Sadler, Stenhouse Jr. resume points battle at Texas

After taking last week off, the Nationwide Series will run its final three races of the season, beginning with Saturday's 300-mile event at Texas Motor Speedway.

Elliott Sadler currently holds a six-point lead over Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the defending Nationwide champion, and a 26-point advantage over rookie Austin Dillon, who is Sadler's teammate at Richard Childress Racing.

Stenhouse won the Oct. 20 race at Kansas after he miraculously bounced back from an accident with pole sitter Joey Logano and then a two-lap deficit during the mid-stages of the event. Stenhouse has won six races this season. Five of those victories have come on 1.5-mile racetracks -- Las Vegas (March 10), Texas (April 13), Atlanta (Sept. 1), Chicagoland (Sept. 15) and Kansas.

"We're taking our Chicago car that we won with back to Texas," Stenhouse said. "We're going to take our setup that we won with at Texas earlier in the year on that race car, so we feel like we'll have a good showing at Texas."

Two of the last three races will be contested on the mile and a half tracks -- Texas and Homestead (Nov. 17). Phoenix (Nov. 10) is one mile in length.

Sadler has performed well on the mile and a halves this year as well. He won the July 22 race at Chicagoland and finished third at both Las Vegas and Charlotte (Oct. 12). Sadler placed 12th at Texas earlier this season.

"We had a pretty good run there in the spring, but a bad vibration toward the end of the race hurt our chances," Sadler said. "I've had success at Texas in the past, including a win in the Sprint Cup Series in 2004, so I'd love to add a Nationwide Series win to it this weekend. Every race, every point is important as we head into the final stretch."

Dillon's average finish of 4.8 on the 1.5-mile tracks this year is tops among the top-three drivers in points. His average starting position of 2.8 at those tracks is also the best among them. Dillon started on the pole and won both Kentucky races this season. He finished fifth at Texas in April.

"We're still in this championship hunt, but it is so hard to gain points in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, because the top competitors finish so close to each other each week," Dillon said. "You never know what is going to happen coming down to the last three races on the schedule, but I can say for sure that our No. 3 team will be giving 110 percent."

Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman are those Sprint Cup Series regulars competing in this race. This will be Newman's first Nationwide event of the season. He is driving the No. 30 Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports. His last appearance in the series came in Feb. 2011 at Phoenix.

Forty-seven teams are on the preliminary entry list for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, Nov. 3. Race: O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge. Site: Texas Motor Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 7:30 p.m.(ET). Laps: 200. Miles: 300. 2011 Winner: Trevor Bayne. Television: ESPN. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.