Sadler Studying Competition

Elliott Sadler

Point leader Elliott Sadler finished fifth at Daytona in February and won at Talladega in May. (Photo: Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Elliott Sadler says it’s too early to worry about the point standings with still more than half of the NASCAR Nationwide season remaining. But that doesn’t mean he’s ignoring those he could be racing for a title in November.

Sadler enters tonight’s Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway with the series lead but Chase Elliott is four points behind, Regan Smith is eight points back and Ty Dillon is 29 points behind. Even Brian Scott, who is 47 points behind, can’t be overlooked.

Sadler has raced Smith in a points battle before but hasn’t raced newcomers Elliott and Dillon for the crown, let alone raced against them that much. Sadler is learning them as they learn him.

“Chase and I have raced each other a few times so far this year and given each other plenty of room,’’ Sadler said. “We were racing each other hard, side drafting and things like that, but not really putting each other in some bad situations.

“Regan and I had a few mishaps last year, we’ve had none this year. Rule No. 1 in racing and I don’t care if you’re racing in the Trucks or Nationwide or Cup, most of the guys are going to race you how you race them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re leading the points or not, if you give room and respect to this guy at the beginning of the race, he’s going to do the same for you and vice versa.”

As the season progresses, though ...

“Yeah, you’re going to start racing each other harder,’’ Sadler said.

His focus tonight is Daytona. He seeks his first Nationwide win at this track. He finished fifth in February and won at Talladega. Sadler is using the same car tonight that he won with at Talladega.

Sadler also notes that he’s not only trying to win tonight but qualify for the Nationwide Dash 4 Cash program.

The top four series points-eligible drivers qualify for the program next week at New Hampshire. The highest finishing driver of those four at New Hampshire wins $100,000 and moves to the next round (Chicagoland Speedway). The program continues at Indianapolis and ends Aug. 2 at Iowa Speedway.

If one driver finishes the highest among the eligible drivers in the first three events and then wins the Iowa race, they’ll receive a $600,000 bonus, bringing the total payout to $1 million.

The key to that will be to finish among the top four eligible drivers tonight.

“It’s always a wild one,’’ Sadler said. “You never know what’s going to happen.  It’s always got a lot of cautions here at that end. You’ve got to be in the right line at the right time and hopefully we’ll keep ourselves upfront.’’

Motor Racing Network – "The Voice of NASCAR" – will have live coverage of the Nationwide Series from Daytona International Speedway. Air time for Friday’s Subway Firecracker 250 is 7 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com.

Race Center

U.S. Cellular 250

@ Iowa Speedway
Saturday, August 02, 2014 7:30 PM
Radio Start:
MRN, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
TV Start:
ESPN, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

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