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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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NASCAR America: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. talks Phoenix finish, racing roots

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. joins NASCAR America to go over his fourth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver also shares his racing origins in Mississippi and the hobbies he and girlfriend Danica Patrick share with each other.

Stenhouse is in his fifth full-time year competing in the NASCAR Cup Series with Roush Fenway Racing.

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: Alaska

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NASCAR America continues its journey through the United States with the second chapter in “50 States in 50 Shows.”

Following South Alabama Speedway, the show features Capitol Speedway and Alaska Raceway Park in Alaska.

Owned by Nancy and Wes Wallace, Capitol Speedway is a 3/8th-mile oval and features sprint car racing and demolition derbies.

 

Kevin Harvick crew chief fined, suspended one race for encumbered finish

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Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, has been suspended for one NASCAR Cup Series race and fined $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalty, a L1 infraction, results in an encumbered finish. Harvick placed sixth in the Camping World 500.

The No. 4 team has also been docked 10 driver and owner points. Harvick was seventh in the standings after four races. He trailed leader Kyle Larson by 61 points. The loss of points drops Harvick one spot to eighth behind Jamie McMurray.

Harvick has not won a race yet, which would qualify him for the playoffs.

MORE: Brad Keselowski closes crew chief for three races, team docked 35 driver points

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NASCAR docks Brad Keselowski, Team Penske 35 points; suspends crew chief Paul Wolfe

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NASCAR docked Brad Keselowski 35 points, suspended crew chief Paul Wolfe three races and fined Wolfe $65,000 because Keselowski’s car failed inspection after finishing fifth in last weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR also docked the team 35 owner points for the L1 infraction. NASCAR stated that Keselowski’s result is an encumbered finish.

NASCAR cited Keselowski’s car for failing weights and measurements on the laser platform. NASCAR stated in Wednesday’s penalty report that the team failed the rear wheel steer on the Laser Inspection Station. 

MORE: NASCAR suspends crew chief Rodney Childers one race

Team Penske issued a statement Wednesday:

“We have acknowledged the penalties levied against the No. 2 team following last weekend’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.  The race cars returned to the race shop today and we are in the process of evaluating the area in question. In the meantime, we have decided Brian Wilson will serve as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief at Auto Club Speedway while we evaluate our approach relative to today’s penalties.”

The penalty drops Keselowski from second in the standings to fourth heading into this weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

The more significant issue is how this could impact Keselowski, who already has a win, in the playoffs.

The top 10 in points before the playoffs begin earn additional points. The points leader earns 15 playoff points. The driver second in the standings earns 10 playoff points, the driver third in the standings earns eight playoff points, the driver fourth in the standings earns seven playoff points. It goes down to the driver 10th in the standings earning one playoff point.

Those playoff points carry through the first three rounds, which is different from last year. Falling behind in the regular season – or losing points because of a penalty – could have ramifications in the playoffs. 

“I think it’s real important to explain why points matter this year,” Keselowski said on Fox Sports 1’s “Race Hub” on Wednesday night. “Last year, you got a win and you locked in and you got to the next round. This year with points, you still lock in with wins. The difference is there’s a huge points bonus for having the most points at the end of the season that carries all the way through the playoffs, and you only get that bonus if you’re one of the best cars and leading up front at the end of the regular season, which requires having a lot of points. Thirty-five points is a pretty big deal, and so is 10 points for Kevin (Harvick) and his team.”

 

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