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NASCAR

Stenhouse Jr., Sadler take points battle to Charlotte

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, mile oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m. (et). Laps: 200. Miles: 300. 2010 Winner: Brad Keselowski. Television: ESPN 2. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN) /SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.

Charlotte Motor Speedway begins the final-four race stretch in the Nationwide Series.

The battle between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler for the driver's championship tightened up slightly after last Saturday's event at Kansas. Sadler finished third and gained two points on Stenhouse, who bounced back from an early-race speeding penalty to place fifth.

"It was up and down, but we did what a championship teams needs to do," Stenhouse said after his top-five run at Kansas. "We overcame our mistakes, had a top-five finish and made the most of what we had. We have four more to go, and I think we are capable of doing this thing."

Stenhouse enters Friday night's 300-mile race at Charlotte with a 20-point advantage over Sadler.

"[Charlotte] is definitely a track that I feel comfortable at because, I feel like it really fits my driving style well," Sadler said. "We only have four races left on the schedule, so things are heating up on the track, but I'm as confident as ever in this team."

Reed Sorenson is now a distant 70 points out of the lead. Sorenson was released from his driving duties with Turner Motorsports last week. He secured a ride in time for Kansas, finishing 26th in the No.82 Dodge for MacDonald Motorsports. He is entered in that same car at Charlotte.

This race will also be the fourth and final one in this year's "Dash 4 Cash" bonus program. Stenhouse, Sadler, Ryan Truex and Kenny Wallace are the drivers eligible for the $100,000 bonus from series title sponsor Nationwide Insurance. They gained eligibility based on their finishes in the most recent "Dash 4 Cash" race -- September 9 at Richmond. The highest finisher among the four at Charlotte will collect the cash award.

Wallace is scheduled to make his 519th career start in NASCAR's second-tier series this weekend. It will place him in a tie with Jason Keller for most all-time starts. Wallace is expected to top Keller's record in the November 5 race at Texas. The series is off for two weeks after Charlotte.

The 48-year-old Wallace made his Nationwide debut at Charlotte on May 27, 1989, finishing 12th. He is currently seventh in the point standings.

Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Paul Menard and Brian Vickers are those Sprint Cup Series regulars competing in this race.

Busch, a six-time Nationwide race winner at Charlotte, is back in the No.18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after taking a three-race hiatus. Joey Logano returns to Gibbs' No.20 car after driving the No.18 at Chicago, Dover and Kansas.

Fifty teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Dollar General 300.