BRISTOL, Tenn. — Elliott Sadler went 14 years without a victory in the Nationwide Series. Now, he has two in the past three weeks.
Sadler picked up his second victory of the season Saturday when his crew chief left him out on the track on old tires during the final caution at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The call put Sadler in the lead on the final restart, with 28 laps remaining, and he easily held off Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski.
Prior to his win two weeks ago at Phoenix, Sadler had not won in the Nationwide Series since Oct. 31, 1998, at Rockingham. That also was the last season he won multiple races on the Nationwide Series, and the year he scored his only other win at Bristol in the second-tier series.
“To win two of the first four races is awesome, and we've got to keep adding to them. There's blood in the water,” said Sadler, the Nationwide Series points leader.
“After what I've been through the last couple of years in racing, this damn sure feels good.”
Sadler raced to his first career Sprint Cup victory at Bristol in 2001, when he stayed out on old tires and pulled off an improbable victory.
Crew chief Luke Lambert was a senior in high school watching that 2001 race from the grandstands, and decided Saturday to borrow that strategy.
Kyle Busch brought out the final caution of the race with 38 laps to go, and most everyone headed to the pits. Lambert left Sadler on the track, even as Sadler protested the decision.
“That was a great call by Luke. He reminded me I won a race here in 2001 by doing the same thing, staying out,” Sadler said.
Kahne finished second and was followed by Brad Keselowski, who praised Sadler's Richard Childress Racing car.
“I am sure a lot of people will make a lot about Elliott staying out there, but he had a fast car,” Keselowski said. “He drove by me under green there, right before the yellow came out, and I think he was legitimately running the fastest lap times.
“He had a fast car. You can't say he won that in strategy in my mind. He's been doing a good job.”