AVONDALE, Ariz. — Elliott Sadler took the lead after a late caution and held on down the stretch to win his first Nationwide race in 14 years at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.
A former full-time driver in the Sprint Cup series, Sadler started eighth and didn’t get near the lead until the end of the race. He passed Brad Keselowski after a caution with 33 laps left and wasn’t really challenged on the way to his sixth career Nationwide win – first in 91 races in the series.
Keselowski finished second and defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was third. Kevin Harvick led the most laps, but finished fifth behind Austin Dillon.
Danica Patrick finished 21st.
Keselowski and Stenhouse stayed with Sadler over the final 25 laps but weren’t able to get close enough to make a move.
Sadler signed on with Kevin Harvick’s Nationwide team in 2011 and was the runner-up to Stenhouse in the season standings despite not winning a race. Harvick got out of ownership to start a family and his team was absorbed by Richard Childress Racing this season.
INDYCAR BOYCOTT? IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said the series will race as planned at Texas this season, and there was never talk about a driver boycott.
Rumors of a possible boycott stem from drivers’ concerns about fencing at Texas. Two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon was killed in an October crash when his head hit a post in the fence at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The fence at Texas is constructed the same way, with the posts inside the mesh wiring. Texas president Eddie Gossage says Speedway Motorsports Inc. engineers are confident that’s the best construction.
Bernard says drivers asked him this week to see the engineering reports from Texas. He also said a May 7 test is scheduled to address the pack racing that led to Wheldon’s accident.