In a race that was not good for many chase drivers, Elliott Sadler prevailed to win the VisitMyrtleBeach.Com 300 from Kentucky Speedway, his third win in 2016. Sadler will advance to the Round of Eight in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Chase.
“We’ve fought through a lot tonight. I’m a bit emotional right now. Ive been in the hospital the past week with mom, watching her fight through a lot of pain and suffering. She leads so much by example. These guys [the team] are my hero. We had a 10th to 15th place car, at best. We had to really take our time and work on it,” said Sadler in a post-race victory lane interview.
Daniel Suarez was the second place finisher in tonight’s race. “We missed a little bit in the middle of the race. We came back there at the end. A little bit tight. I feel like we were the fastest car out there tonight.”
The first half of the race began with Erik Jones setting sail as the rest of the field battled for position. When the leaders hit pit road during the competition caution, that flew on lap 25, Ty Dillon won the race off pit road. When the race was restarted, they only went one lap before a spin by Justin Marks. As the race went green, Dillon, Suarez, and Jones continued to stay within striking range of each other, but E. Jones was able to regain the lead and set sail on the field. The third caution flew for Matt Waltz, whose car caught fire on pit road. The field could not go two laps before an extensive caution period to clean up the oil dropped by Waltz on the racing surface. When the race returned to green, the field went four wide at the front with Ty Dillon taking the lead. However, the caution came out two laps later due to a blown motor by Timmy Hill. The field was under caution as the race reached halfway after another spin by Marks that involved Chaser Brandon Jones. Dillion, Darrell Wallace Jr., E. Jones, Suarez, and Brennan Poole were the top-five drivers at the halfway point.
The second half of the race began under caution with Dillon as the leader. However, when the green flag waved, E. Jones regained the lead, but Darrell Wallace Jr. took the lead shortly after. The caution flew for another chaser, Ryan Siege. At this point of the race, E. Jones continued to race on the left side tires he initially started on. The caution flag flew again a couple laps after the restart for another spin by Marks. The race went green two laps before Suarez spun Sam Hornish Jr. to collect chase driver, Justin Allgaier. On the restart, Matt Tifft was slapped with a restart violation. After a series of cautions, Brendan Gaughan led the field on a long green-flag run. After a 42 lap green flag run, the caution flag returned for Derrick Cope. A new track record was recorded as Josh Berry went into the wall after two laps of green flag racing. After barely one green flag lap, the caution flew again as E. Jones and Dillon made contact and hit the wall. T. Dillion and his team were unable to return to the track by NASCAR for working on the car under red conditions. The red flag was displayed for five minutes and 34 seconds. T. Dillion was not able to return to the track after jacking the car up under a red flag. The race resumed with four laps to go. Sadler took the lead from Blaney and set sail to the victory holding off a charge by Suarez.
Tonight’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 set a new track record of 12 caution flags, breaking the previous record of 10 cautions in a race set in 2010. 64 laps were run under caution. The average speed of the race was 106.751 mph. The time of race was 2 hours, 48 minutes, 37 seconds. The margin of victory was 0.246 seconds. There were 16 different lead changes among eight different drivers. E. Jones, who finished 28th, led the most laps at 100.
Sadler has advanced to the second round of the chase. Suarez holds the second position eight points behind Sadler, Brendan Gaughan is third 14 points behind, Ryan Reed is fourth 16 points behind, and Wallace Jr. rounds out the top-five in points 16 behind Sadler.
Next on the schedule for the Xfinity Series will be the Drive Sober 200 from Dover International Speedway on October 1st. Motor Racing Network and NBCSN will have all the coverage from Dover beginning at 3:00PM EST.