Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 11 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), earned a 13th-place finish in the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Sadler started 13th and immediately raced his way into the top-10. He was seventh by lap five around the 1.5-mile oval before the car developed a loose-handling condition whenever it exited the track’s corners. Sadler battled to maintain his top-10 position until the first round of green flag pit stops on lap 53 when he came to pit road for a track bar adjustment, four tires and fuel.
As Sadler returned to the race and the pit cycle was about to finish, NASCAR threw the first caution flag of the race for debris on lap 57, causing the No. 11 team to lose a lap to the leaders. He restarted as the second car one lap down on lap 69. Another quick caution followed for an accident in turn three on lap 71, but Chase Elliott was just ahead of Sadler and the Interstate Batteries driver remained a lap down.
A long green flag run put Sadler a second lap down while racing in 16th position on lap 125. By that time there were only eight cars on the lead lap as the leaders continued to set a blistering pace in the 200-lap race.
In the final 75 laps, Sadler and the Interstate Batteries team raced their way to 13th while battling a loose-handling racecar.
“The Interstate Batteries team really worked hard to get a good finish today at Las Vegas,” Sadler said. “We wanted a little better result, but I have to hand it to the guys on the pit box, in the garage and on pit road – no one gave up today. That first caution came out at a bad time, which kept us a lap down and that hurt us. I know if we could’ve got our lap back we could’ve raced some of those guys and had a better finish, but we head out of here third in points with something to build on.”
The race marked Sadler’s 233rd career Nationwide Series start and his eighth at Las Vegas. His best Nationwide Series finish at Las Vegas is third in 2012. He finished fifth last year in the No. 11 Interstate Batteries Toyota. In his eight Nationwide Series starts at Las Vegas, Sadler has two top-five, three top-10 and seven top-15 finishes. Dallas-based Interstate Batteries is the No. 1 replacement battery in North America and they are Outrageously Dependable.
Sadler’s JGR teammates – Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 54 Toyota Camry, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry, – finished second and sixth, respectively.