Elliott Sadler Confronts Ryan Preece After Losing Out On XFINITY Series Championship

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Brant James ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Elliott Sadler (left) confronts Ryan Preece following Saturday’s Ford EcoBoost 300 XFINITY Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Photo: NASCAR.com video)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Elliott Sadler’s despair and frustration in finishing second for the fourth time in the last seven NASCAR XFINITY Series seasons was evident on Saturday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It was scrawled on his face. It was patently obvious when he crawled through the window of his No. 1 Chevrolet and confronted Ryan Preece, on whom he projected his anger.

The 42-year-old veteran for JR Motorsports, his 22-year career devoid of a championship in a top-three NASCAR series, was angry that Preece had impeded his way as he attempted to catch teammate William Byron while they contested the series title with nine laps to go in Turn 3.

“Tonight is the closest I’ve ever been to winning a championship,” Sadler said. “Having the lead against [Byron], the race is in my hands to win the championship, and when I dove down into Turn 1, we’d been running behind [Preece] for 10 laps. When I dove down into [Turn] 1, I thought he was going to give it to me, and I was going to slide in front of him, and he just gassed it and pinched me down, and that was it.

“That’s pretty hard to swallow. I’ve been racing a long time; y’all know that. But I would say tonight is the most devastating and down and out I’ve ever felt in my career.”

Held from Preece by three officials, Sadler made his point. Preece, he believed, had no business racing a title-contending driver the way he did. Trouble was, Preece was in fourth place, in his preferred line and trying to help his Joe Gibbs Racing team win an owners’ championship at the moment Sadler failed to get past quickly enough to chase after Byron, who eventually rolled away to finish third in the race and claim his first NASCAR championship at age 19.

Sadler said the circumstances leading him to finish five points behind the champion was “very devastating to me right now to have one taken away from me like that.” Sam Hornish Jr., who won the team title for Team Penske by finishing second, negated Preece’s right to battle him, he said.

“He wasn’t [racing for a championship] because the [Hornish Jr.] was a half a lap ahead of him,” Sadler reasserted. “He wasn’t racing anybody.” JR Motorsports’ No. 9 and JGR — with two cars — also entered the race eligible to win the owner championship.

Preece said he would have “laid over” or moved from Sadler’s way if ordered, so the title contenders could have right of way. Byron had passed Sadler for the final time by ducking low as Sadler ran the high line. Sadler became bottled behind and had his momentum blunted.

The incident was the final stroke in a pitched contest between Byron, who will take over the No. 24 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsport in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next year and the frustrated veteran. Sadler was hustling to overtake Byron for fourth place with 38 laps left when his car got loose in the middle line causing him to glide up the track and make contact with the rear of Byron’s car.

Sadler finished second in the XFINITY Series final standings — by an excruciating two points last season — as he was passed on a restart with three laps left by Daniel Suarez, who bore away to win the race and the title. Sadler, who finished third in the race, had led the standings for the previous 13 weeks, and finished second for the third time in five years.

Sadler was without his normal crew chief, Kevin Meendering, in that race because he was serving a penalty for loose lug nuts discovered in a post-race inspection at Phoenix Raceway.

This season he entered second in points and winless after claiming three victories last season, increasing his winless streak to 38 races.


  1. My opinion preece did nothing wrong if anything he gets kudos for that save he made that’s the problem with nascar team cars and drivers letting people pass your there to race period

  2. Ryan lost me as a fan. It was great to have a driver from CT come up and race with the big boys. I was a big fan but to get in the way of two teams fighting for a title was just wrong. Not a good way to get respect from the drivers you want to be part of…Ryan would have been dumped if Bush was behind him..

  3. darealgoodfella says


    Sadler ran out of car, he muffed it. Preece was running for his career too. That was a spectacular save on Preece’s part. Unbelievable!!! Sadler tried the slide job but couldn’t pull it off, and even if he did, he didn’t have enough to get Byron. Did Sadler really expect Preece to get out of the way??? LOL!!!

  4. He was racing for position. On the lead lap. He had every right to race Sadler. Either that or NASCAR needs to have a race with just the 4 playoff drivers.

  5. darealgoodfella says

    Sadler didn’t have enough to get around Preece, there was no way he was going catch and pass Byron who was faster.

  6. Preece did nothing wrong. He was running the same line that he had run. Did William Byron have a problem getting by him? No. Did Elliott Sadler have a problem getting by him? Yes. There is a reason Sadler has been in the 2nd tier series all this time. He is always getting outdriven by the younger, more talented drivers. Preece was running for an owners championship and had to try and hold his position. You never know when a caution could come out and allow for pitting and a restart. I lost any respect that I had for Sadler. Instead of blaming your loss on another driver, try looking in the mirror. The answer is in front of you.

  7. darealgoodfella says

    Preece did an excellent crossover move to pull off a pass, a move that is highly developed in modified racing. Great move.

    Preece carried the Toyota banner today.

  8. Get the speedy dry out for Sadler with all that crying. Sadler said “I thought he was going to give it to me”. Are you serious. There’s a reason why they call it racing. Ryan did nothing wrong and after the race he should have gave it to Sadler for trying to wreck him. Byron had no problem passing preece. Sadler was just mad because he miss judged the pass and it cost his team. Don’t take anyone sh#t Ryan. All of the northeast has your back!!! As for the rest of the race it was horrible.

  9. james heingway says

    As far as I am know racing is all about finishing as best as you can, not about pulling over to let someone pass you.

  10. Never agreed with you until now.

  11. Great job ryan
    If sadler should have won.he would of passed preece..

    These guys make me sick. Sadler

    So its move over when you see and old dude. Who never made it
    Ryan has one more win than him

  12. Ryan did nothing wrong – end of case!

  13. If the shoe was on the other foot everyone would be going after Elliott Ryan is wrong he was not going for the points championship only the owners he should of let him by

  14. Really? Gonna stop liking preece because he raced a cry baby hard. Good go be a Sadler fan and cry.

  15. I don’t think Ryan was wrong BUT the expectation in the garage is that everyone not in the title hunt pull aside. That’why Cup contenders always finish 1,2,3,4 at Homestead. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. I do know that Dale Sr would have done the same dang think as Preece.

    I laughed when Ryan put up his fists as Sadler approached. He must not realize none of these modern day sissy boys don’t throw down like Donnie Allison or Cale Yarborough use to.

  16. Sorry dude, Ryan is racing for his future and career; he has 4 top 5’s including a win and can’t get a full time ride in Trucks or Xfinity? If he was in 20th position this would be a different conversation.

  17. Geoff Nooney says

    Preece just gave me a reason to watch Xfinity or Nascar racing again! Confrats on another great run and a spectacular save.

  18. darealgoodfella says

    “Tonight is the closest I’ve ever been to winning a championship,” Sadler said. “Having the lead against [Byron], the race is in my hands to win the championship, and when I dove down into Turn 1, we’d been running behind [Preece] for 10 laps. When I dove down into [Turn] 1, I thought he was going to give it to me, and I was going to slide in front of him, and he just gassed it and pinched me down, and that was it.” – Elliot Sadler

    Wow. Thought it was going to be given to him. I didn’t realize they did that sort of thing in RACING. He just didn’t have it to pass Preece, he definitely didn’t have it to catch and pass Byron.

    Elliot was losing it much earlier when he got into into Byron and almost took both of them out. Sadler was trying to do the dive and slide but couldn’t gain the position, only enough to hit Preece on his LR quarter with his own RF. Bigly sad on the part of Sadler. Did Sadler expect Byron to give it to him?

    Great save by Preece after Sadler hit him. Great driving.

  19. darealgoodfella says

    🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣

    Jeffrey, great comment, except the stuff about “old dude”.

    Let’s go to lunch, send your helicopter to get me. I need another loan.

  20. No orders to lay over, 4th in points in owners championship battle. competitive car racing for position, Sadler put his car in dangerous spot, Preece cool calm and collected in the aftermath, Sadler whines like he was entitled. Zero damage to Preece’s status, maybe strengthened.

  21. Paul Wilson says

    Typical Ryan Preece, rather it be Thompson, Stafford, the WMT, or now Xfinity, he has zero respect for anyone else on the track. This was so stupid, he wasn’t going to catch the Penski 22 for the owners championship, so he should have dropped down and let the 1 and 9 pass and decide the drivers championship. He still would have finished 5th and could have avoided all the negative press.

  22. The “save”. 40% Preece for not over correcting, 60% wall in the right place. No wall he likely goes around.

  23. Sadler was in front of Byron at the time this all happened.

  24. sour grapes of wrath says

    I dove down into Turn 1, we’d been running behind [Preece] for 10 laps. When I dove down into [Turn] 1, I thought he was going to give it to me, and I was going to slide in front of him, and he just gassed it and pinched me down, and that was it.” – Elliot Sadler…WHERE ARE THE SPOTTERS? …no deals yesterday??… sadler is a crybaby.. its racing you couldn’t`t pass preece you lose sorry ..pullover cause its for a championship?? .preece did NOT block sadler gave him almost the entire race track.. slide job .. not even a chance your car was junk sadler you lose.. PS I am not a preece fan but he did nothing wrong..

  25. Sadler pulled the same move on Byron earlier in the race that caused him to lose ground. Sadler also drove himself into the wall earlier. Byron was able to pass Preece cleanly, but Salder ran right into him

  26. The score so far:
    Pro Preece 12
    Agin Preece 3
    Other 2
    Only opinions that count are the crew chief, Joe Gibbs and his management team.

  27. Mr. Wilson, your thinking is what is killing racing. Earnhardt Sr., Stewart , Cale, Allison, K. Busch and the late great TC would never have let anyone go for a spot on the track. Thats money out of there pocket and Ryan needs every dollar he can right now. Your thinking is the dale Earnhardt jr thinking. Never win but be friends with everyone.

  28. Thereis no Rule in Nascar that you HAVE TO move out of the way of Anyone, unless your already down a Lap. If you are racing for points, position, the win, a championship, owners Champ, it does not matter. IF CRY BABY SADler was faster and better and could finish ahead, then he would have done so ALL RACE! IF he was better then he could have gone Low, Middle, and just drove by Preece. But he couldnt! He had All Season to win a Championship and hes blaming someone running the highline in the last few laps of the last race. Sore Loser and 1 of many reasons why he wont ever be a Champion of anything but some short track somewhere.

  29. Doug, what about the respect / opinion of the other 39 drivers on the track? You can honestly say it is okay for a part timer in a series to show up at the last race to decide the championship, and be running with the teams 1 and 2 in points with 10 laps to go?

    What were his team rules, keep the 1 and 9 behind you, so we can finish 2nd in owner points?

  30. I’ve seen it to many times with Ryan he gets over his head ricing he even said he would have done it differently. But that is why he is not full time

  31. James Scott says

    Ryan great job. Your their to race. I expected a lot more from the veteran Sadler.

  32. Hey Elliott, there is a reason why you haven’t won a championship or made it in the cup, and it is not Ryan. Not of a fan of his in the northeast, but running third on the lead lap is no reason to let him go. Great save by the way. Best of luck next year.

  33. Even NASCAR is getting soft Sadler screwed up and he calls out Preese to cover his ass

  34. Paul, this is racing which by definition means going as fast and hard as you can safely drive the car and finish. This pull over bs is not racing it’s let’s make a deal. So NASCAR makes a ridiculous chase format and every other driver on the track should get out of the way? It’s not raced that way all year long so why on last race? Bottom line is Xfinity is a feeder series to the cup and you have guys on there way out,that had there shot but couldn’t make it,and rookies trying to prove themselves so it will always be guys racing hard trying to make it and as a veteran who hasn’t won anything and been in Xfinity forever Sadler should certainly understand that or go home. You notice how Sadler noticed preece would defend himself and decided to point and yell. Great job Ryan keep not taking crap from has been nobody’s.

  35. When you are working for someone, you do as instructed by your boss to keep your job and get your paycheck. Ryan said he would have moved over if instructed to do so. Obviously he wasn’t, so he didn’t. I like Sadler, but he had many other races that he could have done better at to make this all a non-issue. Nice job of doing your job, Ryan!

  36. darealgoodfella says

    Paul Wilson, what if the “Penski 22” had problems and fell off?

    There were plenty of laps for something like that to happen.

    It’s the last race… give up anything here and you can’t make it up in a later race. You have to take and hold on to everything you can.

    Sadler didn’t have it.

  37. Thanks dareal
    Just kidding im actually older than sadler too..

    Im not rich I just have a lot of $$$$

    Helicopter was a joke
    I do have a nice car thpugh..
    Take care dareal

  38. I never lent dareal money
    Just a joke

    Dareal is a good dude and kicks butt on the comments…
    Gotta give credit where credit id due…
    Ok gotta go my maid just got home!!

  39. Paul Wilson, you don’t understand how serious JGR takes this Xfinitiy owners championship thing. There were some young drivers who ran a few races with JGR years ago that came out and said the crew members were more focused on the young drivers not screwing up the teams chance at the owners championship than actually doing anything that would give them a winning car that day.

  40. Watching Sadler cry about his “entitlement” and someone who took it away from him………….He obviously had read Hillary Clinton’s best selling book “What Happened”. So sad. When you fail, make a bigger fool of yourself with your finger-pointing!!

  41. Paul Wilson says

    Fast Eddie, do you even understand the current points system? Anything Sadler did in the first 32 races of the season, had zero impact on yesterdays race.

  42. darealgoodfella says

    This is just one of the issues when there are several competitions going on in the same race. Too bad. This was known to be a problem going into this structure.

    Mike, Trump got elected but can’t stop talking about and blaming Obama and Clinton. Wassup wit dat?

  43. Frankly you forgot to mention that any of those guys you mentioned would have moved him out of the way for driving that way,and fast Eddie good to see your right on top of things did you here Kennedy was shot !!!!

  44. Dadgumit Fast Eddy I think you nailed it. Everyone wants to think the strategy was a momentary thing that Preece concocted on his own. It was a team decision to fight for the position they earned and the team in my view had the right.

  45. darealgoodfella says

    Watching the Cup race was just as interesting. Kyle Larson was mixing it up with the two cars going for the championship and the announcers were getting all excited about it. Never said Larson should stay out of it or keep out of the way.

  46. Well boys and girls I have held my tongue for long enough now.The young, talented, championship driver of the 9 made a clean awesome pass of the 18.Preece didn’t move out of his way and Byron didn’t contact him.I think that’s one of the reasons we watch and enjoy racing.Then we have middle-aged,alsoran,crybaby SADler,who couldn’t drive his way out of a paper bag or fight his way out of it either.He is a hack and has been around to long.I don’t know why Jr.would want him smelling up his program.I think jr.is a mealymouthed fool who tweeted earlier in the season “somebody should hire Ryan Preece”.As if he couldn’t have hired him himself.Instead he keeps no load Sadler around.Hopefully JGR has Ryan’s back.The 18 was not lapped traffic and should only move over for a team mate and only if ordered to do so.I can’t believe some of the fools commenting here about “respect in the garage”.Someone should tell their friend Paul that no one gets respect by laying down.I’m almost 68 years old now and still getting blown away the comments of fools.

  47. darealgoodfella says

    The xfinity race was better than the Monster race.

  48. You go Art. Trash Gibbs for beating your precious Giants in football and now he’s a genius for giving Preece a 10 race deal. Holding your tongue…..the smartest you’ve ever been. Pack your food when you visit Stafford which hopefully will be infrequent.

  49. darealgoodfella says

    art, well said.

    The Monster race had a similar situation today with Larson mixing it up with the two cars going for the championship. The announcers were all excited about it, didn’t say Larson should back out of it.

  50. Dareal
    I may be fielding a twam of 3 next year
    Ill keep you posted
    Probly.gonna run only 3 races
    Daytona china and bangladesh

  51. I am tired of drivers complaining that the other guy DIDN’t GET OUT OF MT WAY”. Racing for position, you have to pass legitimate. Sadler never was a factor in cup, and these teenagers and 20 somethings are cleaning his clock. Retire already.

  52. Art well said if they would have told him on the radio to move over he’s racing period he gave both drivers racing room if he was a lapped car fine btw I’m not a preece fan would have no problem calling it

  53. Don’t know what world you live in preece did absolutely nothing wrong in fact the race I was watching Saturday had Sadler over driving his car and almost ending both their night Ryan made an excellent save. He is not there to move out of people’s way he is there to achieve the best finish he can for the team. Sadler made preece an excuse for him not being able to get the job done as he does every single race. Maybe he should consider retirement he’s lost his edge. Preece was running the same line he had run all night and came home 4th good job Ryan maybe this will lead to a full time ride rather than just 10 or so races he’s scheduled to run in 2018

  54. Paul Wilson, sorry my bad. For some reason I keep forgetting the last race for the drivers championship is heads up. But there’s no reason for contenders to expect everyone to pull over for them. If you’re down laps and at the back of the field, then yes, move over. If you’re fighting for a top 5 with a chance at the owner’s championship, then not so much.

  55. Hey Elect… No, which one?

  56. Give me a break Paul preece has the respect of other drivers he earned that last year driving sub par equipment and this year with 3 great finishes that whole situation was 100 percent sadlers fault preece gave him the 3 inside lanes and he chose to overdrive his car luckily preece pulled off an excellent save otherwise both their nights would have ended Sadler showed complete lack of respect for a driver who was better and faster than him ALL night and may have lost the respect of some drivers with his post race antics respect goes both ways

  57. 100 percent agree with you eddie

  58. Ken you hit the nail on the head SADler should just give up and go grow peanuts or something his degree of talent reads like a 7 up commercial…never had it never will

  59. Maybe they (Nascar) should go back to straight up points for the first 35 races then put the top 16 on track for a special championship race say 200 laps at lap 30 bottom 4 cut same at lap 60 & 90 then let final 4 battle it out for 110 laps for championship then none of the 4 would have any excuse except that they suck. Also think the racing community should pitch in and buy SADler a champions trophy as it’s probably the only way he would get one

  60. Maybe Nascar should do like the PGA have the Xfinity series then have the senior Xfinity series for all the washed up shoulda woulda could x- cup drivers over 40 wouldn’t it be cool if a 41 year old was the series youngest champion.

  61. Fast Eddie I couldn’t help my self , your right forgot about the other LoL

  62. darealgoodfella says

    Preece didn’t do anything wrong. Like I said earlier, if a yellow came out, Preece would have been right there with the 22 going for the Manufacturer’s Championship. As long as there was that chance, however remote, it’s racing and its’ business, you have to go for it. Even if PReece wasn’t there, Sadler didn’t have a chance to catch Byron.

    Watch this…


  63. Sadler should come uo north and run a sk mod race on Fridays nights,maybe he can learn how to race.Move over,lmao,Race for it ,Byron did,Blame yourself you CHOOOOCH.You tried to wreck your TEAMMATE,then Preece,and wrecked yourself ,RETIRE.or get in

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