HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Elliott Sadler hung up the helmet on Saturday evening, concluding his career with a 14th place finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
A career that has amassed more than 23 years, and has included 17 victories across all three of the national NASCAR series, Sadler managed to end his career on his own terms, an uncommon feat in today’s sporting world.
13 of those victories came in the Xfinity Series, with owners such as Richard Childress, Joe Gibbs, and his current owner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
— Steve O’Donnell (@odsteve) November 17, 2018
Before the race and throughout the weekend, Sadler was showered in praise, gratitude, and respect from his peers.
Just before the green flag flew, Jeff Burton from NBC Sports called him up during the pace laps to congratulate him on a career well done. As Burton mentioned after the chat, Sadler definitely did everything the right way.
“It’s pretty surreal,” Sadler said during a press conference on Friday. “It’s been a little bit of an emotional week, but honestly, it’s been fun.”
Sadler started the day from the seventh starting spot, and lost a few spots before the end of the stage, crossing the line under the Green-Checkered flag in ninth place.
After the stage break pit stops, Sadler wound up restarting the second stage in tenth position. He quickly got back around Ryan Reed for ninth, and once again finished the stage in the same position.
Another round of stage break pit stops put the 43-year-old veteran in the same spot for the final stage restart.
— JR Motorsports (@JRMotorsports) November 17, 2018
In the closing laps, Sadler reported a vibration to his team, and came back down pit road to correct it. After losing two laps, he gained one back from his championship-winning teammate, Tyler Reddick, and ultimately came home 14th, one lap down.
After the race, Sadler’s family, friends, and fans swarmed around his car as he exited for the final time.
“I couldn’t be more proud and thankful for my guys and all that they’ve done over that last few years,” Sadler said. “It’s been an emotional weekend, but I’m ready.”
Concluding the season, Sadler comes home fifth overall in the 2018 Xfinity Series points standings, his eighth Top-5 points standing finish of his Xfinity Series career.
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