Richard Childress Racing teammates finished sixth (Austin Dillon), 22nd (Elliott Sadler) and 26th (Brendan Gaughan). Sadler ranks second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, 20 points shy of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s lead, while Dillon ranks third in the standings, 25 markers behind the leader. The No. 2 team is third in the Nationwide Series owner championship point standings, trailing the No. 18 team by 53 points, with the No. 3 team fourth in the standings and the No. 33 team fifth. Dillon leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings over Cole Whitt.
Elliott Sadler and OneMain Financial Team Finish 22nd at Phoenix International Raceway Following Late-Race Incident
Elliott Sadler and the OneMain Financial team finished 22nd in the 32nd NASCAR Nationwide Series event of the season following an incident late in the race at Phoenix International Raceway. During qualifying, Sadler hit the wall on the second lap of the run, forcing the team to bring out the back-up No. 2 Chevrolet. The OneMain Financial team worked diligently to get the Chevrolet ready for the 200-lap race and when the green flag was displayed, Sadler dropped to the back of the field per NASCAR rules. The driver methodically worked his way through the pack, moving into the top 10 by lap 74. Sadler moved into the fourth position for a lap-93 restart, but was pushed to the outside groove and shuffled back to 15th in the running order. Forced to work his way forward again, Sadler continued to fight for every position. While battling two competitors for position on lap 199 of the scheduled 200-lap event, the No. 2 machine made contact with another car, causing major damage to the front and rear of the white and blue Chevrolet and requiring NASCAR officials to display the red flag for 10 minutes to clean up oil and debris on the race track. Crew chief Luke Lambert called the No. 2 Chevrolet down pit road to fix the damage, and Sadler returned to the track to take the checkered flag in the 22nd position. Sadler sits in the second spot in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings, 20 points behind the leader with one race remaining.
Start – 38 Finish – 22 Laps Led – 0 Points – 2nd (-20)
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTE: “It’s hard to even put into words how disappointed I feel. The OneMain Financial team fought so hard today, and we overcame a lot but couldn’t pull it off. We head to Homestead (Miami Speedway) next week with an open mind, and one more battle on the track.”
Austin Dillon Drives the No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet to a Sixth-Place Finish at Phoenix
Austin Dillon secured his 26th top-10 finish after 32 NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season, surviving numerous cautions and a green-white-checker finish at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday. Dillon started Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet from the third position and remained a top-five contender throughout a majority of the scheduled 200-lap affair despite developing a tight-handling condition as the race progressed. Numerous caution periods throughout the event provided the Danny Stockman-led team ample opportunities to make adjustments to the black No. 3 Chevrolet on pit road and Dillon visited his pit stall on five separate occasions, receiving various combinations of four-tire, two-tire, track bar and air pressure adjustments. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender was scored in the fifth position when he made his final pit stop of the race under caution on lap 150 but several other teams opted to stay on the track, placing Dillon in the 11th spot when green-flag racing resumed with 47 laps remaining. While battling for position, Dillon was tapped from behind and shuffled to the top of the race track before falling to 17th in the running order. Dillon regrouped, gained momentum and used several late-race restarts to power his way forward, ultimately securing a sixth-place finish. He remains third in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings.
Start – 3 Finish – 6 Laps Led – 0 Points – 3rd
AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: “I feel like this is about the millionth time we have finished sixth this season. It seems to be a common theme. We just missed the setup a little bit this weekend but we are a rookie team and still learning. Overall I am happy with our finish and excited because we are building a notebook and learning things this year that will make us even better next year in the Nationwide Series.”
Brendan Gaughan Relegated to a 26th-Place Finish Following Last-Lap Incident at Phoenix International Raceway
Brendan Gaughan and the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino team were relegated to a 26th-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday after being involved in an on-track incident during the final scheduled lap of the Great Clips 200. The Richard Childress Racing driver started the scheduled 200-lap event from the 11th position and settled into the top 10 during the early laps. Gaughan informed crew chief Ernie Cope that the handling on the black and gold machine was loose as he raced around the one-mile track, but that it tightened up as the run progressed. Cope called Gaughan to pit road on lap 33 under yellow-flag conditions for left-side tires and fuel. Back on track, the Las Vegas native continued to run within the top 10 until coming to pit road under caution for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments on lap 91. With varying pit strategies, Gaughan was scored in the 17th position for the ensuing restart and worked his way into the top 15 where he continued to run until being caught up in a multi-car incident on the final scheduled lap of the event, relegating the South Point Hotel & Casino team to a 26th-place result.
Start – 11 Finish – 26 Laps Led – 0 Owner Points – 5th
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTE: “What a disappointing way to end the race. Ernie (Cope, crew chief) and the South Point Hotel & Casino team gave me a solid Chevrolet this weekend and we had a shot at a top-10 finish until we were caught up in the accident at the end. I have one more race with the team this season, so I’m looking forward to Homestead next weekend.”