Sadler Sails To Second

It was a sweet weekend for Elliott Sadler. The Virginia native started from the pole position, his first of the 2005 season and the third in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career, and came home second in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He led his first laps of the season by staying at the helm for the first 35 circuits of the 500-lap event.

In typical short track fashion, Sunday's race at Bristol provided its share of excitement. With a total of 14 cautions equaling 115 laps under the yellow flag, Sadler missed two very close calls to keep the fenders intact on his No. 38 Ford Taurus. The first near pass came on lap 323 when Sadler dove beneath the No. 17 Ford of Matt Kenseth after Kenseth received a tap from driver Ricky Rudd to send his car spinning across the .533-mile concrete track.

Sadler again escaped trouble when Tony Stewart lost control of his No. 20 machine after contact. Never lifting his right foot, Sadler stayed in the accelerator and piloted past the spinning car.

"Great job, Elliott," said spotter Brett Griffin. "If you would've lifted he would have tagged you for sure."

During the 500-lap marathon, crew chief Todd Parrott fine tuned the M&M'S Ford with only minor track bar and air pressure adjustments. The second place effort was agained aided by a stellar effort on pit road as the Sadler's pit crew captured first place in the Checker's / Rally's Drive-Thru Challenge for the second straight week. The team specifically showed their strength on lap 300 by picking up three spots on pit road, returning Sadler to the track in the fifth position.

"I'm so proud of my guys," said Sadler. "Anytime you come to Bristol and you sit on the pole and maybe the lowest we ran all day was seventh or eighth there's not a scratch on the car - and finish second. I'm so proud of these M&M'S guys. They made some good adjustments. I was just a little free at the end to run with (race winner) Kevin (Harvick), but I'm not going to complain at all. Anytime you get out of Bristol with a top-five, you've had a great, great day."

With his first top five finish of the 2005 season, Sadler moved from eighth to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings, currently 178 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.

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