Elliott Sadler rebounded nicely Saturday night from crushing disappointment in last week’s Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Sadler dominated the closing miles and won Saturday’s U.S. Cellular 250 Nationwide race at Iowa Speedway to build on his series point lead.
A controversial call by NASCAR resulted in a penalty for Sadler on a restart at Indy, and Sadler carried his displeasure from that event into the Iowa weekend. He won the pole Saturday afternoon and turned back pretenders Saturday night to score the win.
The victory, Sadler’s fourth of the season, gives him an 18-point lead over Austin Dillon.
“It’s been a tough week,” Sadler said. “We really felt like we should have won that race last week. My dad told me this week, ‘Do not let them take this championship from you. Go to Iowa and kick their butts.’
“We were in the right place at the right time tonight. This win feels really good.”
Sadler’s victory completed a big Saturday for team owner Richard Childress. Earlier in the day at Pocono Raceway, Joey Coulter won in a Richard Childress Racing truck. Childress will have a shot at a weekend triple in Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.
Following Sadler to the finish were Justin Allgaier, Sam Hornish Jr., Michael Annett and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Hornish was the top finisher among the Nationwide Dash For Cash drivers, and won a $100,000 bonus, plus $100,000 for a fan.
Allgaier was .649 of a second behind Sadler at the finish after leading 101 laps.
Two young drivers scored finishes in the second five, Darrell Wallace Jr. taking seventh in his second series race and Brett Moffitt finishing ninth in his series debut. Ryan Blaney, another youngster, was 10th.
Danica Patrick finished 11th after brushing the wall late in the race.
Wallace started the race in second and jumped past pole winner Sadler into the lead at the green flag. He stayed out front for the first 36 laps before giving way to Dillon.
Dillon stayed in front for 20 straight laps and led 53 overall, but he fell off the lead lap about halfway through the race when he pitted with a strong vibration. He finished 15th, the first driver a lap down.
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.