Elliott Sadler wants championship for parents, humbled for 800-plus starts (video)

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Elliott Sadler joined NASCAR America from the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Tuesday and reflected on his lengthy racing career.

Two topics stood out: recently having passed the 800-start mark in his NASCAR career, as well as the support his parents have given him and how he wants to win the Xfinity championship for them as much as he wants it for himself.

First, on hitting 800:

“Isn’t that crazy? That’s a lot,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like that many. It doesn’t feel like and I don’t look at it like that. I don’t look at it as 800 starts. I still want to feel like I’m young and still enjoying this and looking forward to going to the race track. It’s very humbling to have 800 starts.”

Sadler, who at 42 makes his 810th career start this weekend at Road America, admits that if he knew then what he knows now, he’d have done things differently earlier in his career.

“I took things for granted early in my career,” Sadler said. “I had a great situation at the Wood Brothers that I took for granted at a young age. I had a great situation at Yates Racing, especially with DJ (NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett) as my teammate.

“When you’re that young, you don’t realize how good you’ve got it because you don’t realize how bad it can be. When I got into a situation later in my Cup career and I realized how miserable I was as a driver, now, full circle, I’m in a great company car, I’m very good friends with my owner and feel my team is one of the best teams at the racetrack.

“It makes it fun and I’m not afraid to show how much fun we’re having.”

How much longer will Sadler continue to race?

“I’m not going to put it in years,” he said. “As long as I can stay competitive, have fun, put the work in, watching the videos and staying in shape, I want to win a championship in NASCAR bad. And as long as I feel I can be a contender, I want to race.

“We’re where we need to be on top of the points. Since I’ve been driving for JR Motorsports, we’ve been leading the points after 70 percent of the races. I think that’s a pretty cool stat. We just need to be leading the points after one particular race (the season finale at Miami), and that’s our particular goal.”

And Sadler wants to achieve that goal not just for himself but also his parents.

“I want to do it for my mom and dad,” Sadler said. “They sacrificed so much when I was growing up, to give me the opportunity. To give them that championship would mean more to me than anything I’ve ever done in my life.”

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Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer tied at top of Xfinity playoff standings

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Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer are tied for the top spot in the Xfinity playoff standings after the playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.

Each driver has 2,057 points.

Allgaier finished third after bouncing back from losing a tire on Lap 19 and going two laps down. He was two laps down for 27 laps and one lap down for 30 before getting back on the lead lap.

Custer, who finished fifth, won the first two stages of the race, earning two playoff points in the process.

The top five in points are Allgaier, Custer, Elliott Sadler (-2), Daniel Hemric (-5) and William Byron (-6).

Click here for the points standings.

Results from Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
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Tyler Reddick scored his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win, leading a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi Racing on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

Reddick beat teammate Brennan Poole by 14.5 seconds in the playoff opener.

Reddick is the seventh different winner in the last seven series races. He led twice for 66 laps. Reddick had not led any laps until Saturday night.

Playoff contender Justin Allgaier rallied from two laps down after a right front tire went down early in the 200-lap race to finish third. Ryan Preece placed fourth. Rookie Cole Custer, who won both stages, finished fifth.

Click here for race results

Tyler Reddick wins playoff opener at Kentucky for first career Xfinity victory

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Tyler Reddick, a part-time driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, led 66 laps to win the Xfinity Series playoff opener at Kentucky Speedway.

In his rookie year in the series, Reddick earned the win in his 15th start in the No. 42 Chevrolet.

The 21-year-old driver beat teammate Brennan Poole, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Preece and Cole Custer.

“I don’t know if it was necessarily me making a statement, it’s just Chip Ganassi Racing making a statement,” Reddick told NBCSN. “(Crew chief) Mike Shiplett has brought me from ground zero all the way to here. All the guys at Ganassi have gone above and beyond in helping me become a better driver. To be here today is surreal.”

Reddick, who had not led a lap before Saturday night, took the lead for the first time on Lap 126 of the 200-lap race.

Reddick is the fourth Xfinity driver to get his first win this season.

Saturday’s win comes after it was announced on Sept. 14 that Reddick would join JR Motorsports full-time in 2018.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Cole Custer

STAGE 2 WINNER: Cole Custer

MORE: Race results

MORE: Points standings

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Justin Allgaier bounced back from losing a tire and going two laps down to finish third. He leaves Kentucky tied with Cole Custer at the top of the playoff standings. … Brennan Poole’s runner-up finish is a career-best result in 77 starts … Ryan Preece has finished in the top four in all three of his starts for Joe Gibbs Racing. … Ryan Reed finished 10th, ending an eight-race streak without a top 10.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Sam Hornish Jr. finished 31st, nine laps down after contact with Brandon Jones on Lap 53 caused him to hit the wall at the exit of Turn 2, forcing him to pit for repairs. … William Byron finished 18th, two laps down after he was forced to pit on Lap 101 for a loose wheel.

NOTABLE: The No. 2 of Ben Kennedy failed rear heights in post-race inspection. … Reddick is the seventh different driver to win in the last seven races this season. … Reddick is the seventh different winner in the last eight races at Kentucky.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I was about the color of my car (red) there for a little bit.” – Justin Allgaier after finishing third following a rebound from going two laps down early in the race.

NEXT: Drive Sober 200 at Dover International Speedway at 3 p.m. ET on Sept. 30 on NBCSN.

Social Roundup: Sights from first Martinsville night race

Marty Snider
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The wait is over.

Night racing at Martinsville Speedway is now a reality.

After tests and practice sessions, the half-mile track in Virginia hosted the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 and its qualifying races Saturday night for the NASCAR Late Model Series, which was won by Timothy Peters.

In attendance at the race were Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Daniel Suarez, as well as NBCSN’s Marty Snider, who watched his son Myatt compete in the race.

Here’s a look at some of the sights and sounds from the historic night for NASCAR’s oldest track.