Elliott Sadler’s week began with optimism, and confidence that could be seen from space. The driver was excited to seal the deal on his first NASCAR Nationwide Series — or any major NASCAR Series — championship of his career. However after Saturday night’s race in Texas Motor Speedway all Sadler could feel was frustration.
Sadler came into the night with a six point lead over the driver of the No. 6 car, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and it appeared that he would add a little bit of cushion to that lead at night’s end. However it wasn’t meant to be.
Stenhouse restarted 14th on lap 160, while Sadler took off from the front of the pack. Stenhouse methodically began working his way through the field, and by the final caution of the race, on lap 177 Stenhouse found himself in fourth place. It was under this caution that Sadler and Stenhouse both opted to stay on the racetrack rather than pit like the majority of the field did for tires.
Stenhouse held suit near the front, while Sadler began to fade — so too did his hopes of hanging on to the point lead for another week.
When the checkered flag flew, and Kevin Harvick was smoking the tires on another Nationwide Series win at Texas, his teammate Elliott Sadler was wondering what could have been as he was scored on the Texas Motor Speedway scoring pylon in 11th-place.
Jeff Gluck at SBNation was able to catch up with Sadler after the race and Sadler said,”We got to run better if we want to win the championship. We got to make better adjustments. Maybe I’ve got to do a better job communicating. We’ve got some stuff to work on moving forward.”
It just goes to show you how quickly things can flip in NASCAR. Sadler was beaming with joy before the race now he finds himself playing catchup with just a couple of races to go in the 2012 season.