Racin’ with Russ - There’s an old racing adage that states, “I’d rather be lucky, than good.” This could have been the moniker for Nationwide driver Elliott Sadler after having the right circumstances in landing his latest win, this one at Chicagoland Speedway.
Sadler entered the latest race under the weather with stomach issues, but kept up his fluids and toughed it out on Sunday afternoon to not only win the race and stay atop the points, but also picked up an extra $100,000 for landing the Dash-For-Cash program from Nationwide.
As far as luck is concerned, Sadler was in the right place at the right time to inherit the lead, a situation Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had a stranglehold on for most of the race, leading over 200 miles.
The change up front occurred late in the race, just one lap after several of the leaders including Stenhouse made their last pit stop and a caution came out for an errant spin by Brad Sweet, trapping several top runners such as Stenhouse deep in the pack.
Once underway, Stenhouse rose to the front like a man possessed and up to second spot in a matter of laps. Then, with just a handful of laps remaining, a final green-white-checker scenario saw Stenhouse have one more shot at the big bucks and the win but, with a healthy shove from fellow Chevy driver Justin Allgaier, Sadler managed to stay out in front of Stenhouse to take his third checkered flag of the season.
Not far behind Stenhouse at the stripe included the cars of Allgaier, Kenny Wallace and Michael Annett. Danica Patrick had yet another lackluster day by starting 13th and finishing 14th, pretty much driving mid-pack all day.
Sadler comes away with an 11-point lead over Austin Dillon and a 19-point advantage over Stenhouse.
The Camping World truck series also competed in Chicago with James Buescher making a late race charge to earn his third win of the season.
Brendan Gaughan led quite a few laps and earned second place, just ahead of Timothy Peters, Matt Crafton and Parker Kligerman. Peters' latest finish keeps him atop the standings by 23 over Ty Dillon and 30 over Justin Lofton.
Of special interest to Buescher’s win was that it came despite going down two laps due to a carburetor change much earlier in the race. The boy certainly got up on the wheel to do so. I can’t wait to see him in a Cup car.
For the very first time, there will be three series competing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend and I applaud whoever came up with the concept.
Yes, the Sprint Cup cars will be back on Sunday, a tradition started in 1994 when Jeff Gordon won the first of three Brickyard trophies.
The normal situation for the Nationwide side of things was to have them compete nearby at the much smaller IRP racetrack the night before. This year, the Nationwide series will compete on Saturday afternoon at the famed 2.5 mile oval.
And finally, the third series to run during the weekend will be the sporty car set of Grand Am competitors running on Friday afternoon around the twisty bits of the infield course.
Open Wheel News
Indy Car driver Helio Castroneves managed to hold off late race charges from fellow driver Takuma Sato to win his second race of the year, this one on the temporary course in Edmonton, Canada.
Across the pond, Fernando Alonso won his third Formula One race of the year, this one in Germany, holding off a hard charging Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen. Alonso extends his points lead over Mark Webber by 34 points.
Certainly the top of Rumorville news is what will happen with A.J. Allmendinger after Tuesday’s “B” test. Reports indicate from owner Penske that if the results come back negative, he will be behind the wheel of two cars already on the Indy rosters.
Otherwise, A.J. will be suspended indefinitely by NASCAR, with the possibility of reinstatement only after going through NASCAR’s substance abuse reinstatement program. (Motorsport.com)
That’s it for this week. Next week, RWR will review the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup action from Indy, along with more racing news from around the globe.