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Nationwide: Sadler revived by Chicago win

An unwell Elliott Sadler got the best tonic that a NASCAR Nationwide driver can hope for, when his Sunday afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway ended up in victory lane.
NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader Elliott Sadler was sick as a dog going into the Sunday afternoon STP 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway - but he looked and felt a whole let better when he ended up in victory lane a little over two hours later.

"I'm still not 100 percent, but it feels good to win here in Chicago," said Sadler after claiming his third win of the season. "We drank a lot of fluids and I had to have a few IVs just to stay hydrated."

No one could have told from his performance behind the wheel once the adrenaline kicked in that Sadler was feeling so sickly, but it still took a while for him to come to life after starting the race from 15th position.

It was Sam Hornish Jr. who got the best start when the green flag came out, pulling away from polesitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who was left fending off the advances of Austin Dillon. Once that scrap was resolved, Stenhouse regrouped and led Dillon past Hornish to take the lead, although he had a scare halfway through when his car got loose in turn 2 and took off toward the wall, momentarily handing Hornish back the top spot before Stenhouse got things under control again.

After that, Stenhouse was in the lead until lap 48 when green flag pit stops began. Kyle Busch had been running up in third place by this point but got handed a pit lane speeding penalty, while Brendan Gaughan was penalised for hitting the commitment cone on entry. The track went yellow seconds later when Jamie Dick cruised to a halt on the track apron.

Stenhouse led at the restart on lap 60 ahead of Hornish, Cole Whitt, Parker Kligerman, Brian Scott and Dillon, but Hornish got the better run and pulled away on the inside line. It took Stenhouse 16 laps to muster up what he needed to dive back under Hornish for the top spot again, but once he was there he was secure in the position through to the next round of pit stops, which started under green soon after lap 100.

Stenhouse himself was one of the last cars to came in on lap 108, just before a debris caution came out. That gave Stenhouse another restart face-off with Hornish to survive, and this time he did better and retained the lead; Dillon, Kligerman and Scott continued to shadow the leaders; Elliott Sadler had also slowly worked his way up from loitering in the mid-teens to start to nudge into the top five for the first time.

A third yellow came out on lap 128 when Brad Sweet almost but not quite managed to catch a spun. Stenhouse faked a move to pit road under the caution that was perhaps a little too convincing, because many of the leaders did indeed decide to come on to pit road: Sadler was pleased to get a service after complaining that the #2 car was way too loose, while Justin Allgaier had the opposite problem with the #31 being way too tight and Hornish just went for fuel and a few tweaks but waved off a change of tyres.

That left Stenhouse fighting with Kligerman for the lead at the restart, while Dillon, Scott and Whitt had also stayed out of pit lane - but it was Sadler with his improved set-up and fresh set of tyres who was able to rapidly surge past them to settle into third place. Up ahead, Stenhouse was once again proving that the longer the run, the better the #6 looked as he started to pull out a lead of around two seconds over Kligerman by the time it came to pit stops under green around lap 165 for those who hadn't pitted under the previous caution.




Related Pictures

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Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the #12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #6 Rancher`s Reserve/Dominick`s/Cargill Ford, lead cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 22, 2012, in Joliet, Ill. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Elliott Sadler, driver of the #2 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet, celebrates winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 22, 2012, in Joliet, Ill. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 GameStop/Rock Candy Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, burn out as Crafton celebrates winning the series championship and Wallace celebrates winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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