Hermie Sadler to run in two Nationwide events
First NASCAR national series event for FOX Sports 1 analyst since 2012
Jones, Sadler , Allgaier react to disappointing title loss
RELATED: Results " Chase Grid " End-of-season standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- The three championship-eligible drivers who didn't hoist the XFINITY Series trophy Saturday evening stood on Homestead-Miami Speedway 's pit road looking both perplexed and disappointed. A restart with three laps remaining bogged down the field and allowed Daniel Suarez to emerge from the front-running pack of contenders and race off to the win and his first NASCAR championship -- a first for a Latin American driver. RELATED: The road to a title " Community reacts to Suarez's win For that final restart Cole Whitt , who had run mid-pack all night, stayed off pit road to inherit the lead once the race returned to green. However, he spun his tires and was unable to accelerate, affecting Suarez's competition as they were lined up behind Whitt's struggling No. 14. "I'd love to hear an explanation from him and the crew chief," said Joe Gibbs Racing driver Erik Jones , who finished ninth after getting caught up behind Whitt. "It just didn't make any sense. Staying out there on old tires with the four championship guys right behind. I'd love to hear why he didn't go in the restart. There's a lot of questions I'd like to have answered." The other XFINITY Series championship-eligible drivers, Elliott Sadler (who finished third) and Justin Allgaier (who finished sixth), were similarly frustrated with the situation. For his part, Whitt told reporters in the XFINITY Series garage his team didn't have any more tires left to change and that he tried to move out of the way of the title contenders on the restart. "It's as simple as the fact that we just didn't have any tires," said Whitt, who finished 18th. "We didn't expect everybody to come in like that, and I was like, I knew this was going to be a handful. "I thought if I was on the outside I would have the most room for them to go underneath me if anything happened and I couldn't get going. With him ( Sadler ) hitting me, I couldn't get going and it was just making me spin the tires worse. Obviously if you could redo it, you would change the way you did it. It's not like we were out there to screw anybody over." RELATED: Sadler : 'It's heartbreaking' It was of little consolation to the three championship runners-up, who all were among the top six on the final restart. Suarez was behind Sadler on the older tires and able to get around quickly to take off for the flag. Both Jones and Allgaier were caught up behind Whitt's slower car. "The dejection of knowing the race came down to three laps. …" Allgaier said, after taking a few private moments to digest the outcome. WATCH: Allgaier upbeat despite loss "That call (by Whitt's team) may work at Daytona and Talladega or somewhere and put you in a good spot but tonight, with what was at stake with all four of us going to restart in the top-five … the battle for the championship was going to be epic. It's a shame. "Tonight doesn't define our season, though. These guys at JR Motorsports have done an amazing job all year long. To come down to this moment is so disappointing. We all held our heads really high that we were able to make the final four and to come into here with the great opportunity to fight for the championship." MORE: Whitt explains his side of things After having a few minutes to digest the situation, Sadler explained that the toughest part of the night was finishing as XFINITY Series championship runner-up for the third time in his career (2011 and 2012) after being ranked either first or second in the standings for all but one week this season. But he insisted he will leave South Florida more encouraged. "From (his team owners) Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and Kelley (Earnhardt Miller) all the way down through everybody in the shop, they work their butts off to make sure we had a legitimate shot at holding up that trophy tonight, and that's what hurts the most is you don't know until the checkered flag if you're going to hold the trophy or not," Sadler said. "It's just part of this format, but it's great for the fans. I think it's great for our sport. It shows a lot of emotion and I think tonight's race played out the way it should be. But all four of us really raced hard with each other up front and Daniel just got the better of us tonight." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
No. 1 of Sadler has lug nut infraction; crew chief out for Miami
RELATED: Updated Chase Grid " Phoenix race results Elliott Sadler 's No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet had 18 of 20 lug nuts safe and secure following Saturday night's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Phoenix International Raceway , a development that will have implications for next week's championship race. Because it is the team's second lug nut infraction, crew chief Kevin Meendering will be suspended for the championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway , NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller told NBCSN after the race. "We bring all the cars down pit road, do our inspection of our wheels and lug nuts and we observed that the No. 1 car had two lug nuts not secure to the wheel," XFINITY Series Managing Director Wayne Auton said in explaining the infraction. " … We advised the (No. 1) team they're probably going to be looking for a crew chief next week and a monetary fine of $10,000." Last week at Texas, Sadler's No. 1 checked out with 19 of 20 lug nuts safe and secure following the event. Meendering was fined $5,000 as it was the team's first-time offense. Sadler finished 13th on Saturday at Phoenix, his result good enough to advance to the Championship 4 next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Daniel Suarez , Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier complete the remainder of the four-driver championship field. "We're going to have to pull together as a team," Sadler told NBCSN after learning of the decision. "It's not a secret. Kevin Meendering has made me a hero this year. We have a lot of depth at JR Motorsports. Those guys will probably rally around us, I'm sure." Later in a post-race interview, Sadler confirmed his Homestead car has been built and is ready to roll. That talk came after an agonizing wait while NASCAR officials discussed the fate of Sadler and his team. The veteran driver joked that team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr . could be his replacement crew chief, then added it would probably be Meendering's decision. Ryan Pemberton, the team's competition director, is a likely candidate. As for an appeal? That will be JR Motorsports officials' call, but Sadler does not expect that to happen given that NASCAR officials showed the team proof in photos and in person. "I'm probably speaking out of turn here, but I doubt we will appeal it," Sadler said. "They showed Kevin the wheels and the pictures. I don't think there's any kind of appeal. Look, I'm not a lawyer and I don't understand how all that works, so I don't want to speak out of turn." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Sadler's substitute crew chief motivated, not worried
RELATED: Phoenix penalties announced " Miami schedule Mike Bumgarner sounded cool and collected Wednesday afternoon answering questions about his crew chief debut this season -- which happens to come in Saturday's XFINITY Series season finale championship race. The JR Motorsports race operations manager will lead driver Elliott Sadler in the championship finale, filling in for Sadler's regular crew chief, Kevin Meendering, who is suspended for one race after a lug nut violation at Phoenix International Raceway last week. Officials ruled two lug nuts on Elliott's No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet were not sufficiently fastened, so Meendering will be sidelined while the veteran Sadler races for his first NASCAR championship. Meendering also was fined $10,000 for the P3-level penalty. Despite the change in plans, Bumgarner anticipated it will be business as usual for the weekend. He expected to rely on Sadler's experience and the team's confidence in taking on his role this weekend. "I don't see much of a challenge from my side," Bumgarner said. "Kevin has a good group of guys, and these guys know what their role is to play. It's more or less letting these guys do their jobs, and this will all play out. "It's just more or less for me, just to guide these guys along and answer any questions and try to do my best at calling a good race and getting Elliott in and off pit road. I think that's probably the biggest task. "We'll see where it all falls, but I feel pretty confident and not really too worried about it. It's an awesome group of guys, and I think these guys will prevail." Bumgarner chuckled a little about team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr . joking he would crew chief this one race, saying, "It would have definitely made it easier on me. I would have much rather just went down there and sat back and watched." This is not to say that Sadler isn't intensely motivated to win this title after twice (2011 and 2012) finishing championship runner-up. The 41-year old is a tried-and-true veteran – having won races in all three of NASCAR's marquee series. And even the complication in this week's situation is unlikely to sidetrack him or this team. "And it's not just Elliott but spotter Brett Griffin, as well," Bumgarner said about relying on the team's veteran leadership. "Those guys have been together for a long time, and that's what I spoke about earlier -- about the importance of getting in and off pit road during the race. He and Brett, they have a good combination as far as speaking and talking together, and I think that is going to make it easy, as well. "Elliott knows what he needs to do with the race car. These guys, they've shown on paper or speed charts as the week goes on every week, they progressively get better as the week goes." While some may see this situation as a championship curveball, this veteran team and its driver have taken everything in stride. In fact, it may have inspired this group even more. "One thing we talked about Monday morning is this is definitely motivation," Bumgarner said. "Any time a team gets down, it just shows you how strong a group of guys we have here, not only with the No. 1 OneMain team but as JR Motorsports as a whole. We all stick behind each other and try to help each other out and make each other stronger." &amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;gt;
Mike Bumgarner named Sadler's Miami crew chief
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 15, 2016) -- JR Motorsports race operations manager Mike Bumgarner will serve as crew chief of the No. 1 OneMain Financial team this Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway as driver Elliott Sadler vies for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship. Bumgarner will fill the role normally occupied by Kevin Meendering. Meendering is serving a one-race suspension as it was determined last Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway that two lugnuts were not satisfactorily fastened to the No. 1 car at the end of the Ticket Galaxy 200 . NASCAR announced the infraction and penalty following the event. "We let Kevin ultimately make this decision because it's his team," said general manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller. "Kevin chose Mike to sit in the crew chief's seat and for good reason -- he is experienced atop the pit box and very dependable. We have a great deal of confidence in Mike to give Elliott his best opportunity to win on Saturday." As one of the drivers left standing in the XFINITY Series Championship 4, Sadler can win his first NASCAR title in Saturday's season finale. The Emporia, Virginia, native enters the race with three wins in 2016, 13 top-fives and 28 top-10s in 32 starts. He will compete against JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier and Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez . Bumgarner, a native of Huntersville, N.C., is a 22-year veteran in NASCAR. He spent 18 years at Hendrick Motorsports , where he worked on cars for Terry Labonte , Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch . In 2007, he was crew chief on Busch's No. 5 Chevrolet, which won four races and three pole awards. Bumgarner came to JRM in 2013 as crew chief for Kasey Kahne and Brad Sweet in the No. 5 NXS entry. The following year he was promoted to oversee race operations for all JR Motorsports teams.
Sadler : 'It's heartbreaking'
Elliott Sadler reflects on a hard fought season and comments on how proud he is of his team following the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Sadler will race for a title without his crew chief
Following a lug nut violation at Phoenix International Raceway Elliott Sadler will have to race for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship without his crew chief, Kevin Meendering.
Sadler scrapes the wall in practice
Championship 4 contender, Elliott Sadler , gets loose during practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway and scrapes the wall.
Sadler explains the decision for Bumgarner as substitute crew chief
Elliott Sadler explains the factors behind the decision for Mike Bumgarner to be his substitute crew chief at Homestead-Miami Speedway as the No. 1 team aims to win the XFINITY Series title.
Daniel Suarez returns home to Mexico a champion
RELATED: ENTRY LIST " SCHEDULE Fresh off his 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, Daniel Suarez will make his highly anticipated return to Mexico this weekend in the very place his NASCAR career began -- the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series. The Monterrey native will serve as honorary grand marshal for the series’ exhibition race Sunday at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, site of Suarez’s first NASCAR Peak Mexico Series win in 2012. After a year’s hiatus, Mexico’s national stock car championship series will be back on track in 2017 with a full race schedule. The series will celebrate its 10th season with its first year of a multi-year agreement with PEAK as its entitlement sponsor. To get ramped up for the return, the series will compete this weekend in the country’s capital. Nearly 30 drivers have registered for the event, which will be run in two 70-lap segments. Each segment will include a 50-minute time limit. Teams will be allowed to make adjustments in the intermission, and the top 10 positions will be inverted for the second segment. Practice and qualifying will be Saturday. The race is slated to include past champions Abraham Calderón (2014), Rodrigo Peralta (2013), Jorge Goeters (2005, 2012) and Rafael Martinez (2007). Martinez was the first Mexico Series champion under the NASCAR banner. Suarez finished third in the championship in 2012, and was runner-up in 2013 -- missing out on the title by just eight points. Suarez was part of the inaugural NASCAR Next class in 2011, the industry initiative that spotlights the sport’s rising young stars. Three of Suarez’s 10 series wins took place at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, which was named after legendary Formula One driver and one of the earliest Hispanic NASCAR drivers, Pedro Rodriguez. Suarez also notched 25 top-five finishes in 58 races over his four seasons competing in the Mexico Series. He moved up to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, where he won three times driving for Rev Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. On November 19, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver became the sport’s first foreign-born national series champion, beating out Elliott Sadler , Justin Allgaier and Erik Jones in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase by virtue of his victory in the series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway .