Elliott Sadler Charged for Las Vegas

To say Elliott Sadler is no stranger to racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway is an understatement. He drove in the track’s inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series event in 1997 and he’s competed at the 1.5-mile oval in either the NASCAR Sprint Cup or Nationwide Series every season since.

In total, Sadler boasts 19 career starts at Las Vegas – 12 in the Sprint Cup Series and seven in Nationwide. It’s a career statistic that spans nearly two decades.

After 17 years, Sadler still gets a kick out of racing in the Entertainment Capital of the World.

That kick gets a jolt for this weekend’s Boyd Gaming 300 Nationwide Series race in which Sadler will pilot the No. 11 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).  

Youthful enthusiasm and passion for the sport make it easy to forget that Sadler long ago made the transition from up-and-comer to NASCAR veteran. He’s raced, won and competed for championships in both of NASCAR’s top touring series. His career Nationwide Series record includes nine wins, 56 top-fives, 108 top-10s and 15 pole awards. And since returning to the series as a full-time competitor in 2011, the JGR driver has posted finishes of second, second and fourth in the season-long Nationwide Series championship races, respectively.

While the 2014 Nationwide Series season is a mere two races old, Sadler and his No. 11 JGR team have come out of the gate strong – scoring a fifth-place finish in the season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and a sixth-place finish last week at Phoenix International Raceway. It’s a start that places him third in the championship point standings, six points out of first, entering Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300.

In seven career Nationwide Series starts at Las Vegas, Sadler has scored two top-five finishes, three top-10s and one pole in March 2012. His average starting position is 8.3 and his average finish is 12.1. Aside from a 30th-place finish in his first-ever start at Las Vegas – the result of a late-race accident – Sadler has finished no worse than 14th.

Complementing Sadler’s traditional statistics at Las Vegas is his success in several of NASCAR’s loop data categories. He leads all drivers in average running position at 6.8 and is first among drivers fastest late in a run at 167.627 mph. He ranks top-five in a series of categories from fifth in fastest laps run to third in green-flag speed to second in speed by quarter. It all adds up to a 102.8 driver rating that places Sadler second among all drivers at Las Vegas.

This weekend’s race will be an anniversary of sorts for Sadler as it commemorates the second time he’s been paired with one of JGR’s founding partners in Interstate Batteries. Sadler raced his way to a fifth-place finish beneath the Interstate colors at Las Vegas one year ago. He hopes to improve on that performance this weekend with a trip to victory lane.