ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 2nd) IS THAT WHERE YOU EXPECTED, SECOND? "We were kind of expecting to be somewhere in the front like that. I qualified second here last year and really wanted to get the pole here this year. ...
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
IS THAT WHERE YOU EXPECTED, SECOND?
"We were kind of expecting to be somewhere in the front like that. I qualified second here last year and really wanted to get the pole here this year. The worst this car has qualified is third, so we knew we had a good qualifying setup for this car and knew we had a good package. We had a good motor combination in it and went down the straightaways great. I got through one and two perfect. I could not run that lap again if I had to through one and two, but gave up a little bit in three and four. All in all, it was a great lap. I'm proud of my guys because when we unloaded we were very loose today. I think the ARCA race threw us for a loop and a lot of teams had to make adjustments. We made the right ones. Raymond did a great job and we're gonna start second, so I'm very proud of my guys for that."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE JOB RAYMOND HAS DONE?
"I tell you, I am so impressed with Raymond Fox. He's a first-year crew chief and he and Shawn Parker communicated so well and had such a dialect. Of course, that changed two weeks ago so it's like we're starting over again. We had a pretty awful weekend last weekend at The Winston. We did not run at all to the capabilities we're supposed to, but instead of beating ourselves up and kind of putting our head in the ground, Raymond held meetings all week long to get our communication back and came back with another great call today and gave us a good setup. I am very impressed with this guy. As young as he is - a first year crew chief - and what he knows about a car is pretty good. We've just got to get somebody in there to work with him. Right now he's trying to do both deals. Last weekend and this weekend he's trying to be the car chief and the crew chief and in NASCAR Winston Cup racing these days, that's a lot to ask of a young guy in his first year of doing it. So to come here and qualify second, I think he did a great job."
DO YOU KNOW HIS DAD AT ALL?
"No, I do not know him as well as everybody else did. I just knew how long he worked for Yates and I knew about his grand dad and what he's meant to this sport. He's definitely got the right name and to be as young as he is and where he's at, and his mentality of racing, I mean he's a competitor. I love pulling in my garage and, if we're not running fast, I see my crew chief throwing the stopwatch. Hey, I love that. He's sharing it with me. He knows how competitive I am too and we're both very, very young, so I'm glad he's on my side. We had a long winter together. We learned a lot about each other. I moved back to Charlotte to spend time with him and get that communication going and I think it's paying off."
IS THIS AN OLDER CAR? LAST WEEK YOU HAD A NEW CAR DIDN'T YOU?
"Last week was a new car with a new style of body on it and that's why we brought it to The Winston. Yeah, it's running for a million bucks, but, hey, when it gets down to it, we're all trying to points race also and we just missed it. It was embarrassing how we ran in The Winston last week to Raymond and I. We changed everything on that car that we could, but just couldn't get me comfortable enough in the race track. It had something to do with the new tire that Goodyear brought. We really weren't used to it and I think some of the body changes we've made. So now we've had to go back to the drawing board.
"Let's carry the car we ran at Texas, which is this car, we led a lot of laps with it. We're not gonna get tricky with it. Let's put it exactly like we had it at that race track and see what we've got and it came back and qualified second. So maybe we're starting to think that maybe we just need to fine-tune on what we had, instead of trying to open up another can of worms. That's something now that the guys are dissecting right now in the truck - where we got beat at, where we were good at, where we were bad at - and we'll go from there for Sunday. You've always got to try and go in a new direction. We have not been as competitive as we need to be this year - me or the 88 - so you've got to open up a new can of worms every once in a while and try new stuff to see if it helps.
"Sometimes you take a step back to try to take two steps forward, so that's what we did last week. We were both horrible, so we went back to the shop and re-grouped. I've run new cars for the last month and a half. This is the first time. We've actually raced this car twice before, so we've got some old notes with it and I think we're gonna be in good shape with it."
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE CHASSIS AND BODY ON SUNDAY?
"The chassis and the body is gonna be a big influence on the crew chief starting the race at 5:30 and it gets dark. So we're gonna have a lot of adjustments in all of our cars, I'm sure, tomorrow during practice so we'll have something for Sunday. But I still think the guy that's not gonna sleep at all Saturday night is the engine guy. I know I keep referring back to that, but 600 miles on the engine, you know what kind of RPMs we're turning on these cars nowadays compared to 10 years ago. The body is probably gonna be up to us if we don't knock it in.
"Chassis-wise, the crew chief a little bit, but, still, the engine guy is gonna be the most important guy here come Sunday. He'll be the guy that's gonna have the biggest relief and probably the first guy's hand we're gonna shake Sunday after the race if it makes it the whole race. He's still got the biggest influence, I think."