Photo Credit:Jared C. Tilton
NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Elliott Sadler prevailed in overtime at Talladega Superspeedway for his first victory of the 2016 season.
Sadler was declared the winner of the Sparks Energy 300 after a last lap wreck froze the field and NASCAR reviewed the footage to determine a leader from the time the caution came out.
“People don’t know how hard it is to win these races. It’s very emotional,” Sadler said while choking back tears. “It’s a great birthday gift to me. Man, we needed this win.”
Joey Logano was leading the final lap of the Xfinity race when Elliott Sadler began challenging him for the lead. Logano blocked high to defend his position, but was spun by Sadler when he returned low to block. Logano smacked the wall and came to a stop near the start/finish line.
“I had my plan made up,” Sadler said “I tried to get to the outside of Joey and he made a great block.”
Three drivers waited inside their cars for official results of a winner. Brennan Poole and JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier were all unsure if they were leading at the time that the yellow flag was thrown.
Brennan Poole crossed the finish line first, however NASCAR officials declared Sadler the official winner because he was the leader at the time of the caution.
“Just glad that they were able to take the time to get it right, and happy they are able to get the trophy to the rightful winner,” Poole said. “I just wish it was us. I thought we had it, just a little shy there.”
Allgaier was hit by Poole and was unclear whether he was leading at the time the caution was thrown. “I didn’t want to get out of my car because that seems like giving up,” Allgaier said. “The tape is the tape. It’s tough to lose one when it’s that close. They got it right.”
Allgaier and Poole finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
Sadler ended an almost two year drought and secured his place in the Chase for the championship. Just two drivers have secured their spot in the first year of the Xfinity Chase, seven of the first nine races have been won by Sprint Cup regulars.