Race Weekend Central

Elliott Sadler Wins In Wild Talladega Finish

It took a wild finish, a big crash and a long review, but Elliott Sadler finally returned victory lane.

Not bad a bad way to celebrate a 41st birthday.

Sadler got the better end of a late-race crash with Joey Logano and benefitted from the caution flag coming out before being passed by Brennan Poole to win the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway, his first win since May 4, 2014, and another victory at the Alabama track.

Sadler’s victory came drenched in controversy. Having pushed leader Logano from the beginning of a two-lap overtime sequence, Sadler found himself in position to make a move coming to the tri-oval.

First, Sadler went high. Logano blocked.

Sadler tried to dive low, but caught Logano’s bumper. Suddenly, Logano was sent sideways, bouncing off of Sadler and careening into the outside wall in a vicious crash that also caught Blake Koch. Both drivers were evaluated and released from the infield care center.

Trying to seize the moment, Poole and Justin Allgaier jumped outside of the slowed Sadler and battled to the finish line for what they thought was the win. Poole won the battle, and began celebrating what he thought was his first career victory.

Unbeknownst to Poole, the caution had flown when Logano crashed. Despite slowing heavily from the contact, Sadler was leading when the caution flew and therefore credited with the win.

Allgaier ended the day in second to give JR Motorsports a 1-2 finish, and their second-straight restrictor plate victory after Chase Elliott‘s win in Daytona. Poole closed out a wild afternoon in third, his first-career top five.

Jeremy Clements rallied in the late stages after leading seven laps to score a career-best fourth-place finish for his Jeremy Clements Racing team.

Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top five, with Austin Dillon slotting sixth to give Chevrolet the top six finishers. Daniel Suarez, Matt Tifft, Chase Elliott and Aric Almirola rounded out the top 10.

The day started on a rough note for Garrett Smithley. Running his first restrictor-plate race, Smithley was involved in an incident that sent Chris Cockrum and Joey Gase spinning toward the inside wall. However, Smithley rallied to score a 12th-place result, his career-best finish.

With his victory, Sadler becomes just the second driver to clinch a birth in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, joining Erik Jones.

There were six cautions over the course of the 116-lap event.

The NXS will return to action on May 14, when the series heads to Dover International Raceway.

Results, via NASCAR

About the author

A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

So if Sadler had spun out and not crossed the finish line he still would have won the race? After all, he was ahead when the caution light came on.

Share via