Elliott Sadler breaks 65-race Xfinity winless streak on 41st birthday at Talladega

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Elliott Sadler gave himself one of his most memorable birthday presents, winning his first Xfinity Series race in his last 66 starts in Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.

But it was far from easy.

Sadler was involved in a wreck with Joey Logano coming to the finish line. Logano tried to block Sadler but they made contact, sending Logano’s car up the track into the SAFER barrier.

Sadler bounced off Logano’s car but maintained control. Even though he dipped below the double yellow line and into the grass, Sadler was in the lead at that point and NASCAR threw the yellow flag.

“I felt that was one of the best saves I’ve ever made in the grass to keep it straight,” Sadler told Fox Sports.

Brennan Poole crossed the finish line first, but NASCAR determined — after about a five-minute review — that Sadler was the leader when the caution waved.

“People don’t know how hard it is to win these races and it’s very emotional,” Sadler told Fox Sports, his voice cracking. “Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. gave me a great opportunity to come here and I have one heck of a race team.”

While disappointed at not getting the win, Poole was also happy for Sadler.

“It was really cool to be able to have an opportunity to have a win,” Poole said. “I thought we were way to the good, but that’s how it is. Congrats to Elliott. He’s a former Late Model stock guy like myself, so it was cool to see him win.”

Sadler’s win came at the same place as his last Xfinity victory: May 3, 2014 at Talladega. Saturday’s race was scheduled for 113 laps, but went three laps longer due to a late wreck on Lap 110 when Jeb Burton‘s spin brought out the caution.

Sadler’s teammate at JR Motorsports, Justin Allgaier, finished second, followed by Poole, Jeremy Clements and Brendan Gaughan.

MORE: Results from Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega

MORE: Sadler moves into tie with Suarez for Xfinity Series points lead

HOW SADLER WON: Sadler faked right and went left to try and get around race leader Joey Loganotried to block Sadler but lost control of his car, bounced off Sadler’s car and went head-on into the wall. Sadler maintained control of his car even though he was partly pushed into the grass and in the lead when NASCAR called the caution, freezing the field and giving the win to Sadler.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Even though he was first thought to be the winner, and had to wait for five minutes while NASCAR reviewed video to make a final determination, Brennan Poole wound up third, his first top-five. … Others having good races were Justin Allgaier, Jeremy Clements and Brendan Gaughan.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: There was a hard wreck on Lap 31 between Chris Cockrum and Joey Gase. Cockrum spun seven times after clipping the wall that juts out on Turn 2 in an area that allows safety crews to access the track. Both drivers were uninjured. … Erik Jones had a rare off day, finishing 22nd. Jones was clipped by Jeb Burton on the second-to-last caution and suffered damage to the right front of his car.

NOTABLE: Chase Elliott was forced to start at the back of the pack after missing driver introductions. … Logano went from the leader to a 27th-place finish after the wreck on the frontstretch coming to the start-finish line.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Great birthday gift to me, with my wife and kids here with me. We needed this win. I told everybody this morning we’ve got the car to win it, things went our way, we had a little luck and we were able to make it at the end.” – Elliott Sadler.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Xfinity Series is off next weekend. The next race will be Saturday, May 14, at Dover International Speedway (2 p.m. ET).

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Sponsor adds more races in 2023 with Josh Berry

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Jarrett Companies will increase the number of races it will sponsor Josh Berry‘s No. 8 JR Motorsports ride in 2023, the Xfinity Series team announced Monday.

Jarrett Companies will sponsor Berry in six races after serving as the primary sponsor in three races in 2022. Those six races will be Phoenix (March 11), Richmond (April 1), Dover (April 29), Atlanta (July 8), Indianapolis (Aug. 12) and Texas (Sept. 23).

The deal gives Berry at least 26 races with sponsorship for next season. Bass Pro Shops will serve as the primary sponsor of Berry’s car in 11 races in 2023. Tire Pros is back with JRM and will sponsor Berry in nine races in the upcoming season.

Berry, who reached the Xfinity title race and finished fourth in the points, will have a new crew chief in 2023. Taylor Moyer will take over that role with Mike Bumgarner serving as JRM’s director of competition.

The 2023 Xfinity season begins Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway.

 

Where are they now? Buddy Parrott enjoying down time

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Buddy Parrott played outsized roles in two of the most dramatic races in NASCAR history.

Now 83 years old and retired from the sport since 2001, Parrott looks back on those two days as highlights of a career that began in the early 1970s.

In the 1990 Daytona 500, champion driver Dale Earnhardt seemed on course to end his frustration in NASCAR’s biggest event. He held the lead roaring down the backstretch on the last lap. Suddenly, Earnhardt slowed with a blown tire.

The lead was inherited by Derrike Cope, who charged to the checkered flag to score one of racing’s biggest upsets.

Parrott was Cope’s crew chief.

MORE: NASCAR Power Rankings: Memorable quotes through the years

In 1984, Richard Petty edged Cale Yarborough to win the summer race at Daytona International Speedway. It was Petty’s 200th – and final – win.

Parrott was Petty’s crew chief.

Those victories were high marks in a long pit-road career that saw Parrott’s drivers win dozens of races. He worked with, among others, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Jeff Burton and Petty and for team owners Jack Roush and Roger Penske.

Parrott remains active at 83, although he admits to having moved to a slower gear.

“I haven’t been living on the edge,” Parrott told NBC Sports. “I’ve been taking it really easy. I told my sons when you get to be 80 you can do anything you want because basically you’ve already done it.”

MORE: NASCAR, ARCA 2023 schedules

His strongest current connection to NASCAR is as a voter in the annual Hall of Fame balloting.

After more than 20 years roaming pit roads as a crew chief, Parrott moved into a general manager role at Roush Racing in 1997. He retired four years later and didn’t look back.

“I finally told Jack one day, ‘I don’t have time to ride my motorcycle,’ ” Parrott said. “He looked at me and said, ‘What do you want to do about it?’ I said, ‘I’m ready to retire.’ He told me I could work whatever schedule I wanted, but I decided that was it. I didn’t have a going-away thing or whatever.”

Parrott spent much of the next 15 years traveling with his wife, Judy, who died in 2016, and playing with his grandchildren.

“I had a great time in retirement because Judy was ready and I was ready,” he said. “We had a lot of fun. We’d go to Florida for two and three months at a time. I’m so happy that I didn’t hang on and go to the shop every day and try to find something to do. I spent that time with Judy, and we had 16 years of good retirement.”

Parrott, a native of Gastonia, N.C., lives in Statesville, N.C. His sons, Todd and Brad, also were NASCAR crew chiefs.

MORE: Jody Ridley’s Dover win an upset for the ages

Parrott is perhaps best remembered as crew chief for Rusty Wallace, Team Penske and the No. 2 black cars sponsored by Miller Lite. From 1992-94, they won 19 races and were consistently competitive at the front.

“I still get a lot of cards sent to me to sign from those years,” Parrott said. “I can say that was some of the happiest times I had. Those years with Rusty – and then with Jack Roush – really stand out. And who in the hell could not have fun having a beer sponsor?”

 

 

NASCAR Awards to air at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Joey Logano didn’t need much time to answer the question.

Who would the two-time Cup champion want to introduce him at the NASCAR Awards?

Racing icon Mario Andretti, Logano immediately said. 

And there was Andretti on the stage at the Music City Center introducing Logano, the 2022 Cup champion. Watch that and the rest of the night’s festivities at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock. You can order Peacock here.

MORE: See the red carpet scene

MORE: Sport shows support for Gibbs family at NASCAR Awards

NBC Sports’ Marty Snider and Kim Coon co-hosted the show along with Fox Sports’ Kaitlyn Vincie. The Cup, Xfinity and Truck champions were honored. Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs, whose father died hours after Gibbs won the Xfinity title last month, received a standing ovation and thanked the industry for its support.

The highlight of the night for Logano was having Andretti on stage to introduce him.

“He’s just been a great role model for me, not only as a racer, but as a person for so long,” Logano said afterward. “I had his picture on my wall. I looked at Mario Andretti before I went to sleep every night as a kid. I thought it was the coolest thing that he signed it to me.”

NASCAR Awards and Champion Celebration
Cup champion Joey Logano on stage with racing icon Mario Andretti during the NASCAR Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Logano and Andretti have gotten to know each other through the years. Logano ran a throwback car that honored Andretti at Darlington Raceway in 2015 and 2021.

But none of that compared to being on stage with Andretti.

“That’s still like a pinch-me moment,” Logano said. “It’s Mario Andretti. He’s the man. The fact that he knows my name I think is really, really cool.”

Catch the NASCAR Awards at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock

Sport shows support for Gibbs family at NASCAR Awards

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NASCAR community showed its support Thursday at the NASCAR Awards for the Gibbs family, grieving the death of Coy Gibbs on Nov. 6. 

During his interview on stage, car owner Joe Gibbs thanked the NASCAR industry for its support. (The NASCAR Awards show airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on Peacock).

Coy Gibbs, son of Joe Gibbs and father of Xfinity champion Ty Gibbs, died hours after seeing Ty Gibbs win the series title last month at Phoenix Raceway. Coy Gibbs, 49, was the vice chairman and chief operating officer at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR chief operating officer, introduced Ty Gibbs at the NASCAR Awards and noted that “everyone gathered tonight is all a part of the NASCAR family, and I know I speak for everyone that the entire NASCAR family is 100% percent behind this young man.”

Ty Gibbs received a standing ovation.

“Thank you,” he told the crowd, “that means a lot.”

Ty Gibbs spoke for less than a minute, thanking his team, sponsors, fans and the NASCAR community.

He closed his speech by saying “And thanks to my family. I love you. I hope everybody has a great offseason. Enjoy it. Thank you for all the support. Thank you for all the claps. I really appreciate it.”

Ty Gibbs spoke to the media earlier Thursday. Asked how he was doing, he said: “I’ve been doing good. Thank you for asking and definitely appreciate you guys. We’ve been doing good, doing a lot of stuff this week. … It’s been fun to experience this stuff.”

Asked about Joe Gibbs addressing the organization after Coy’s death, Ty Gibbs politely said: “For right now, I’m not going to touch on any of that subject at all. I’m just going to stick with all the racing questions and go from there.”

Cup champion Joey Logano said he spent time with 20-year-old Ty Gibbs on Wednesday at the champion’s dinner.

Logano said he told Ty Gibbs that “we’re here for you. You need something reach out.”