NASCAR: Elliott Sadler jumping to Roush for 2015 XFINITY Series season

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Elliott Sadler will be switching teams and dropping a 1 for his 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series campaign.

Sadler, the former Sprint Cup veteran that has competed full-time in NASCAR’s No. 2 national series for the past four years, will bring his OneMain Financial backing to the No. 1 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion – ending a two-year run in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

OneMain will serve as a full sponsor for Sadler in all 33 XFINITY races next season. The company had previously backed Roush Fenway’s Nationwide Series efforts from 2008 to 2010.

“It’s great to have OneMain Financial back on board,” said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark in a release. “They are a first-class organization from top to bottom, a leader in their field and one of the most respected organizations in their industry. We enjoyed a great partnership in the past, and we look forward to reigniting that relationship moving forward next season.

“We are also very excited about what Elliott Sadler brings to our driver lineup. He is a seasoned veteran and a winner on the track.  He brings a reputation as a fierce competitor and I know that our entire organization, and particularly his Roush Fenway teammates in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed, will benefit from his experience next season.”

As for Sadler, his move to Roush will bring about a reunion in several ways.

Much of Sadler’s Cup career was spent behind the wheel of a Ford, with full-time stints driving for Blue Oval stalwarts like the Wood Brothers, Robert Yates Racing, and Richard Petty Motorsports after that team left the Dodge camp in 2010.

Since transitioning full-time to the Nationwide Series, Sadler has driven Chevrolets for Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress in addition to his current Toyota ride with JGR.

Sadler has finished second, second, and fourth in the Nationwide championship in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively. He currently sits fourth in this year’s standings on the strength of a spring win at Talladega and 22 Top-10 finishes.

March 28 in Motorsports History: Adrian Fernandez wins Motegi’s first race

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While auto racing is an international sport, oval racing remains uniquely American. 

That almost always has remained the case since the inception of the sport, but in 1998, the citizens of Japan got their first taste of American oval racing.

Having opened the previous year, Twin Ring Motegi was built by Honda in an effort to bring Indy-style racing to the Land of the Rising Sun. 

Adrian Fernandez was the first driver to win at the facility, taking the checkered flag in CART’s inaugural race after shaking off flu earlier that day.

Fernandez held off a hard-charging Al Unser Jr to win by 1.086 seconds. The victory was the second of his career and his first since Toronto in 1996.

Adrian Fernandez celebrates with Al Unser Jr and Gil de Ferran after winning the inaugural race at Motegi. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

The race was also memorable for a violent crash involving Bobby Rahal.

Running third with 15 laps remaining, Rahal’s right front suspension broke in Turn 2, causing his car to hit the outside wall and flip down the backstretch.

Luckily, Rahal walked away from the accident without a scratch.

“The car was on rails through (turns) 1 and 2, and all of a sudden it just got up into the marbles, and it was gone,” Rahal said. “Thank God we’ve got such safe cars.”

The following season, Fernadez went back-to-back and won again at Motegi. The track remained on the CART schedule until 2002.

In 2003, Honda switched their alliance to the Indy Racing Leauge, and Motegi followed suit.

The track continued to host IndyCar racing until 2011 with the final race being held on the facility’s 2.98-mile road course, as the oval sustained damage in the Tōhoku earthquake earlier that year.

Also on this date:

1976: Clay Regazzoni won the United States Grand Prix – West, Formula One’s first race on the Long Beach street circuit. The Grand Prix would become an IndyCar event following the 1983 edition of the race.

1993: Ayrton Senna won his home race, the Grand Prix of Brazil, for the second and final time of his career. The victory was also the 100th in F1 for McLaren.

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