Elliott Sadler, making his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) debut for Joe Denette Motorsports, led 53 laps and showcased a sporty performance in Wednesday night's O'Reilly 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) before contact with another competitor just passed half-way derailed the rookie team's victory bid.
Sadler began Wednesday's dual practice sessions posting the eighth and fifth-fastest times, respectively. However, time trials exemplified just how strong the No. 24 AM FM-Energy Chevrolet really was as the Emporia, VA native captured his second NCWTS Keystone Light Pole Award and the first pole award for Joe Denette Motorsports.
The Joe Denette Motorsports driver methodically raced his black and white rocket ship leading the charge in the event's first 53 laps. At lap 54, Sadler brought the No. 24 Chevrolet to the attention of his crew for four tires and fuel. When racing resumed on lap 58, the AM FM-Energy machine was scored eighth.
Over the next 41 circuits, Sadler worked his way up the leader board and was sitting in the third position when, on lap 99, the No. 18 machine came up the race track, making contact with the No. 24. The contact between the No. 24 & No. 18 resulted in the No. 18 spinning out.
The caution had yet to fall and the No. 18 remained on the track. Two laps later, Busch retaliated against the No. 24 machine, tagging him in the left rear quarter panel, sending him spinning down the race track. Sadler was forced to bring his AM FM-Energy Chevrolet down pit road twice under caution to repair the damage. When racing resumed on lap 108, Sadler was scored 22nd.
A fast truck, with damage, and a never give-up attitude allowed Sadler to battle his way back through the field and back into the top-10 by lap 182. One final sprint to the finish in the closing 10 laps allowed Sadler to gain one more position to finish ninth behind race winner, Kevin Harvick.
This was Sadler's track-best finish in two prior NCWTS starts at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Elliott Sadler Quotes:
"Earlier in the race, Kyle Busch really ran me high and ran me into the wall, and I l let him go. That time, I honestly don't think his spotter let him know I was on the outside of him. I mean, he came up and I was there, I didn't have time to check-up or anything. So, I think it was more between him and his spotter. He just wrecked his self. I just hate that he thinks that it's my fault and came and wrecked us. He tore up a good truck, and we had a chance to win tonight. I just think it was good, hard racing. Track position was worth a lot tonight. I know he is mad and upset, but I just wish he would go back and watch the tape. I was on the outside of him. I think it's just something he and his spotter need to talk about, as far as him letting Kyle know I was there."
"On restarts, everyone knew you had to get to the top, I think that's where all the frustration came from. We all knew you had to get to the top, and if you got in front of someone, it would be really hard for them to pass. I think earlier in the race, when I got away from everybody, got away from the 18, we were two-tenths faster than everybody. I think they knew they had to be in front of me to have a chance to beat us."
"I hate it for my guys; Joe Denette built me a good truck tonight, everyone from AM FM-Energy was here in a support. We sat on the pole, led a lot of laps and I guess it just wasn't meant to be."
"I've never had any problems racing Busch. We gave and took a little bit tonight, but now we both have torn up trucks and neither one of us had a good night. I guess that's just racing at Bristol though."
Joe Denette Motorsports PR