Auto Racing: Sadler seeks Nationwide title, 2013 ride
By Tina Akouris email@example.com September 11, 2012 8:38PM
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:42PM
Elliott Sadler battled a severe stomach virus in July when he won the NASCAR Nationwide series STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet.
That seems easy compared to what Sadler is going through now.
Sadler is only a point ahead of defending Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the standings, so a victory in Saturday’s Dollar General 300 is imperative not just for Sadler’s championship chances — but also for his racing future.
Sadler announced last week that he is leaving Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season, but did not give a reason for the departure. Sadler is reportedly looking for a full-time Nationwide ride and a part-time Cup ride.
Sadler’s announcement immediately sparked speculation as to where he might go in 2013. There is an opening on Joe Gibbs’ Nationwide team with the departure of Joey Logano to Penske Racing. Sadler also was rumored to be in touch with Michael Waltrip Racing.
Waltrip said he’s not interested.
“We’ve always respected him and his talent, but we decided at the beginning of the 2011 season that we wanted to focus on our Cup cars,” Waltrip told Sun-Times Media. “We think that anything else would be a distraction (to the Cup cars). We don’t have a Nationwide team and there are no opportunities to have Elliott at this time.”
NASCAR upheld the suspension of two crew members on Paul Menard’s No. 27 RCR Cup team.
After Menard finished ninth at Michigan on Aug. 19, his car failed a post-race inspection in which officials found illegally altered frame rails. NASCAR deducted 25 owner and driver points, suspended crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe for six weeks and fined him $100,000.
Childress did not appeal Labbe’s punishment, but he appealed the six-week suspensions of car chief Craig Smokstad and engineer Grant Hutchens. NASCAR denied the appeals Monday.
The crew members will be on probation until Dec. 31.