Sadler is still miffed over jumped-restart penalty
NEWTON, Iowa—Elliott Sadler says he's still upset about getting penalized for jumping the restart near the end of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis last week.
"That's a once-in-a-lifetime win that we felt got taken away from us," he said Friday.
Sadler was in contention for the win when he passed eventual winner Brad Keselowski on a restart with 18 laps to go. Officials ruled that Sadler went too early and black-flagged him.
Sadler finished 15th but held on to the Nationwide points lead. He leads Austin Dillon by one point entering Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway.
Sadler has said Keselowski slowed unexpectedly when he appeared to spin his tires on the restart, and Sadler had no choice but to keep going because he was getting pushed by cars behind him.
Several drivers have said Sadler should have given the lead back to Keselowski right after going past him.
Sadler said he's uncertain whether racing resumes in the restart box or at the start-finish line.
"It can't be both," Sadler said. "Let's pick one. Let's either start in the re-start box when the leader goes and he initiates the start like Brad did last week, or let's wait until the start-finish line. We can't do both. That's when it gets confusing to the drivers and puts NASCAR in a tough spot to make some tough calls."
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. said the rules are clear.
"We know we can't beat the No. 1 to the start-finish line," he said. "I think it was made very clear that we better not beat him to the start-finish line. If so, we better give it back."
DANICA EYES FRESH START: Midway through her first full year in the Nationwide Series, Danica Patrick is looking for a figurative restart of her own.
Patrick has failed to go the distance in five of her 19 starts, and her average finish is 20th. A crash ended her first race at Iowa Speedway in May, and last week's wreck at Indianapolis was her fourth in 10 starts.
She and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. had a long talk after her day ended on the 39th lap last week.
"We need to definitely get on a good stretch here and regroup and get positive and get back to basics and stop trying so hard, if that makes any sense," Patrick said.
The pressure to improve is building because Patrick plans to move up to the Sprint Cup Series next year.
"I think there has been a general amount of frustration," she said. "We both have said we have higher expectations over time. We definitely haven't had the results to show for that as far as the finishes go."
She said she's disappointed her "competitive" practices haven't carried over to races.
"That's what creates those expectations," she said. "(Tony) is competitive and he wants to do well and so do I. Getting frustrated is not the way to do it. I don't think you're going to see too much more of that frustration that's been going on for a while. That's a result of talking through things and getting a new game plan and attitude."
ANNETT HELPS IN SEARCH: Iowa native Michael Annett is joining two Sprint Cup drivers in getting the word out about two cousins missing for nearly three weeks.
The No. 43
Lyric and Elizabeth disappeared July 13 while riding their bikes in Evansdale, Iowa.
Annett grew up in Des Moines and played junior hockey in Waterloo, which is near Evansdale.
"We're so fortunate to do what we do week in and week out, and we need to give back," Annett said. "There is so much opportunity -- with how many thousands of fans will be here tomorrow night and the millions of people watching at home -- to get information out and try to do something for this horrible situation and get the best outcome."
Cedar Rapids native Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil will drive cars featuring photos of the girls at the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday.
WALLACE NOT SATISFIED: A lot of drivers would be happy with a top-10 finish in their first Nationwide Series race. Not Darrell Wallace Jr.
Wallace qualified eighth and came in ninth at Iowa Speedway in May. His second Nationwide start comes Saturday on the same track.
"That top-10 felt like a top-20 for me," Wallace said. "I wasn't happy with it. It was a good run for the team and myself. We'll take it and move on."
The 18-year-old Wallace, who drives primarily on the K&N Pro Series East circuit, will be in Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20
"We built a brand new car for him," crew chief Adam Stevens said. "We are looking to improve both our qualifying and finishing position over the first race. The key to that is to have a more productive practice than last time. I'm hoping we can better utilize Darrell's feedback and experience now that he has a race under his belt in order to get the car a little closer for him."