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Feb 25, 2014 - 03:08 PM
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2014 Phoenix: Elliott Sadler NASCAR Nationwide Race Preview
Posted by: newsla on Feb 25, 2014 - 03:07 PM
2014 Phoenix: Elliott Sadler NASCAR Nationwide Race Preview

BUCKLE UP AGAIN: Elliott Sadler and the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 OneMain Financial team are geared up for the second race of the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series season at Phoenix International Raceway. Sadler has 10 career Nationwide Series starts at the one-mile track with one win in 2012, three top-five and four top-10 finishes with 26 laps led. The veteran driver also has 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix, with one top-10 finish and 17 laps led.


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2014 HEADLINES: The 2014 season kicks off as something new for Sadler. For the first time in five years, Sadler will go into the season with the same owner, crew chief and team as the season prior. Demonstrated in Daytona, these factors resulted in more trust in the team, gained confidence in crew chief and valued experience behind the wheel. Hopefully these elements will reflect in one big change in 2014 - a championship.

JUST THE STATS: With one race already in the books for the 2014 Nationwide Series season, Sadler currently sits third in the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings.

About Phoenix International Raceway:
"As a race team we have a lot of momentum going into this weekend. We're coming off a great run at Daytona. I won this race two years ago so we're all confident we can go into Phoenix and have a shot to qualify well and win the race. Track position is going to be very important so it's key to unload fast and be near the top of the board from the get go. My team worked very hard during the off-season, and I feel like we made some gains in several key areas. Phoenix will be a chance for us to see how much those gains translate into speed.

"Chris Gayle has a full season under his belt as a crew chief. He's done a great job leading our team and putting everything into place, so now it is time for us to go out and do our jobs. We expect to win several race this year and Phoenix is a great place to score our first win together."

Thoughts on new Nationwide Series qualifying procedure:
"The qualifying format at Daytona was insane. I know we only had one session, but having everyone out there at one time making a qualifying lap is a complete 180 from everything we've ever seen or done. It was awesome, and I know the fans are going to enjoy this new format. It's going to be a hot topic for the next few weeks, and it's probably always going to be a hot topic at the restrictor plate track and short tracks. That's where we as drivers are going to be in the most traffic during the qualifying sessions.

"The goal for us is always to transfer to the final session but to do that you have so many factors to manage -- the engine, the temps, the tires and most importantly getting a clean lap on the track. Once we've made it into the final session we're going to do everything we can as a team to get a spot in the top eight. I think that's where you'll need to start this weekend to have a shot to win."

RACE INFO: The Blue Jeans Go Green 200 at Phoenix International Raceway will be on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET, on Saturday, March 1, as well as MRN and SIRIUSXM 90.

BRANCH DECAL PROGRAM: For each race that OneMain Financial is the primary sponsor on the No. 11 Toyota,two branches will be highlighted on Sadler's rear quarter panels. The branches selected for Phoenix are No. 100 in Kingman, AZ, and No. 015 in Scottsdale, AZ.

THINK PINK: The OneMain Financial driver will sport pink Oakley driving shoes throughout the entire Nationwide Series season to show support for breast cancer awareness and honor his mom, Bell. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and is now a survivor. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on his race-worn shoes throughout the season, with proceeds going toward breast cancer research and education.

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