In 45 starts among NASCAR’s three national series at Richmond International Raceway, Elliott Sadler has never visited Victory Lane at his home track.
Sadler, who is from nearby Emporia, Va., will try to reverse his fortunes when the NASCAR Nationwide Series hits the asphalt for Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 at the 0.75-mile short track.
In 19 series starts, Sadler’s best finish is a runner-up performance that came in the spring 2005 race. In last year’s spring event at Richmond, Sadler finished sixth; he finished 12th in the fall event. He has two top-five and six top-10 finishes and has led a total of 58 laps.
Given the proximity to his hometown, where he still resides, a victory at Richmond is definitely among items he’d like check off his “To Do List” – preferably sooner rather than later.
During the offseason, Sadler, who is seventh in the standings (36 points behind Sam Hornish Jr.), switched teams, coming over to pilot the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota after two years with Richard Childress Racing. His new team has seen success in Richmond with Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin each winning two series events for JGR. Most recently, the pair swept the track’s two events in 2011 with Hamlin dominating the spring contest and Busch taking the fall race.
In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Sadler has started 24 races, but only has one top-10 finish – a seventh-place showing that came in the spring 2005 event. He has finished on the lead lap in only four of the races and has only led one lap. In his two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Richmond he has finishes of 29th and 30th.
Sadler’s new team owner, Joe Gibbs, has also fielded race winners at Richmond nine times in the premier series, third most among owners – behind onlyRichard Petty and Rick Hendrick.