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From hospital to Homestead: Elliott Sadler’s mom making championship journey

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Elliott Sadler didn’t have to leave mom behind this time.

In September, Sadler had a hard time leaving Bell Sadler’s hospital room in order to travel to Kentucky Speedway for the first race in the Xfinity Series inaugural Chase. After being reassured she would be OK and to focus on the playoffs, Sadler went out and won the Chase opener.

Having made it to the final round, Sadler will compete for his first NASCAR title in today’s Ford EcoBoost 300. Even better, Bell will be on hand.

“My mom and dad are coming down,” Sadler said during Championship 4 Media Day. “They’re looking forward to this opportunity. They’re coming to hopefully share a good moment. But to see her travel and be here is definitely going to give me some inspiration on Saturday.”

Bell will travel with her doctor, Sadler’s best friend, in case something should happen. There will be plenty of other friends and family making the journey as well.

But Sadler’s mother is “definitely at the top of the list.”

Sadler has always been close to his family, particularly his mother. When his son, Wyatt, was born in 2010 and had to have surgery, it was Bell who Elliott leaned on.

A breast cancer survivor, Bell was rushed to the hospital a week before the Kentucky race following complications from gallbladder surgery. Sadler said she also has some septic issues. The mental toughness Bell has shown through everything she’s experienced has left Sadler developing a strength of his own behind the wheel.

“She has been in the hospital now for a couple of weeks and got her energy back up and her strength back up,” Sadler said. “She was fired up this week. She wanted me to stay focused and make sure I had my head on straight when I came to Miami.

“She came by to visit me to send me off on my way before I came down (here). She’s back to her old ways. She wants her son to be focused. That’s her text message I get before every race: Stay focused. That was the word I got (Wednesday) before I left. So she’s back to her old self.”

Sadler would become the fifth oldest Xfinity Series champion in history (41 years, 6 months, 20 days) should he win the title, something that would mean the world to the NASCAR veteran.

“The title will mean a lot,” Sadler said. “I have been through a lot of ups and downs. Lucky to be here. Went through a time in my career I could have easily got pushed to the side and never been able to race again. To kind of battle back, put ourselves in this position again means a lot to me and my family. We want to go make the most of it.”

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Starting lineup for Cup race at Richmond

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Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott will start on the front row for Saturday night’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway.

Truex won his third pole of the season.

The top five is completed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Kyle Busch, who is trying to win a third consecutive race, qualified 32nd.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Martin Truex Jr. wins pole for Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway

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Martin Truex Jr. qualified first for Saturday’s Cup race at Richmond Raceway, winning his third pole of the season.

Truex claimed the pole with a speed of 123.859 mph around the .75-mile track. The Toyota Owners 400 will mark Truex’s 450th Cup start. Truex had DNFs in the last two races.

“It’s definitely been a crappy two weeks,” Truex told Fox Sports 1. “But that’s part of racing. This team, I’ve got so much faith and confidence in them and everything we’re doing. You can’t let those kinds of things get you down. It was nothing we did, just circumstances. Just proud of the effort today.”

The pole matches Truex’s total from last year.

Chase Elliott qualified second (123.621 mph). The top five is completed by Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson.

Ryan Blaney will start 12th, followed by Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson.

Daniel Hemric will start 22nd in his first Cup start.

Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski both failed to advance out of the first round. Keselowski will start 28th and Busch will start 32nd.

“We didn’t make a mock run in practice and then we thought the spread would be about three tenths (of a second),” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “It wasn’t, it was faster than that. We only ran two laps trying to make sure we preserve out tires for later on deeper into the session. A bunch of those guys ran three laps and obviously we needed that third lap. It would have picked up. For some reason the tire here today, even in race trim, your fastest lap was the seventh lap. So just takes awhile for everything to come in. Just trying to short cut it a little bit and it didn’t work out for us.”

Click here for qualifying results.

Cole Custer wins pole for Xfinity race at Richmond

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Cole Custer will start first in tonight’s Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway after earning his second consecutive pole.

Custer won the pole for the ToyotaCare 250 with a lap of 121.332 mph. He earned his first career pole last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver will be joined on the front row by Christopher Bell (120.881 mph). He has started on the front row in four of the first eight races this season.

The top five is rounded out by Austin Cindric, Daniel Hemric and John Hunter Nemechek.

Cindric will start in the top five for the first time this season.

Hemric is the highest qualifying of the four Dash 4 Cash drivers. Justin Allgaier will start seventh and Elliott Sadler will roll off eighth. Spencer Gallagher will start 17th.

Noah Gragson will start 11th in his Xfinity debut.

Tyler Reddick suffered some cosmetic damage when he scrapped the frontstretch wall in Round 2. He will start 10th.

Click here for qualifying results.

Tonight’s Xfinity race at Richmond: Start time, lineup and more

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The Xfinity Series is back on a short track for round two of the Dash 4 Cash series. Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler, Daniel Hemric and Spencer Gallagher will compete for the $100,000 bonus tonight at Richmond Raceway.

Here is all the info for tonight’s race.

(All times are Eastern)

START:  Leslie Gravitte, Toyota Camry owner, will give the command to start engines at 7:07 p.m for the ToyotaCare 250. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 7:13 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 250 laps (187.5 miles) around the .75-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: Driver/crew chief meeting is at 5:10 p.m. Driver introductions are at 6:35 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Henrico Fire Choir will perform the anthem at 7:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race beginning at 7 p.m. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 6:30 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 59 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Kyle Larson took the lead with 10 laps to go to win this race last April. He was followed by Justin Allgaier and Daniel Hemric. Brad Keselowski won last September’s race and was followed by Kyle Busch and Ty Dillon.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for starting lineup.