Robert Yates Racing announced today it would campaign the No. 38 Taurus, driven by Elliott Sadler and sponsored by M&M's, starting with the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Part 2 of 2 ELLIOTT SADLER: WHEN DID THIS DEAL START, AND IS THIS THE...
Robert Yates Racing announced today it would campaign the No. 38 Taurus, driven by Elliott Sadler and sponsored by M&M's, starting with the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season.
Part 2 of 2
WHEN DID THIS DEAL START, AND IS THIS THE DEAL THE REASON YOU ASKED FOR YOUR RELEASE FROM THE NO. 21 EARLIER THIS YEAR?
"No, this is not the reason I asked for my release. I didn't no anything about coming to Robert Yates Racing. I just wanted to ask for my release early in the year to explore all options, and not just particularly this one that came up - though I am glad it did. As far as how long has this been going on, I think this about the second or third time I've tried to get in Robert's car, so this has been going on a right long while. As far as this year, it'd probably be better for Robert to answer, but when I did ask for my release, no, this was not the direct intention I was coming to drive the 38 M&M's car or be a part of Robert Yates Racing. That had not evolved yet."
"I would like to add to that. As M&M's looked for a team, he was looking for something, and certainly timing is everything. It all just came together. We're excited that M&M's chose us and Elliott chose us. So, we think it's a wonderful package, we're excited about it. But none of this was conjured up to get Elliott to leave the Wood Brothers or M&M's leave from where they were. This was all on the business table out in the open. We put our name in the hat and we're excited we were the ones chosen - by Elliott and M&M's."
HOW DIFFICULT WILL IT BE TO BE IN A LAME-DUCK SITUATION WITH YOUR CURRENT TEAM FOR THE REST OF THIS YEAR?
"Speaking of the lame-duck situation, you know, they made that comment when I said in Richmond that I wanted my release. And we went from 25th to 18th in points. And that shows that I'm not a lame-duck race-car driver. I think I got a big heart, and that's what it takes to race in this business. When we leave this press room it's back to business as normal. I've need to get that 21 car to the front and run as hard as I can today. And I know that Fatback is in the same position. He's got a championship to win.
"So, this is a great deal for 2003, that's what we need to do, but I'm a racer, I got a race today at 2 o'clock, and I'm going to everything I can to give the Wood Brothers the best finish I can give them. Hopefully, give them a win, that's what we want to do. That's what's on Pat [Tryson, crew chief] and my minds. That's my standpoint from it."
"I just want to say something about that. I think that we're all professionals and we all got common goals. We're actually closer in numbers than we were last year to the championship. No one's really had a dominant car all year. So, I think at this point it's anybody in the top 10, and we consider ourselves one of the front-runners to win the championship. Since everything started happening, and Ricky was doing the things he was going to do, we've won a race, we're running better, we're probably not as good as we were last year, consistent-wise. But, we're working hard, we haven't let up, we're probably testing twice as much as we did last year. And our goal is to give Robert a championship with the 28. We haven't let up and we have no intentions of letting up."
YOU'VE ALWAYS BEEN TOUGH ON YOURSELF. NOW YOU'RE MOVING UP A NOTCH. HAVE YOU LEARNED TO HANDLE THAT BETTER.
"I thought the more you'd race, the easier it would get, and it has not. Expectation levels of myself is pretty high, and I want to do good. Nobody's putting pressure on you to do good, but that's just the intensity and competition that we all have, I guess, as drivers, or crew chiefs, or owners. Like I told you before, I never pointed fingers. If I can't help these guys to get this car right or get it handling the best we should or get the best finishes, than I need to do a lot of work. And I've had a lot of sleepless nights before I got this deal done, and now that it's done, I think I'm sleeping worse, because now, it's a lot of pressure to get in this race car next year, I need to win races. We need to run good each and every week. Why? Because this car has always run good. So, I think the pressure on myself is probably going to go through the ceiling. So, I don't know what kind of state of mind I'll be in by the time I get to Daytona. But I want to have fun doing it also, and if we run good, I'm going to have fun. But right now, sitting in front of you, I feel like there'll be more pressure on me next year to perform than there ever has been. And that's going to be a tough deal to swallow, but because I know how competitive they are, they want to win races. And I know how competitive I am, so I need to come in and do my job and test as much as we can and really be focused week-in and week-out to not only run up front but try to get in Victory Lane. And, that's what we want to do."
M&M's HAS NEVER BEEN TO VICTORY LANE. WHAT DO YOU SEE IN ELLIOTT THAT WILL GET YOU THERE NEXT YEAR?
"His intensity, his desire to win. When you watch a driver on the race track, you look at things more than is he leading. How he handles himself around other cars, how he handles himself on pit road. There's a lot of things it takes to drive other than just getting out front and making laps. I think the more you're around it, the more experience you get at seeing those things. And he's done things throughout his career, much less this year, that me and Robert saw and a lot of times Robert would see it and I'd see it, and he'd be on different places on the race track and afterwards he'd say, 'Did you see how he handled that?' And we'd be like, 'Yeah, we like that.' So, we're really excited about that. I got my first win with Robert. I knew how special it was, and I hope way before this time next year, we can do the same for Elliott and for M&M's."
ON GOING WITH A YOUNGER DRIVER:
"He's so experienced and has got a lot of youth and I think for our organization, you all have been wearing me out about getting some youth in it, here we go, answers some of the questions of why don't you get that. We're excited about that, very talented, but yet he's on the level with Doug and Michael and all our guys. Very knowledgeable of the car itself, too. The choice was made based on the guy can get the job done. I don't have one thing wrong with the age. I can look back at almost everybody and have them covered on age. I never have been one, 'The guy's too old to do it.' Maybe I've seen some guys that are too smart to get up on the wheel or didn't need to. As Junior Johnson always said, you have to be a little hungry to get after it. But, I don't have any problem with the age deal. It just happens to be that he's very talented and he is younger than I am by quite a bit."
HOW MUCH OF YOUR INCOME WILL BE PERFORMANCE-BASED AND HOW MUCH IS SALARY, IN A PERCENTAGE BASIS?
"The way I like to do things is performance-based. I don't want you to pay me anything that I don't deserve. How can I be a race-car driver and these fans come here and spend all their vacation, part of their vacation money, to come watch us put on an event for them each and every Sunday, and I'm going to go out there and try to worry about if I'm making this much or this million or this that or the other? I just need to go out there and race. How can I look a fan straight in the eye and say, 'Well, if I don't get this, we're gonna strike,' or, 'If I don't get this, I'm not going to drive the car'? I want my stuff to be performance-based. I want to be hungry. I think that makes me look at the natural race fan a lot easier in the eye - 'Hey, man, I'm doing this because I love it.' That's just the way it is. I think that's the way it should be for any sport, not just ours."
YOU'VE HAD A LONG ASSOCIATION WITH THE NO. 28. WHAT HAPPENS TO THAT NUMBER NOW?
"I can't really answer that today. I can tell you what we are going to do. Go right back to explaining the 38, a new program, a new deal, a nice, sweet package to put up there that we want to create our own identity. Sometimes, it's a struggle to try live off the legacy of somebody else's deal. So, we're looking forward. This is the new deal starting next year. We're excited about. Those few heartstrings that tear a little bit, but I got over that the first night. This is what I want to do. And it's based on experience, my experience. I don't look as my career has been just a car owner. I probably had more fun back working on cars and wins and performances that I really contributed to - more than I contribute even the 28 the last couple years, at least. So, I don't really care to work at the same place all the time. Numbers, it's a whole a identity, and certainly I think it's great that M&M/Mars that we have a number that's really -- don't remember in my, and I've been here almost all the time since the beginning - but I can't recall a 38 ever being special, so it's one we picked out. We're going to make this number special."
Yates, Sadler press conference, part I