ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger) HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO BE BACK AT BRISTOL AND ON THIS NEW SURFACE? "Well I'm always excited to come to Bristol. I have been coming here for a long, long time as a kid sitting on the back ...
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)
HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO BE BACK AT BRISTOL AND ON THIS NEW SURFACE? "Well I'm always excited to come to Bristol. I have been coming here for a long, long time as a kid sitting on the back straightaway on the concrete bleachers watching guys race here. Coming back and being able to win here at a place not too far from home. I have not been on the new surface yet but watching the truck race the other night and hearing all the drivers talk about the Busch practice yesterday, I think we are all in for a real treat this weekend. I don't think you are going to see cars run around the bottom like we've seen in the past. I think by the time the Cup race comes we are going to be right around the top. That is where the momentum and stuff is going to be. It should make it fun. It made for a great truck race the other night -- one of the best ones I've seen here. I think we're going to have a great Busch race tonight and a great Cup race tomorrow night. From what I've heard you need to give a standing ovation to the guys that paved this place. It's very smooth, it's got a lot of grip, there's no bumps or anything in it, so it should be a good race."
HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE IS THE EXTRA THREE FEET IN THE RACING SURFACE GOING TO MAKE? "I think it's going to be a big, big difference. You know on a half-mile race track three feet is a lot. I think what the biggest difference is we don't have the humps anymore coming off the corner that kind of threw the back of the car around. That was kind of the big thing with the Car of Tomorrow here the first race. It would really throw the back of the car around. Being that the car is a little wider, you didn't have the extra space. Three feet is just going to create better racing for us. It doesn't sound like much but when you have this much banking it keeps a lot more momentum on the outside and not worry about getting into the wall. We can probably race a lot longer two wide than what we have here in the past. It's going to be fun for you guys to watch. It might be frustrating for us to race because it will be harder to clear the guys. It's going to create some good racing. Anytime a track gives us the opportunity to use the top and the bottom. It used to be you just run around the bottom and you would hit people and move them out of the way and try to get some cars between you and the leader. It's still going to be the same old Bristol, but now I think you have some different opportunities, some different choices to run up high, to run in the middle or the bottom. I think that extra three feet is going to make a big, big difference come race time."
DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE LESS CONFLICT BECAUSE OF THE NEW SURFACE AND EXTRA THREE FEET? "Yeah, now that you're given a choice and you're not all fighting for the same real estate. Okay, if you want to block the bottom that's fine. I'll just go the top. I mean they did that the other night in the truck race. He kind of just ran around the top all night. So if you want to block the bottom you can take it. I'll just run up top here and track you down and keep you loose. When you give the drivers more options you take away some of the beating and banging, but it is the Saturday night Bristol race, so I think you are going to see plenty of excitement."
ON DRIVERS CHANGING CAR NUMBERS: "Yeah, you know I was only in the 38 for four years and it's still weird to see that number on the side of a different car. You do get affiliated with a number and you kind of feel like it's yours. I guess that you are talking about the Dale Jr. deal. I can't see anyone else driving the No. 8 car but him just because that is all he's had in his lifetime. Being that he is the biggest name and biggest face in the sport. I'll be honest - I wouldn't want to drive the No. 8 car. If they put that on my car I would want to do something different with it. Put a half behind it or a letter or something like that. I don't want to drive the No. 8 car. I don't know, I hope those guys come up with a cool number for him over there. If I had to pick a number for him to drive I would want him to drive the No. 38, because the 3 and the 8 and you put them together I think that would be a cool number. I think Robert Yates is a great man. If they went and asked him I'm sure they could probably work something out. I just started something right there I guess. I just can't see the biggest name in our sport in a different number. I can't see Terry Bradshaw being number 9 and playing quarterback. It's just certain things that you think about. I can't see Michael Jordan being something else besides the 23. I'm a sports guy so I affiliate a lot of guys with a lot of numbers. That's my opinion on it."
HOW DID YOU HAVE TO JUGGLE THE SHORT WEEK TO GET EVERYTHING DONE? Well I'll tell you what -- I really like the fans in Michigan. They are great people, we always have the biggest turnout there for Trackside (on SPEED) when we do it there on Friday night, but I've had about enough of Michigan as I can stand for five days last week. The sun didn't come out for like three straight days. I mean it just poured rain. Being that this is such a short week, I got home just a couple days later and just kind of relaxed and hung out with my family a little bit before I came up here. Nothing special. You learn to adjust to it. We just shorten all of our plans up a little bit that you might have for that week and just transfer them over to the following week. I'm glad we finally got it in on Tuesday. It didn't look good for a while the way the radar was but it cleared up for us and we were able to put on a race and get here to Bristol."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE TREND OF OPEN WHEEL GUYS COMING OVER TO NASCAR? "I think that is great for our sport guys. I think anytime that we have big name guys come in from other sports it just shows how strong and how healthy our sport really is and I think this is the best of the best drivers. You race on so many different race track and so many different styles of tracks that those guys probably want to try that. I am a fan of his (Jacques Villeneuve) and he has always been good from when he first started, so I would like to see him come over and race. It's just great for our sport and anytime we can bring some more people from different backgrounds I think that is going to bring more fans to our sport also."
WHAT KIND OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE VILLENEUVE? "These guys can drive. Jacques comes over here, I mean this guy can drive a race car. The only thing that I would get tips on is different tracks. Your driving style here at Bristol is a lot different than your driving style at Martinsville. Let me tell you something, all because they are coming from a different sport doesn't mean, drivers that I've learned grew up in racing are all going to help other drivers. I mean Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin were huge in me when I was a rookie coming up through the Busch Series and the Cup Series. I think I spent more time in Mark Martin's truck as a Busch driver than he did. The Winn-Dixie truck when he used to have it when he drove that car. You want to help guys. You want to see guys come in here and be competitive. It's good for everything. That is just the mentality that we have as NASCAR drivers. We're like family most of the time. Sometimes we ruffle each others feathers a little bit on the race track but we all take care of each other. Whether its charity issue or its family stuff or whether it is racing and helping. That is one of the first things Juan said. He couldn't believe how much each driver really tried to help him. It's like that for everybody. I can go ask any of my 42 competitors tonight a question about the racetrack or driving style and they are going to give me a 100% honest answer. I think that is what's great about our sport. They are probably not going to tell you everything. Most of them if you ask them something they don't want to tell you they will be like, 'well you know --' and then I am not going to put you on that spot. Most of the time they will help you. That's just the way it is. That's the way our sport is.
-credit: dodge motorsports