Sadler motivated by absence of team owner

Elliott Sadler (Getty Images)
Elliott Sadler (Getty Images)
Elliott Sadler (Getty Images)

NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader Elliott Sadler is using the absence of his JR Motorsports team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., as a source of inspiration and motivation in his quest for a first championship.

“We’ve kind of been racing for him these last couple weeks … a month or so,” said Sadler, who leads the XFINITY standings by 47 points over second-place Daniel Suarez. “We kind of know what our boss is going through. We talk about it on our race team at the race track some. When you watch practice on TV, or the watch the (Sprint Cup) race on Sunday, and he’s not in the race car, it affects us.

“We want the best for him. He’s given all of us a great opportunity. We want him to enjoy the same fun, the same competitive spirit that we’re having week-in and week-out. So we definitely talk about it as a team and wish him nothing but the best coming back. And it definitely gives us some incentive to finish on a high note, now that he’s out of the car.”

Sadler is locked into the inaugural XFINITY Chase, and the veteran driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet got more recent good news—his primary sponsor, OneMain Financial, will return for another season on the car in 2017. Sadler will next race in Saturday’s VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.