TALLADEGA, Ala. — Elliott Sadler won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus Saturday for the second consecutive weekend but for as happy as he was with that, he was confused about a penalty he received during the race.
Sadler recovered from the penalty that put him a lap down to finish fifth at Talladega Superspeedway and earn the bonus. Spencer Gallagher won the race.
Problems occurred for Sadler on Lap 75 of the 115-lap race when he headed toward pit road with other cars under green.
John Hunter Nemechek spun entering pit road.
“I was plenty slow and then my spotter was yelling the 42 (Nemechek) was wrecking under me, so I had to gas it up so he wouldn’t hit me,’’ Sadler said after the race. “So I gassed it up before I got to pit road to avoid a wreck, but then I slowed back down. Per the rule that should be OK. I think everything happened so fast (NASCAR) gave me a pit road penalty and that put me a lap down. It’s a shame that it all happened the way that it did.’’
Section 10.9.5.e of the Xfinity Series Rule Book states:
“When forced onto pit road while avoiding an accident on the race track, a vehicle must reduce its speed the entire length of pit road. In the occurrence of a caution period, the vehicle’s respective track position will be determined at the start/finish line and/or pit road exit.
However, if a car is heading toward pit road, is it being forced to pit road to avoid an accident? That isn’t clear by the rule. Also, the rule states that the vehicle must reduce its speed the entire length of pit road. Sadler stopped in his pit stall for service and then accelerated when he left the box. The rule is not clear about if a car then stops on pit road for service and speeds back up.
Believing, he had done nothing wrong, Sadler made his pit stop and continued. NASCAR penalized Sadler for speeding on pit road. His penalty was to pass through pit road. He fell a lap down.
Sadler didn’t get his lap back until JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier ran out of fuel, which forced the race to go into overtime. Sadler charged through the field to finish fifth.
“A lot happened on that last lap or two,’’ Sadler said.
In the end, he collected another $100,000 bonus and remained the points leader.