NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs Media Day Notebook


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - JR Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler could rightfully be called the dean of the NASCAR XFINITY Series.

In a NASCAR career that started in 1995, Sadler has accumulated 13 XFINITY Series victories to go with his three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins.

In this season's new stage-based racing format, Sadler has already wrapped up the regular-season championship and the 15-playoff-point bonus that goes with it.

What Sadler doesn't have in any series through 813 combined career starts is a title. He finished second in last year's XFINITY Series champions battle after the introduction of a playoff format. He was runner-up in 2011 and 2012 under a season-long scoring system.

But the top prize has continued to elude him.

That doesn't mean, however, that the 42-year-old would be tempted to leave the No. 1 JRM Chevrolet if he happens to win the championship this year. No way. No how.

"I'm still under contract, and I've got a good contract with a really good race team, and I want to keep racing," Sadler said on Tuesday during NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs Media Day at the Embassy Suites. "I know I'm going to at least be around a couple more years.

"Would I have a different attitude? Yes, if I was a champion and coming back next year, I'd probably have a little bit more relaxed attitude during the regular season, maybe, moving forward. But I would still come back and race and be with you guys."


In a career in racing that spans more than 30 years, NASCAR XFINITY Series Managing Director Wayne Auton enjoyed one of his favorite highlights only recently-Jeremy Clement's Aug. 27 victory in the Johnsonville 180 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Running his No. 51 Chevrolet on a shoestring budget, Clements muscled his way past Matt Tifft on the final lap and took the first checkered flag of his NASCAR XFINITY Series career in his 256th start. That's what Auton found so gratifying.

"You can't go out here and buy an NFL team," Auton said, "but you can't definitely build a race car, get the right credentials, get the right driver, the right crew chief, and as the saying goes, on any given Sunday-and the reason I say that is we race Road America on Sunday-if the stars line up right, you can win one of these things.

"It doesn't take megabucks to win one of these things, if the stars line up right."

Auton feels Clements' team deserves a special nod as an organization not only with a limited budget but as a team with no affiliation with a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series affiliation.

"The Clements racing operation has four guys who work on the race car. Low budget. I'm not going to say how much money they have per race, but it's basically nothing. They go and they work hard, and it's neat to see a team of lower budget go out and beat the big guys.

"It's part of the sport, and I know that's what Bill France wanted when he built NASCAR."


During introductory remarks on NASCAR XFINITY Series media day at Embassy Suites, the sanctioning body and the series entitlement sponsor unveiled a new series trademark for 2018.

As Matt Lederer, Comcast's executive director of sports marketing, gestured from a balcony at the hotel, the new mark lit up on a video screen high on the wall of the NASCAR Hall of Fame across the street.

"We worked very hard with NASCAR-and the process was very collaborative-to make sure that the series mark represented what we feel the future of the series is," Lederer said. "We wanted to make sure it stood apart. We wanted to make sure our brand came through in a big way.

"We wanted to make sure it reflected the future of the series, something that we believe in so deeply."

Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer, extolled the season-long effort to devise the new branding.

"We're excited about it, and we think it reflects all the great things about the XFINITY Series," Gregory said. "Comcast and NASCAR spent a lot of time building the brand and talking about 'Names are made here.'

"The new mark is bold, it's simple, but it will still communicate all the great things about the series."

--- NASCAR Wire Service ---