Last year while battling Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the Nationwide Series championship, Elliott Sadler essentially saw his hopes disappear when he crashed at Phoenix. He went from being 17 points behind Stenhouse to 41 back.
On Saturday, Sadler entered the next-to-last race of the Nationwide Series season at Phoenix tied with Stenhouse for the points lead. And he crashed, losing precious points to Stenhouse yet again.
Stenhouse was near the front of the field for most of the race and was there again late. Sadler was racing for 12th, knowing that he needed to make up every point possible over the races final laps, and when he went three wide with Cole Whitt and Justin Allgaier, he ended up in the wall.
Sadler's car was still driveable, so he was able to limp around to the finish a lap down in 22nd place. However, Stenhouse finished third, so the margin between the two is 20 points, or roughly half of last year's post-Phoenix deficit.
Can Sadler make it up? It's certainly a lot more achievable than it was last year. We'll find out on Saturday at Homestead.
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