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NASCAR: Tight Nationwide race doesn’t bother Sadler

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Elliott Sadler’s lead in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series over runner-up Chase Elliott is a mere four points. Regan Smith is eight points back.

That’s not a bother for Sadler as he prepares for Friday’s Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

“I think that if you worry yourself to death about points right now you’re going to be tore all to pieces by the time November gets here,” Sadler said. “We look at it and say, ‘OK, Regan is doing good and Chase is doing good.’ We feel like it’s a three-horse race right now, and it has been so far.

“As far as trying to critique it and worry yourself to death about how close you are, I think there’s no way it can be healthy for you week in and week out. We just race, man.”

Sadler has been consistent this season, with 11 top-10 finishes (including a fifth at Daytona in February) and a victory at Talladega. He’ll drive the same No. 11 Toyota on Friday that won at Talladegain May.

“We always have a good outlook for restrictor-plate races,” Sadler said. “We ran very well here in February and of course we had the win the last time we were at a restrictor-plate race so it’s always a wild one.”

Notes

• Friday’s race also starts the Nationwide Series’ five-race “Dash 4 Cash” competition. The Daytona race serves as a qualifier, with the top four finishers eligible for the first Dash 4 Cash race at New Hampshire next week. The highest finisher of the qualified drivers at New Hampshire qualifies for the next event at Chicagoland, with the winner and top three advancing to the following race at Indianapolis, continuing with the same format to the final race at Iowa. The winner of each Dash 4 Cash race receives $100,000.

• NASCAR’s postseason awards banquet returns to Las Vegas for a sixth consecutive year It is scheduled for Dec. 5 at the Wynn hotel.

• Brian Vickers’ No. 55 Toyota will have a Florida State paint scheme in honor of the Seminoles’ national football championship last season for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup race.

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