There's only one way the NASCAR Nationwide Series title fight could be closer after 25 races, and that's if Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were tied.
As it stands, Sadler leads the defending series champion by just one point entering Saturday's Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) at Chicagoland Speedway. With eight races left on the series schedule, the two drivers have separated themselves from the pack, all while their own personal rivalry intensifies.
Sadler won the season's first race at the Illinois track in July, when he bypassed pole-starter Stenhouse, who had led 135 of the 201 laps.
"We're bringing back the same car so we know our Ford will be stout," said Stenhouse. "These final eight races, we have to bring our 'A' game."
A wreck last weekend at Richmond International Raceway involving Sam Hornish Jr. has helped the top two to break away from the pack. Hornish, who had forged a tie for second place in the Nationwide standings after the series' race at Montreal, has since dropped to fourth place, 50 points off Sadler's pace.
Top rookie Austin Dillon -- on the heels of four straight top-10 finishes -- sits third in the Nationwide standings, 30 points behind Sadler, his Richard Childress Racing teammate.