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).