Elliott Sadler

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR

Reliving some of NASCAR’s most dramatic finishes

Leave a comment

The Minnesota Vikings’ win against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday marked the first time in NFL history that a playoff game ended with a game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock.

NASCAR has had its share of dramatic finishes through the years. While it’s easy to debate which dramatic finishes rank among the all-time best, here’s a look at some of the most dramatic (and surprising) wins in NASCAR.

The first selection comes from what is now the Xfinity Series. It was the 2012 season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. Kurt Busch led with Kyle Busch pushing him as they entered Turn 3. Behind them were Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, Elliott SadlerRicky Stenhouse Jr., Kasey Kahne, Cole Whitt and Brad Keselowski.

None of them won the race. 

James Buescher, who was 11th in Turn 4 won for his only Xfinity victory in 91 career starts. 

 

Carl Edwards had won the Xfinity race the day at Atlanta but had yet to win in 16 previous Cup starts before he cranked the engine at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 2005. Edwards came from behind to beat Jimmie Johnson at the line in among the closest finishes in NASCAR.

 

Dale Earnhardt’s incredible ride from 18th to first in the final five laps in 2000 at Talladega Superspeedway is memorable for that alone but it also was his 76th and final Cup victory. When the video clip below starts, you don’t even see Earnhardt but he’s there lurking and works his way up the field. With two laps left, announcer Jerry Punch exclaims: “The Intimidator is scraped and beaten on the right side, but he will not be denied! “Mr. Restrictor Plate knows there are two laps to go! Earnhardt drives to the high side of Bobby Labonte. Wow.”

 

As they took the white flag at Watkins Glen International in 2012, Kyle Busch led, Brad Keselowski was second and Marcos Ambrose was third.

What followed was a chaotic final lap that ended with Ambrose winning. It led broadcaster Dale Jarrett to say about the beating, banging and battling: “A year’s worth of excitement in 2.45 miles. Incredible.”

 

Ricky Craven tried to make his move by Kurt Busch with two laps to go at Darlington Raceway in 2003 but slid up and made contact with Busch and lost his momentum. That allowed Busch to dive underneath and take the lead back. Craven persisted. As they came off the final corner, Craven went underneath Busch for a door-slamming drag race to the checkered flag, nipping Busch by 0.002 seconds to win.

Of course, one can’t include such a list without one of the sport’s most famous finishes. Donnie Allison led Cale Yarborough on the last lap of the 1979 Daytona 500. Yarborough dived low on the backstretch to pass Allison, who blocked. They hit, bounced off each other and hit again before crashing in Turn 3. Richard Petty drove by several seconds later to take the lead and go on to win the event. As Petty celebrated, Allison, Yarborough and Bobby Allison, who had stopped to check on his brother, fought.

 

 and on Facebook

Instant replay: Get all of NASCAR Talk’s 2017 season-in-review driver capsules right here

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Editor’s note: From December 20th through December 31st, NASCAR Talk has recapped the best of the best in NASCAR’s three premier series with our season-in-review driver capsules.

 In case you missed any in the series, here’s your chance to read all of them in one sitting. Here’s the:

  • Top-10 finishing drivers in NASCAR Cup
  • Top-four finishers in the Xfinity Series
  • Champion of the Camping World Truck Series.

Click on each name to read that respective driver’s 2017 Season in Review capsule:

Top 10 finishing drivers in NASCAR Cup

2017 Season in Review: No. 1 Martin Truex Jr.

2017 Season in Review: No. 2 Kyle Busch

2017 Season in Review: No. 3 Kevin Harvick

2017 Season in Review: No. 4 Brad Keselowski

2017 Season in Review: No. 5 Chase Elliott

2017 Season in Review: No. 6 Denny Hamlin

2017 Season in Review: No. 7 Matt Kenseth

2017 Season in Review: No. 8 Kyle Larson

2017 Season in Review: No. 9 Ryan Blaney

2017 Season in Review: No. 10 Jimmie Johnson

Top 4 finishing drivers in NASCAR Xfinity Series 

2017 Xfinity Season in Review: No. 1 William Byron

2017 Xfinity Season in Review: No. 2 Elliott Sadler

2017 Xfinity Season in Review: No. 3 Justin Allgaier

2017 Xfinity Season in Review: No. 4 Daniel Hemric

 

 

Top finishing driver in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

2017 Truck Series Season in Review: No. 1 Christopher Bell

 

 

2017 Xfinity Season in Review: Elliott Sadler

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Elliott Sadler

CREW CHIEF: Kevin Meendering

TEAM: JR Motorsports

POINTS: 2nd

WINS: None

LAPS LED:  123 (same as 2016)

TOP 5s: 12

TOP 10s: 25

POLES: 1 (Indianapolis)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Led the points standings after all but two races in the regular season … Finished runner-up twice (Talladega, Daytona II) … Reached the Championship 4 for the second straight year despite not winning a race.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Failed to win a race for the fourth time since returning to Xfinity full-time in 2011 … Lost his chance at first NASCAR title in the championship race when he made contact with Ryan Preece in the closing laps while trying to keep teammate William Byron in reach. The contact resulted in a cut tire and an eighth-place finish. … Recorded three DNFs.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2018: Sadler, 42, returns to JR Motorsports for his ninth full-time Xfinity season. He will once again be seeking an elusive NASCAR title after finishing runner-up in the Xfinity standings for the fourth time.

Social Roundup: Sights from the Xfinity, Truck Series Awards Banquet

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NASCAR season officially came to a close Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, with the annual Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series Awards at the Charlotte Convention Center. The ceremony will air at 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 17 on NBCSN.

Xfinity driver William Byron and Truck Series driver Christopher Bell were recognized as this season’s champions before they move on with their careers. Byron will race in the Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports and Bell moves up to Xfinity with Joe Gibbs Racing.

NASCAR handed out plenty of annual awards for each series.

Rookie of the Year: Byron (Xfinity) and Chase Briscoe (Trucks)
Manufacturer title: Chevrolet (Xfinity) and Toyota (Trucks)
Comcast Community Champion: Chip Ganassi Racing pit crew department

Mobil 1 Driver of the Year: Kyle Busch (Xfinity) and Bell (Trucks)
Mahle Engine Builder of the Year: Roush Yates Racing’s Doug Yates (Xfinity) and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Mark Cronquist (Trucks).
Duralast Brake in the Race: Busch (Xfinity) and Bell (Trucks)

JR Motorsports’ Elliott Sadler was voted most popular driver for the third time after he finished runner-up in the season standings to Byron.

Brad Keselowski Racing’s Chase Briscoe was voted most popular driver in the Truck Series, though there was a slight mixup with his name on the trophy. We’ve all been there.

Here are more sights from the award ceremony brought to you by social media.

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler shouldn’t blame Ryan Preece for losing Xfinity title

2 Comments

It was arguably one of the most difficult pills Elliott Sadler has ever had to swallow.

Just when it appeared he might finally capture his first career NASCAR championship in Saturday’s Xfinity Series title race, Sadler found himself held up by Ryan Preece, who was racing for the car owner’s title for Joe Gibbs Racing but was not involved in the race for the driver championship.

Preece was running the high line and kept Sadler from getting by him. Sadler tried everything he could to pass Preece, even putting his bumper into the back of Preece’s Toyota to get him to move over.

But that contact ultimately wound up costing Sadler one last chance to catch William Byron, who went on to win the Xfinity championship in his first year in the series.

Sadler, meanwhile, finished second for the second consecutive year — and the fourth time in the last seven seasons.

On Monday’s NASCAR America, analysts Dale Jarrett and Parker Kligerman broke down what happened to Sadler and whether Preece played a part in preventing Sadler from winning the title.

Here’s how Jarrett looked at it:

“I understand the frustration from Elliott Sadler with a driver that really’s not involved in anything. Ryan Preece is an outstanding young driver that made a name for himself. … I think they gave him bad information and put this young man in a very difficult situation. He wasn’t going to catch the 22 car at that point in time. It was really time for him to get out of the way of the two drivers battling for the championship.

“Unfortunately, his name is going to be associated with affecting the championship in this way. It’s part of it, he doesn’t have to pull out of the way, it’s up to Elliott to figure out a way to get around him.”

And here’s how Kligerman analyzed things:

“I completely understand Elliott Sadler’s frustrations. He had a chance to win the championship, he was in the front and felt like not being able to accomplish that pass on Ryan Preece and maybe get a little help there.

“But it’s not like Ryan stuck it out there, he was beside him and it just didn’t work out. And as they got together, I felt Ryan was running the same line he had been running, and that was Elliott trying to make a last-ditch effort.

“… He’s racing to have a job, to have a career in this sport, like Elliott Sadler. He told me after the race he was upset because he was an Elliott Sadler fan his whole life. He grew up watching Elliott Sadler. He did not want to be part of the championship discussion but was trying to do his job, doing what Joe Gibbs Racing told him to do, which was to try to beat the 22 for the owner’s title.

“I know why Elliott is upset, it’s the fourth time he’s finished second, but I don’t think Ryan did anything wrong.”

Catch more of what Parker and DJ had to say in the video above.

And speaking of William Byron, check out what our two analysts had to say about his championship in the video below.