Sadlers Super Sunday

Elliott Sadler and the No. 38 Pedigree team continued their strong run for the NEXTEL Cup Championship at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday night. With the backing of his crew's fast pit stops and Sadler's driving skills the No. 38 scored their third top-5 of the season and Sadler's best finish ever at the 1.5 mile track just outside of Charlotte, NC.

Starting fourth, Sadler showed his strength early on when he moved into second place by lap 25. The handling of the car was to Sadler's liking, but was slightly loose off the corners. The first pit stop came under the green flag at lap 62. Sadler came in the pits second and thanks to the 14.10 second stop of the #38 crew he was at the top of the scoring tower when the field cycled through. Elliott maintained the position until lap 72 when the #48 of Jimmie Johnson passed him.

The two continued to swap positions until the next round of green flag pit stops came on lap 124. A 13.32 second stop sent Sadler out on the grid with the lead again. The same thing happened on lap 160 - a 13.7 second effort by the No. 38 crew gave Sadler the lead at the restart on lap 166. But once again, Johnson took the lead away on lap 176. Sadler's car then became tight as he fought to keep Johnson in sight. A 12.9 second pit stop with adjustments sent Sadler out on the track in second as the team attempted to tighten up the car.

Fighting a bug all week, Sadler was feeling under the weather. Temperatures in the race car were well over 120 degrees but Elliott maintained his focus for 600 miles. In the closing laps a bad set of tires caused Sadler to fall to eighth, but he didn't give up and fought tooth and nail for fifth to finish the night.

"I'm so proud of my guys," said Sadler after the longest race of the year. "I've been sick a little bit this week and, man, we got to lap 156 after that long run and I said, 'There ain't no way I can make it.' But they kept giving me cold water and I had a great race car. We got a little bit out-adjusted there at the end, but I am proud of my guys. I am so proud of my guys. It's a top five finish with a great race car. We got a top five for Pedigree and this really helped us in the points. This is really good for this race team. I'm so proud of them right now."

Sadler required minimal medical attention after the race for dehydration and walked from the car under his own power.

The finish moved Sadler to 7th in the point standings behind race winner and new leader Jimmie Johnson. Sadler is 261 points from the lead.

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