By K.J. Pilcher
Special for NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
NEWTON, Iowa - It isn't how you start, but how you finish.
After earning three straight poles at Iowa Speedway, Elliott Sadler finally has a finish to match.
Sadler passed Justin Allgaier with 58 laps remaining and pulled away to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series U.S. Cellular 250 Saturday night at the 0.875-mile oval. The victory was his fourth this season, setting a personal best for wins in a year.
Sadler gave a victory yell on the radio and jogged over to grab the checkered flag for his achievement. He talked about redemption after last week's incident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he was penalized for beating the leader to the start/finish line during a late restart.
"It's been a rough week," Sadler said. "We felt like we should have won that race last week."
His father underwent knee surgery but provided his son with some motivational words for his race at Iowa. Sadler took the advice to heart.
"He said do not let them take this championship away from you," Sadler said. "Go to Iowa and kick their butts."
Sadler, who increased his one-point lead in the season standings over Austin Dillon to 18, led 60 laps, after surrendering the lead to Darrell Wallace Jr. on the opening lap. Wallace, making his second Nationwide start after placing ninth in his series debut at Iowa Speedway in May, led the first 37 laps before Dillon took over.
Sadler was able to briefly gain the lead from Dillon, his Richard Childress Racing teammate, off the restart, after a competition caution on lap 50. The second caution, when John Blankenship spun out 87 laps in, jumbled the front-runners. Allgaier benefited from a fast pit stop to take the lead, Dillon dropped to 10th and Sadler dropped to eighth.
Sadler fell back again after pitting during the third caution for debris on the track, but he maneuvered through the field before overtaking Allgaier late. Allgaier posted his best finish of the season, placing second. He set a personal best, leading 101 laps of a Nationwide race. His previous best was 88.
"To come here and lead most laps, and run as good as we did, I was proud of that," Allgaier said. "It's tough to see Elliott out there and know you're catching him and there's not really much you can do."
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had won three straight Nationwide races at Iowa Speedway but couldn't make a push for the lead. He suffered problems with tire grip after starting 11th and finished fifth.
Sam Hornish Jr. won the final Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus, as the incentive program from series sponsor Nationwide came to a close. He placed third, finishing one spot ahead of Des Moines native Michael Annett.
Brad Sweet was the highest finishing rookie, placing 12th.