Elliott Sadler went from sick to stupendous, rallying late to capture Sunday's STP 300 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.
Sadler, who also won a $100,000 bonus for the victory, had battled a flu bug for the previous three days, at one point spending 36 hours in bed. But when he arrived at the track Saturday, he felt the worst was behind him and was ready to race.
Give third-place finisher Justin Allgaier a big assist to Sadler's win, as he blocked runner-up Ricky Stenhouse Jr. several times in the green-white-checkered restart that turned the scheduled 200-lap event into a 201-lap finish.
Stenhouse eventually got past coming out of the final lap, but didn't have enough in his car to pass Sadler. Stenhouse had dominated much of the race, including winning the pole.
The final battle to the finish line was set up when, with seven laps remaining, Sam Hornish Jr. tapped the rear of Kyle Busch's car, sending it careening into Brendan Gaughan and putting both vehicles into the wall, bringing out the caution. While it was a tough break for both Gaughan and Busch, the incident was the best thing to happen for Stenhouse, as it set up a two-lap drag race to the checkered flag.
Busch finished 27th while Gaughan wound up right behind in 28th.
Stenhouse's bid for the victory was hurt when Brad Sweet spun for the second time in the race with 33 laps remaining, Stenhouse was caught on pit lane as the caution flag fell, dropping him from first to 10th when the race returned to green flag conditions.
Sadler assumed the lead at that point and never yielded in the remainder of the event.
Stenhouse got a great jump on the restart, rode around the track on the high line and began his quest to regain the lead, passing six cars and gaining three spots in the following two laps. He halved Sadler's two-second lead to just one in seven laps and appeared as if he would finish off what he started, but it was not to be.
Allgaier made a bid on the second-to-last lap to overtake Sadler, but didn't have a strong enough car. While he held off Stenhouse as long as he could, Allgaier eventually yielded to the pole-sitter.
Stenhouse wound up leading 135 of the 201 laps, while Sadler led 35.
Allgaier finished third, followed by an outstanding run by series veteran Kenny Wallace and Michael Annett.
Rounding out the top 10 were Austin Dillon, Parker Kligerman, Hornish, Cole Whitt and Ryan Truex.
Danica Patrick finished 14th, the last car on the lead lap.
NASCAR CHICAGOLAND NATIONWIDE SERIES RACE RESULTS
1. (15) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 201.
2. (1) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 201.
3. (16) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 201.
4. (11) Kenny Wallace, Toyota, 201.
5. (14) Michael Annett, Ford, 201.
6. (2) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 201.
7. (5) Parker Kligerman, Dodge, 201.
8. (3) Sam Hornish Jr., Dodge, 201.
9. (8) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 201.
10. (9) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 201.
11. (6) Brian Scott, Toyota, 201.
12. (7) Mike Bliss, Toyota, 201.
13. (22) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 201.
14. (13) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 201.
15. (18) James Buescher, Chevrolet, 200.
16. (24) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 200.
17. (32) Travis Pastrana, Toyota, 200.
18. (25) Timmy Hill, Ford, 200.
19. (21) Brad Sweet, Chevrolet, 200.
20. (28) Josh Richards, Ford, 199.
21. (12) Johanna Long, Chevrolet, 199.
22. (27) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 199.
23. (17) Jason Bowles, Toyota, 198.
24. (19) Eric McClure, Toyota, 198.
25. (30) Tayler Malsam, Toyota, 197.
26. (35) Tanner Berryhill, Toyota, 194.
27. (4) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 193.
28. (10) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, Accident, 192.
29. (20) Jamie Dick, Chevrolet, 192.
30. (26) Erik Darnell, Chevrolet, 179.
31. (36) Benny Gordon, Chevrolet, Transmission, 60.
32. (33) Danny Efland, Chevrolet, Engine, 47.
33. (37) Tim Schendel, Chevrolet, Engine, 28.
34. (41) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 19.
35. (40) Matt Carter, Chevrolet, Handling, 18.
36. (29) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, Ignition, 14.
37. (39) Tim Andrews, Ford, Rear Gear, 13.
38. (38) TJ Bell, Chevrolet, Vibration, 13.
39. (42) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, Overheating, 12.
40. (34) Chase Miller, Chevrolet, Vibration, 11.
41. (31) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, Clutch, 6.
42. (43) Carl Long, Chevrolet, Overheating, 4.
43. (23) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 4.