Sadler is among the top
Nationwide Series drivers
He finished second at Kentucky last year
This year marks Elliott Sadler’s 17th season in the Nationwide Series with 230 starts, nine wins, 15 pole awards, 55 top-five finishes and 106 top-10 finishes. Pretty impressive for a guy who began racing go-karts at age 7.
Born in Emporia, Va., Sadler is the younger brother of former NASCAR driver, Hermie Sadler. He holds the distinction of being only one of 23 drivers who have at least one win in each of NASCAR’s top three series.
Sadler has more than 17 years of experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, racking up a total of 685 starts, 13 wins and 25 pole awards. And he’s not finished yet.
He has his sights set on becoming the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship in 2014. On Friday, June 27, Sadler will compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ “John R. Elliott HERO Campaign” race at Kentucky Speedway. Teaming with Joe Gibbs Racing for a second consecutive season, he will pilot the No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Last year at the Kentucky Speedway, Sadler placed second behind winner Brad Kesolowski, who won after a red flag rain stoppage with 30 laps remaining in the scheduled 200-lap race.
Sadler began his racing career in go-karts, earning more than 200 total wins. Upon turning 18, he moved to the Winston Racing Series in 1993 and began running heavier stock cars full-time.
He was a six-sport athlete in high school, participating in football, basketball, cross country, soccer and golf. Sadler was recruited by more than 20 universities to play college basketball and accepted a basketball scholarship from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. Injuring his knee before his freshman season, he eventually left college to focus on racing.
Sadler moved up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time in 1999, signing with the Wood Brothers. He drove the No. 21 Citgo Ford Taurus. In addition, he returned to the Nationwide Series on a part-time basis.
In 2001, Motorcraft was Sadler's new sponsor, and he won his first career Cup race at Bristol. This marked the first win for the Wood Brothers in eight years.
After four seasons, Sadler moved to Robert Yates Racing, driving the No. 38 M&Ms Ford. He had a very successful season, clinching a position in the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Sadler was one of four drivers to remain in the top 10 in the driver championship point standings the entire season and rounded out the year with two wins, eight top-five and 14 top-10 finishes.
Sadler continued his climb to the top, beginning 2004 with a top-10 finish in the Daytona 500. He also won six races Texas Motor Speedway for his second career win, remaining in the top-10 in points all season. He drove 16 races for Robert Yates Racing’s Busch car, No. 90 CitiFinancial Taurus.
After three racing seasons with Robert Yates Racing, Sadler joined Gillett Evernham Motorsports midway through 2006 as the driver of the No. 19 Sprint Cup Series entry.
Sadler had many ups and downs throughout the season 2007 season. Before the start of the 2007 Daytona 500, he was among many drivers caught in a cheating scandal. Despite being docked 25 points, he still went on to score a season best sixth-place finish.
The 2008 season brought several new sponsorships in the form of Best Buy for 15 races, Stanley Works for 13 races, McDonald’s for six races, and Siemens for two races. But the 2008 racing season proved to be a struggle for Sadler and he ended the year 24th in the Sprint Cup Series standings.
In 2009, Gillett Evernham Motorsports teamed with Petty Enterprises to create Richard Petty Motorsports. Sadler then found himself behind the wheel of the No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge in the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season.
In 2010 Sadler announced he would be leaving the No. 19 Ford after the 2010 season. He ran a part-time schedule in the Camping World Truck Series in the No. 2 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Silverado for Kevin Harvick Inc. In the No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado, he won his first NASCAR race in six years at Pocono Raceway in July 2010.
He also drove the No. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick Inc. in the Nationwide Series. He took the championship points lead in the Nationwide Series after the 11th race in the 2011 season. He finished second in points with 24 top-10 finishes in 34 events. Sadler was voted the 2011 Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver by the fans.
The end of the 2011 season saw Kevin Harvick Inc.’s Nationwide Series operations absorbed by Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Sadler moved to RCR for the 2012 season, remaining behind the wheel of the No. 2 car. He also ran in the 2012 Daytona 500 for RCR in the No. 33 Chevrolet.
On March 3, 2012, Sadler won the Nationwide Series Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix, marking his first win since October 1998 at North Carolina Motor Speedway, a span of 91 races. On March 17, Sadler won at Bristol. This made it the first year since the mid-1990s that the first four NNS races had been won by non-Sprint Cup drivers.
In addition to running the full Nationwide Series schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing, Sadler competed in three Sprint Cup Series events for the team, driving the No. 81 Toyota. In 2013 the team remained in the top-five driver championship point standings for most of the season, finishing fourth with nine top-five and 20 top-10 finishes and 150 laps led.
After a winless streak, Sadler won the 2014 Aaron’s 312 by defending Chris Buescher and Regan Smith. This was his first win since 2012 and his first with Gibbs.
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