served to advance him one spot in the point standings to 13th, just 20 points out of the top 12 for NXS Playoff inclusion. 

Michael Annett, driver No. 5 Pilot Flying J team

“I got a shot from behind on the last restart and almost got turned. I didn’t want to go to the middle, but I really didn’t have a choice after that. We had a chance to finish eighth, and I think we would have done at least that well had I not gotten moved to the middle. The Pilot Flying J Chevrolet was the best it was all weekend after the rain, and we were stronger when we needed to be, which was at the end of the race. We picked up in the points, and that’s always a good thing. Great job by (crew chief) Jason Stockert and our entire team today.”

Tyler Reddick 

Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 9 Pinnacle Financial Partners Chevrolet Camaro, recorded a 23rd-place finish in Saturday afternoon's rain-marred NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway after sustaining damage to the right-rear fender and rear decklid during a lap 155 incident.

Reddick began the 200-lap event from the fourth position after advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying on Saturday morning. From the drop of the green flag, Reddick fought a tight-handling condition that affected how the JR Motorsports driver rolled through the corner. Despite not handling to his liking, Reddick battled for position inside the top 10 for much of the opening stage, taking the green-and-checkered flag to end Stage One on lap 45 in the 10th position and earning a valuable stage point in the process.

In-between stages, crew chief Dave Elenz called the Corning, Calif. native to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment in the hopes of alleviating the tight-handling condition.  Reddick returned to the track following the stop for the beginning of Stage Two in the seventh position. The driver of the Pinnacle Financial Partners Chevrolet maintained his position inside the top 10 until contact with the outside retaining wall just prior to a lap 78 caution period forced Reddick to return to pit road for repairs. Due to the off-sequence pit stop, Reddick was shuffled to the back of the lead pack and ultimately took the green-and-checkered flag to end Stage Two in 27th.

Prior to the beginning of the final stage, crew chief Elenz made a strategy call and decided to keep the JRM driver out on the track while the race leaders came to pit road. As a result of this strategy, Reddick took the lap 97 restart from the second position. Despite restarting in the top five, Reddick reported that his car had now shifted toward the loose side rolling through the corner. This handling condition persisted until a lap 125 caution period provided another opportunity for Elenz to call Reddick to pit road for an adjustment. However, a speeding penalty on the exit of pit road following the stop forced Reddick to take the ensuing restart from the tail end of the field. Utilizing a never-give-up attitude, Reddick quickly improved 10 positions to 15th before contact with the wall in Turn 2 further damaged the rear of the Pinnacle Financial Partners Chevrolet on lap 155.

After pitting several times for repairs during the caution, Reddick returned to the track in the 26thposition for the lap 165 restart. From there, Reddick overcame a one hour and one-minute rain delay and being collected in a multi-car incident on the final lap to improve three positions to take the checkered flag in the 23rd position.

Brad Keselowski took home the victory with Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, Ty Dillon and JRM teammate Elliott Sadler rounding out the top five. 

Tyler Reddick, driver No. 9 Pinnacle Financial Partners team

“Our Pinnacle Financial Partners Chevrolet was really fast today. It’s really unfortunate that we ran into some trouble and damaged the rear-end of the car. I want to thank everyone on this JR Motorsports team for their hard work all weekend long. We will rebound from today and be ready to get going again next weekend in Pocono.”

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier battled at the front of the field for much of Saturday’s Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but involvement in a late-race, multi-car wreck ended the BRANDT Professional Agriculture team’s day early. The Illinois native now sits sixth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings.

Starting the 200-lap race in 10th, Allgaier began working his way closer to the front. Running in seventh when the caution flag came out, he reported to his team that he was free into Turn 3. The BRANDT team opted to stay out under the yellow and Allgaier restarted in seventh on lap 27. He battled hard for position in the closing laps of Stage One to take the green-and-white checkered flag in the sixth spot, collecting five stage points. Under the caution, Allgaier came to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. The team made a lightning-fast stop, setting Allgaier up for a second-place start for Stage Two.

Back under green for Stage Two, Allgaier raced inside the top five and was running in the fifth position when a caution came out on lap 80. Under the yellow, he reported to his team that the BRANDT Chevy bounced loose through the bumps. Restarting in fifth on lap 83, he was able to remain inside the top 10 to end Stage Two in eighth and collect three additional stage points. Allgaier’s Chevrolet was still looking for help with handling, so the team made a left-rear wedge adjustment when they made a pit stop for four tires and fuel under the stage-ending caution.

When the green flag dropped for the final stage, Allgaier advanced from sixth on the restart up to fifth. He came over the radio to report that the No. 7 Camaro fired off tight. The handling on the BRANDT Chevy eventually came to him though as he was able to work his way up to second by lap 107. With a caution coming out right after, Allgaier took the time to let his crew know that he was pretty happy with the car. He restarted in second on lap 113, and held on to the position until he got loose and made slight contact with the wall on lap 125. He was running in fourth, when just two laps later another caution flag waved. He came with a majority of the field down pit road for four tires and fuel. In the sixth position on the restart, Allgaier continued to race inside the top 10. He reported that his Chevy was free on entry and plowing through the center and exit of the turns. Allgaier survived a series of cautions in the later stage of the race and was running in the ninth spot when yet another came out on lap 168 that eventually turned into a red flag for rain.

Rain halted the race for just over an hour, but the green flag came back out on lap 177. Allgaier was racing for the seventh position on lap 180 when he was involved in a multi-car incident that forced his day to end early. Allgaier was ultimately scored with a 32nd-place finish. Brad Keselowski won the race and was followed by Cole Custer and Christopher Bell, with Ty Dillon and Elliott Sadler rounding out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team

“Today was tough. We had a really fast BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevy and I thought we had a chance at a top-five finish, but we just got caught up in that wreck. Definitely not how we wanted this day to go. I’m really proud of this team. They made great adjustments and fast pit stops today. Now, I’m ready to get to Pocono. That is a good track for us and I always have a lot of fun racing there.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

XFINITY Series Standings

After Ford EcoBoost 300*

Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/17/2018
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick (P)40400
2Cole Custer (P)4035-5
3Daniel Hemric (P)4033-7
4Christopher Bell # (P)4026-14
5Elliott Sadler2255-1785
6Matt Tifft2254-1786
7Justin Allgaier2251-1789
14Michael Annett632-3408