DOVER, Del. -- The relationship between veteran drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Elliott Sadler isn't new. Before JR Motorsports was even a thought in Junior's mind, the duo raced against one another in late models years ago and formed a kinship off the track. The pair's relationship added a new facet on Friday, when officials announced at Dover International Speedway that Elliott would drive for Earnhardt-owned JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2016. Earnhardt Jr. broke the news earlier in the day via Periscope. "I'm excited to work with Elliott full-time and give him the best opportunity we can, to put him in the best car we can and to get to work with all our guys," Earnhardt said during the press conference at Dover on Friday. "... It's going to be a lot of fun. Winning races is great, but when you do it with your friends, it's even better." "We've been friends a long time and I feel like we've had each others' backs on and off the track a long time." Elliott added. "I think when you're vested personally like we are, I think to put this group together is going to be very, very exciting. "It makes you want to -- on so many different levels -- to do a good job and perform like you're supposed to. Not only on the race track, but off the race track." Elliott's number and crew chief are yet to be determined, but he will bring long-time sponsor OneMain Financial from his current Roush Fenway Racing ride. In a sport that thrives on sponsorship, a long-term supporter like OneMain Financial gives team owner Earnhardt a sense of steadiness. " Elliott has worked with One Main for a very long time so that's an easy relationship to trust and get behind and be a part of," Earnhardt said. " … I will say when we told our employees on the shop floor, they were ecstatic. It brings stability and those people really depend on that. When they see those cars go out of the shop without a sponsor on them, that makes everybody nervous." JR Motorsports currently fields three cars in the XFINITY Series with reigning series champion Chase Elliott and Regan Smith behind the wheel full-time, and a group of drivers, including Ben Rhodes as well as Sprint Cup stars Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne piloting the third car. For Sadler , who has won 10 races in the XFINTY Series and three times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the chance to drive for an established team like JRM is a prime opportunity – one that supersedes getting back into a Sprint Cup car for now. "I want to be competitive in the XFINITY Series. I want to win races," Elliott said. "... There's nothing like leaving your house on a weekend going to the race track, knowing you have the opportunity to lead laps, sit on poles, run up front. "... My goal right now, and my heart and soul, and my passion is still very great when I come to the track. But it's more what I can do on Saturdays and what I can do in the XFINITY Series. If I go out and do a great job and win every race and those ( Sprint Cup ) opportunities come, we'll look at that at that time. "But right now, man, we've got to jump on this -- this is great."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Elliott Sadler announce that Sadler will join JR Motorsports in the XFINITY Series in 2016.
RELATED: Race results " Updated NXS standings DOVER, Del. -- Regan Smith charged from fourth to first during a restart on Lap 121 and stayed there for the rest of the Hisense 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover International Speedway Saturday, posting his second victory of the season and working his way back into championship contention. After a 31-minute rain delay, Smith passed Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin and leader Elliott Sadler on the restart on Lap 121 of 200, staved off intense pressure from Hamlin midway through the final green-flag run and pulled away as the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates battled for second place. Without a concrete deal in place for next season, Smith won for the first time at the Monster Mile -- in fact, the 80 laps he led were the first circuits he had ever spent out front at Dover. The victory was the sixth of Smith's career, and all of them have come under the JR Motorsports banner. RELATED: Dillon has tire failure as caution waves Hamlin won the fight for the runner-up spot, crossing the finish line .703 seconds behind Smith. Busch led a race-high 110 laps and came home third, followed by Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson . Austin Dillon ran sixth, one spot ahead of Chase Elliott , who moved into second place in the series standings, 24 points behind leader Chris Buescher , who finished eighth on Saturday. Smith, who rallied from a flat tire in the first third of the race, took over third in points, 36 behind Buescher. "I knew the car was fast, but I didn't know it was that fast until we got out in clean air," Smith said in Victory Lane. "This wasn't a Hail Mary. We came from the back to the front and just had a fast race car. "If we can keep doing that every week, and get another win or two here or there, I don't know what's going to happen. I'm trying to figure out some things for next year, so wins never hurt -- that's never a bad thing going forward." A victory for Smith was not even a remote consideration when a light rain began falling shortly after the halfway point, with the race already under caution for a wreck involving Stanton Barrett and Cale Conley on Lap 106. Sadler , whose 2016 move to JR Motorsports was announced on Friday, took two new tires under the yellow and was first off pit road, leading the race and praying for a monsoon. But the rain abated, depriving Sadler of a going-away present to Roush Fenway Racing , the organization he will leave at season's end. "I've never had much luck with the rain," Sadler said ruefully. "I've always been on the wrong side of that, going back to the 2009 Daytona 500 (where Sadler was fifth with a chance to win when the race was called because of rain after 152 laps)." Note: Ty Dillon cut a tire and hit the outside wall on Lap 24, resulting in a 28th-place finish. He slipped from second to fourth in the series standings, 39 points back of Buescher.
DOVER, Del. -- Greg Biffle has a new face atop his pit box this weekend as Roush Fenway Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team manager Kevin Kidd is temporaily serving as crew chief the No. 16 team at Dover International Speedway . Biffle's standard crew chief Matt Puccia and his wife Alyssa welcomed baby girl Kennedy Harper Puccia on Friday. @AlyssaPuccia14 and I want to welcome Kennedy Harper Puccia to the world! Thanks everybody for all the kind words! pic.twitter.com/tIHBSEWAg1 — Matt Puccia (@mpuccia16) October 3, 2015 Upon hearing the news that his wife was in labor on Thursday evening, Puccia drove from Dover, Delaware -- where he was staying ahead of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) -- to Mooresville, North Carolina for the delivery. Kidd will call the race for Biffle, although it was initially uncertain if Puccia would make the trip back to Dover. "It will probably be a Sunday morning game-time decision and I'm leaving it completely in Matt's hands," Kidd said on Saturday at the track. "If he wants to come up and do the race tomorrow, then we'll certainly welcome him. As a company, we'd love to have him back, but we also want to be respectful and do the right thing as an employer and give him some time to be with his family right now." Puccia has served as crew chief for Greg Biffle since 2011, and has been a part of three wins for the No. 16 team. Biffle is 20th in the point standings and is coming off his third top-five finish of the season, a fourth-place result at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last weekend. Biffle was 17th in opening practice on Saturday at Dover. Kidd came to Roush Fenway from Joe Gibbs Racing after last season. In his role as team manager, Kidd supervises at-track operations for the team. Prior to joining Roush, Kidd was a crew chief in the XFINITY Series for JGR since 2010 with four wins atop the pit box. He filled in as a crew chief for one Sprint Cup Series race with Elliott Sadler and Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2008.
Jonathan Merryman recaps a busy Friday at Dover International Speedway, despite cars being unable to hit the track due to weather, with Clint Bowyer announcing his plans for 2016 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. welcoming Elliott Sadler to JR Motorsports.
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Elliott Sadler isn't saying he will be back with Roush Fenway Racing for the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. And the veteran racer isn't saying he won't. "There are a lot of moving parts right now," Sadler said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "... Just when you think something is going to happen, something else happens over in the corner. There's a lot of stuff going on, so we'll see." Sadler said a recent report that he would exit Roush for JR Motorsports after the 2015 season and take sponsor OneMain Financial with him "was about 50/50." "Fifty percent true and 50 percent not true," he said. "The true part was I had not signed and have not signed with anybody, so that part of the report was definitely true. The rest of it, I have no idea about." Sadler , 40, has 10 career wins in the XFINITY Series. He is in his first season with Roush. He is fifth in the points standings, and has finished ninth or better in 10 of his last 13 starts coming into the Food City 300 at Bristol. A wreck with Brendan Gaughan brought Sadler's night to an end earlier than planned. In addition to three Sprint Cup Series teams, Roush Fenway Racing fields XFINITY Series teams for Sadler , points leader Chris Buescher , Bubba Wallace and Ryan Reed . "I don't have anything to announce here today," Sadler said. "We're still working through some things for next year. ... I want to be a part of this sport. I want to be competitive. I still think to this day that last five years there's no other XFINITY regular that has more poles and more wins than I do and I want to keep that going. I want to stay competitive and stay up front." Sponsor OneMain has the longest tenure of any XFINITY Series sponsor currently in the sport, he said. "They want to be in this sport for a long time and hopefully we'll be able to do that."
Elliott Sadler catches heavy right side damage from smacking the wall after contact with Brendan Gaughan out of Turn 4 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Veteran to pilot No. 1 Ford in XFINITY Series RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Elliott Sadler will join Roush Fenway Racing in 2015 to compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, according to the organization and sponsor OneMain Financial. Sadler , currently competing for Joe Gibbs Racing, will pilot the No. 1 RFR Ford. A 10-time winner in the series, he is fourth in points heading into Saturday’s O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET). "It's an honor to remain with OneMain Financial next year," Sadler said. "I’m thrilled for the opportunity to race under the OneMain Financial banner and team up with Roush Fenway Racing to compete for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship in 2015." The 39-year-old Sadler has 260 career starts in the series with 16 poles and 128 top-10 finishes. He is also a three-time winner in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. He is one of 24 drivers to win at least one race in each of NASCAR’s three national series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series). OneMain, previously CitiFinancial, has a prior sponsor relationship with RFR. "They are a first-class organization from top to bottom," said Steve Newmark, president of RFR. "We enjoyed a great partnership in the past and we look forward to reigniting that relationship moving forward next season. "( Elliott ) is a seasoned veteran and a winner on the track. He brings a reputation as a fierce competitor and I know that our entire organization … will benefit from his experience next season." Sadler will join current RFR drivers Ryan Reed and Chris Buescher . MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Elliott Sadler talks about what the future holds for him in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2016.
High temperatures lead to driver dehydration in XFINITY Series race Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway saw high speeds and even higher temperatures. Race winner Kyle Busch along with Ty Dillon and Elliott Sadler were taken to the infield care center post-race, where the drivers were all treated and released. "It's a hot day," Sadler said, noting his air conditioning wasn't working for 80 percent of the race. "I got hot. With like 30 (laps) to go I was like, 'Man, this is a lot hotter than I've been in a race car in a long time.' I had to stick it out." A few drivers even took to Twitter to comment on the heat. Hot hot day but we rebounded nice with our @BassProShops @TeamChevy chipping away at the points lead. Not bad for blowing up in practicelap1 — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) July 25, 2015 Definitely hotter with this rules package https://t.co/EWz4Ztkmw3 — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) July 25, 2015