NASCAR »

Sadler wins delayed Gatorade opener.

Elliott Sadler survived a green white chequered flag finish to win Thursday's opening Gatorade 150 qualifier at the Daytona International Speedway as the Ford Fusion won its first NASCAR event.

Delayed by more than an hour, the first 60-lap qualifier contained plenty of drama as Sadler used a lightning fast mid-race pit stop to lead the final 36 laps of a race that was also stopped briefly shortly after half distance when light rain reappeared.

Carl Edwards followed Sadler for the majority of the final ten laps after surviving a near miss with Jimmie Johnson on turn three on lap 50 and crossed the line in second place with Dale Earnhardt Jr third after overcoming early handling woes.

Jimmie Johnson proved that he could still get the job done without the guidance of Chad Knaus as he finished fourth, despite a couple of mid-race scares in turn three, notably with Edwards and Sterling Marlin. Matt Kenseth, who started from the rear of the 29 car field after his tyre problem in Bud Pole qualifying, rallied to finish fifth ahead of former Roush teammate Kurt Busch, pole sitter Jeff Burton and defending Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart, whose bid for victory wasn't helped by a loose wheel following his first stop, which required a second pit stop shortly after the red flag for rain was removed.

As expected, the fight for the two 'transfer' spots into Sunday's Daytona 500 was fierce, with Kevin Lepage, Bill Elliott, Mike Skinner, Chad Chaffin and Derrike Cope all featuring prominently.

Chaffin's brave bid to get his #92 Front Row Motorsports Chevrolet into Sunday's big race ended with a spectacular tyre failure on lap 56, a failure that mirrored that of Paul Menard earlier in the race. Like Menard, Chaffin's bid for glory was over, although the debris from the front of his #92 machine played a further role in the race as Sterling Marlin ploughed into the back of a rapidly slowing Dale Jarrett under caution as the leaders swerved to avoid running over the mess.

The two lap restart saw Lepage, Skinner, Cope and Elliott all locked together, with Elliott's fresher tyres enabling him to get around Skinner and finish second behind an elated Lepage in the 'race within a race.' Behind Elliott, who was already guaranteed a spot in Sunday's race thanks to his qualifying time, Skinner and Cope barged together on the run to the flag but their efforts were in vain.

Lepage guaranteed his #61 Peak Performance team a spot in the Daytona 500 while Bill Elliott's run actually guaranteed Robby Gordon, fifth fastest in qualifying among the non top-35 teams and not even in the first Gatorade race, a place in Sunday's race.

In addition to Chaffin, Menard, Skinner and Cope, Larry Gunselman, Larry Foyt, Andy Belmont and Randy LaJoie also failed to qualify for Sunday's race and while Hermie Sadler chose to retire his overheating car early in the race, his qualifying time had already guaranteed him a spot in Sunday's race.

Chaffin and Menard's punctures and Marlin's brush with Jarrett aside, there were no other caution flag worthy incidents, with drivers appearing to obey NASCAR's rules regarding bump drafting in the specific 'no bumping' zones, namely in the turns and tri-oval. However, after examining the tyres from Menard, Chaffin and several others, NASCAR may have another problem on its hands on Sunday.








Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Elliott Sadler. [Pic Credit Getty Images]
04/29/05 Talladega. Carl Edwards showing Ortho sponsorship colors in Talladega qualified 21st.  Photo Credit: autostock
BROOKLYN, MI - JUNE 18:  Dale Earnhardt Jr. driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet reacts as he watches the leader board during qualifying for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Batman Begins 400 Qualifying on June 18, 2005 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits along with the rest of the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, takes the green flag waved by Evander Holyfield to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #32 Cartwheel by Target Chevrolet, leads the field to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Yuengling Light Lager Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on August 2, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.