INDIANAPOLIS— Elliott Sadler will start from the pole from Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the running of the Lilly Diabetes 250. Sadler was able to beat Erik Jones at the line by .004 seconds to score his first pole of 2017.
Sadler posted the second fastest speed in the first round of qualifying at 164.760 mph. E. Jones was the fastest in the opening round at 165.089 mph. William Byron was third fastest in the opening round at 164.045 mph. Michael Annett was fourth fastest at 164.045 mph. Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five in the opening round at 163.931 mph.
For Ky. Busch, he was attempting to go for his fourth straight pole at Indianapolis in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. However, that streak is came to an end in the second round of qualifying. Busch posted the 11th fastest speed in the round at 163.610 mph.
Sadler will start from the pole. E. Jones will start second. Byron will start third with his speed of 164.573 mph. Justin Allgaier will start fourth with his speed of 164.402 mph. Annett will round out the top-five with his speed of 164.258 mph.
Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Ryan Sieg, Ben Kennedy, and Ryan Reed round out the top-10.
The Lilly Diabetes 250 from Indianapolis will be broadcasted on NBCSN and IMS Radio Network at 3:30 p.m. ET.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— With three red flags and nine caution flags during the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250, finding that mojo was difficult to come by.
Once the race completed the second stage, drivers ratcheted up the intensity and made moves that were not seen during the first two stages. Dakoda Armstrong and Elliott Sadler discussed the flow of the race:
“A little bit. The race was pretty weird. With all the rain, everyone was kinda calm, for the most part. There really wasn't a big wreck until the end. Everybody was willing to ride more in the first two stages. I think the rain played a part in that. It was kinda restarting the race from the beginning every time. I feel like that was the best I’ve seen the field do as far as being aggressive and moving and not just tearing up stuff. It was kinda weird the way it played out, it probably helped everyone’s nerves. For me, we were ready to get it over with. We knew this could hurt us or help us. Luckily, we were on the good side of it,” said Armstrong.
“It just seemed short to me because you start-stop-start-stop. I think everybody was kinda calm until we knew that we got to lap 60, the next weather rain would end it because we knew we had to get everything ready for Cup. Cars started getting more aggressive. I saw bump drafting a lot more, more side drafting, more three-wide. The first half of the race was calm. Everybody knew once we got to lap 60, things had to change. You kinda saw that,” said Sadler.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— For the second week in a row, William Byron was able to score the victory in the rain-marred Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 from Daytona International Speedway.
Byron was sent to the back of the field at the beginning of the race and then in the middle of the race due to issues with the splitter, but was able to work his way to the front to win at Daytona.
"Man it's awesome. These Daytona fans are really cool. I came here for a Daytona 500 when I was a kid ... this is so cool to win at Daytona. I can't even imagine it. These guys brought a great JRM car and hopefully Dale can get it done (tonight). This is is really cool for our team and just really proud of everybody," Byron stated to NBCSN.
This is Byron’s first victory at Daytona International Speedway. He was also the highest finishing rookie in the event.
After running up front and narrowly missing a couple wrecks, Elliott Sadler finished second. Sadler was also able to score a stage point by winning the second stage.
“The Chevrolet was fast all day. We won a stage. We finished second, ah. A 1-2 finish for JRM is a really good day for us,” Sadler stated to NBCSN after the race.
Being in the right place at the right time payed dividends as Dakota Armstrong finished third.
“We had some damage. A good day for us surviving. Two good weeks in a row for us. Good momentum for us going into the points. Everyone’s working hard, it was awesome. Good day for our whole team,” Armstrong stated to NBCSN.
Jeb Burton, David Starr, Brennan Poole, Joey Logano, Joey Gase, Brendan Gaughan, and BJ McLeod rounded out the top-five.
The Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 was delayed twice by rain and then once for cleanup on the track. The caution flew nine times for 35 laps. There were 18 lead changes amongst 10 different divers. The time of race was two hours, 13 minutes, and 56 seconds. The average speed was 116.476 mph. Blake Koch and Sadler won the first two stages.
Sadler extends his points lead to 59 points over Byron.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a trip to Kentucky Speedway for a Friday night spectacular, the Alsco 300. The race will air on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network at 8:00 p.m. EDT.
TALLADGEA, Al— After a last lap charge from the back of the field, Aric Almirola was able to hold off the charge to win the Sparks Energy 300 from Talladega Superspeedway. Darrell Wallace, Jr. and Ryan Siege spun on the backstretch, but the caution did not fall. Almirola lost the draft after a long green flag run in the final stage, but a caution flew for debris giving Almirola the chance to head to victory lane.
“It means so much. First, I want to thank God. And then I want to thank Fresh from Florida and everybody at this Biagi DenBeste race team. They let me run this thing seven or eight times a year and I have so much fun, especially at the speedway races. Doug Yates brings some awesome horsepower and our Ford Mustang was super-fast. I knew it right from the beginning of practice. We ran about 10 laps in practice and I said, ‘Put it on jack stands. We’re ready to go. This thing is fast.’ What an awesome day. I feel really bad about the 16. I got in the back of the 16 and tore up a lot of cars there, but I got a good push and I got in the back of him. I was trying to help him, trying to make the Fords work together and I hooked him, so I feel sorry about that. But an awesome job. I told the kids we were gonna get soaking wet again. They’ve talked about Daytona for a year and it’s just awesome to get this Fresh from Florida Ford Mustang into Victory Lane, so we’ll drink down a cold glass of orange juice and get ready to qualify.”
This is the third career win for Almirola in the NASCAR Xfintiy Series. This is Biagi-DenBetse first win since July 2016 at Daytona.
Elliott Sadler finished second in the Sparks Energy 300. Sadler hit the wall early in the first stage after a charge from Logano. Sadler and his JR Motorsports team worked on the car all day long to finish in the second position. Although he finished second, Sadler was disappointed in the finish.
“I really wanted to win this race today. I came up a little short. I am proud of my guys for battling getting us back to where we need to be, one spot short today,” said Sadler post-race.
Joey Logano finished third in the race. Logano was a contender for most of the race, but debris on the grill towards the end of the final stage gave Justin Allgaier the lead. Logano also had to hit pit road at the conclusion of the second stage to make sure that his lug nuts were tight for the final stage.
"Man we were so close, aggravating, but so much fun. I love racing here at Talladega in these XFINITY cars. The draft is so crazy and different. The runs come so quick and it's hard to block them. You have to physically block them with your car and it's really tight. We came through (Turns) 3 and 4, I thought I had a run and Aric was late to block and I was like, 'This is could be where it all ends (laughs)'. (He) got there just in time and I just got into his rear and had to cross him over. Dang it! I had a good push there at the end with the 2 car and we just couldn't stay attached like we needed to. If the caution came out sooner, we would have won the race. I'm glad they let us race to the end. Selfishly, I wish the caution came out, but for the fans I'm glad that it didn't. We did everything that we could do."
The Sparks Energy Solutions 300 was slowed five times by caution for 20 laps. The red flag was displayed twice for a combined time of 20 minutes and 33 seconds. There were 27 lead changes amongst 13 different drivers.
Sadler continues to hold a 29 point lead over second place driver Justin Allgaier.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series has two off weekends before the Hisense 4K TV 300 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. That race will be on May 27th at 1:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Performance Racing Network.
Before his recent win to advance in the chase at Kentucky Speedway in the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300, Elliott Sadler conducted a interview with Speedway Digest about his 2016 and the NASCAR Xfinity Series Chase:
What are your strengths and weaknesses this season?
I don’t really know if we’ve had many weaknesses. We’ve had lots of strengths. We probably excelled on the mile-and-a-halfs a little bit better than we did at other places, maybe in the speedway races. I haven’t had many weaknesses this year. I think that is why we were able to accumulate such a lead in the regular season, and have so many top-six place finishes. We’ve been pretty fortunate this year.
Do you feel as if you have momentum going into the chase?
Yeah, we definitely do. We feel like we got some momentum. Especially coming off a great run like we had in Darlington a couple weeks ago then Richmond then Chicago. Three top-fives in a row usually gets some good momentum on your side.
Who will be your biggest challenger within the next seven races?
I’d say the Gibbs cars. They’ve been extremely strong all year long. I don’t see anything else changing. they’re definitely going to be the guys you have to bet each and every round.
Does experience help going through the chase?
I don’t think so. I don’t think experience had anything to do with it. It’s not like I’m a quarterback trying to read a defense over top a freshman quarterback trying to read a defense. Its all about racing, having a fast car, and putting a race together.
Has JRM been one of your best fits in your return to Xfinity competition?
They’ve definitely been a good fit for me. Dale and Kelly have given me a great opportunity. It is definitely a lot of fun racing for this team. We want to try and go out and make the most of it, and hopefully finish the season on a high note.
What will be your strongest and weakest track over the chase?
We are not looking at it like that. We hope Homestead is going to be our strongest race. The ultimate goal is to win a championship and Homestead is where you’re really going to have to have the best run at. Hopefully the peak of our season will come with an amazing run at Homestead.
Where do you see the state of motorsports and NASCAR as a whole?
We still have a lot of great fans coming to the track every week. Our social and digital ratings are up by a lot. There is lots of great sponsors involved in our sport. Our fans are by far the most loyal. I think right now our sport as a whole is in pretty good shape and in pretty good hands.