After last week's Nationwide and Truck races were so eventful for RCR teams, I decided to split the team recap this week and put the Cup teams separate. Just in the nick of time, it seems, since RCR teams won both races. Joey Coulter scored his first NCWTS win and Elliott Sadler vindicated his heartbreaking loss at Indy.
|Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR|
Elliott Sadler went into the U.S. Cellular 250 Saturday night at Iowa Speedway determined to take back the points he lost in last weekend's inaugural Indiana 250 where the final restart resulted in Sadler being black-flagged while leading.
After spending the week defending his actions, Sadler let his driving do the talking. He put the No. 2 OneMain Financial on the pole, setting a track record in the process, then led 60 of the race's 250 laps, before capturing his fourth checkered flag of the season. He increased his point lead to 18 points over teammate Austin Dillon.
"It's been a tough week. We really felt like we should have won that race last week. " Sadler said. "My dad had knee surgery this week, and he gave me the best advice. He said, 'Do not let them (NASCAR) take this championship away from you. Go to Iowa and kick their butts.' I think we're going to be really good for the rest of the year. I'm driving with a lot of confidence, and crew chief Luke Lambert is making a lot of good adjustments right now. We're probably communicating better right now than we have all season long."
Austin Dillon started in third and was fast early, leading twice for 53 laps, but on Lap 138 he hit pit road complaining of a vibration and went down a lap. He spent the rest of the race trying to get that lap back but without success. He finished the night in 15th.
“Wow. I feel like we gave a race away tonight." Dillon exclaimed. "I’m extremely disappointed because I know we had a fast American Ethanol Chevrolet. I almost feel like we’ve been cheated of two wins at Iowa Speedway between last year’s truck race and the incidents that happened tonight. I know that everything happens for a reason. Our team is strong and we will fight back. Danny Stockman and the team did an amazing job building this Chevrolet and our speed on the track reflected that tonight so I have to thank them for all of their hard work.”
Brendan Gaughan started in sixth position in his sixth Nationwide start of the season. Gaughan ran a solid race including some great side-by-side laps with Danica Patrick and brought the No. 33
Menards / Rheem car home 14th.
“Overall, it was a great day for Richard Childress Racing, so congratulations to Richard and everyone associated with the organization on wins with Joey Coulter and Elliott Sadler," said Gaughan "The Rheem/Menards team had a strong run today but the ending was a bit disappointing. The right-front tire fell apart during the last run and we didn’t get a caution when we needed it.”
Camping World Truck Series
|Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR|
Ty Dillon 's No. 3 Bass Pro Shops truck rolled off second, expecting to contend for the win. Unfortunately he miscalculated the first turn, entered too hot and smacked the wall. While he recovered with no caution thrown, the contact affected the truck's handling and slowed pit stops. Dillon managed to salvage a sixth place finish and close to within 8 points of the championship lead.
"The No. 3 Bass Pro Shops team proved today that we have what it takes to be a championship team." said the younger Dillon brother. "We had to battle back from the start of the race to earn this top-10 finish. I can't say enough about how proud I am of Marcus Richmond (crew chief), and the entire team. I'm really happy for Joey Coulter, and the No. 22 team. They've worked really hard to earn that win. It's awesome to see him go to Victory Lane."
The day undeniably belonged to Joey Coulter. The No. 22 RCR/darrellgwynnfoundation.com started in fourth position, and Coulter stayed near the front of the field until, on the final restart, he went three-wide to take the lead from polesitter Nelson Piquet Jr. Coulter led the final seven laps to earn that first visit to Victory Lane in 36 starts. He also moved up a slot in the points standings to seventh.
Coulter on his win: "This feels so amazing. There's no way to describe it. I just can't thank everyone at RCR enough for the opportunity and Harold (Holly, crew chief) for coming to work for my family's ARCA (Racing Series presented by Menards) team and teaching me how to drive. When we hired him, I was a little bit lost. I just can't thank him enough for standing behind me, keeping me ahead of the learning curve and giving me such great equipment every week. It's unbelievable."