Despite being under the weather throughout the weekend, Elliott Sadler prevailed in a green-white-checkered finish to win Sunday's Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway and collect a $100,000 bonus in the process.
Sadler, who has been suffering from a stomach virus, grabbed the lead during a late-race round of pit stops. A crash involving Kyle Busch and Brendan Gaughan with less than 10 laps remaining setup the two-lap overtime finish.
Sam Hornish Jr. bumped into the back of Busch, causing him to run into Gaughan before they hit the outside wall. Before the caution, Sadler held a one-second lead over Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who started on the pole and dominated most of the race with 135 laps led. Stenhouse ran in 10th after a restart with less than 30 laps to go, but the defending series champion quickly made his way up to the second spot.
Stenhouse and Justin Allgaier, who won this race last year, attempted to pass Sadler for the lead after the final restart, but Sadler pulled away on the last lap and then finished 0.33 seconds ahead of Stenhouse for his third win of the season and the eighth of his Nationwide career.
"I'm still not 100 percent, but it feels good to win here in Chicago," Sadler said. "My wife (Amanda) and I came here with another couple, which also happens to be my doctor, and we had to put him to work. I drank a lot of fluids, and I had to have a few IVs just to stay hydrated."
With the win, Sadler increased his lead to 11 points over rookie and Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon, who finished sixth. Stenhouse is now 19 points behind.
Sadler was one of the four drivers eligible for the $100,000 Nationwide "Dash 4 Cash" award. Stenhouse, Hornish and Dillon were the others. Sadler is automatically eligible for the third bonus round, which will be held next weekend when the series competes at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time.
"It was a big win," Sadler said. "We won the Dash 4 Cash. We kept our lead in the points. and we go now to Indianapolis next week for the first-ever Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
Allgaier ended up finishing third, followed by Kenny Wallace and Michael Annett.
"We were trying to get to Elliott and working both the high and low line," Allgaier said. "We just couldn't hold off Ricky at the end."
Parker Kligerman, Hornish, Cole Whitt and Ryan Truex completed the top-10.
Hornish took the blame for the wreck involving Busch and Gaughan.
I feel real bad about it," Hornish said. "I looked down because it looked like one of our hood pins was coming loose. Then I looked up and got right into the back of Kyle's car. I get along real well with Kyle, and while he had already gotten on his plane and flown out, I apologized to (Kyle Busch Motorsports General Manager) Rick Ren and also apologized to Brendan."
Danica Patrick placed 14th in her home state, while Travis Pastrana finished one lap behind in 17th.