"It is just like a regular old fan." Elliott Sadler, driver of the ...
"It is just like a regular old fan."
Elliott Sadler, driver of the #21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus, has learned to use the draft at Daytona to his advantage. Last year the Wood Brothers Racing driver finished third at the July race on the famed 2.5-mile speedway, and this past February he came from starting 41st to finish second. Sadler describes what it feels like to him to find the "sweet spot."
"The learning curve on drafting is finding out what to look for, knowing what the sounds are, knowing how to look for air pockets.
"The best analogy I can use is, it is like a fan going the whole time blowing in your face. It is just like a regular old fan. You'll be searching around looking for air, and the only things you hear are the motor noise and the fan. When you find that sweet spot, the fan just cuts completely off. You don't hear it at all any more. All you can hear is the motor.
"It's like a fan blowing on you and on the front of the car and the window net. When you don't have any air coming in the noise just stops. The window net quits blowing. There is no wind swirling around in the car. Everything just becomes quiet. You can only hear the RPM of the motor. That's when you know you are in a really good draft and you have gotten all the air off the front of the car that you can get. That's a really good feeling to have.
"Once you find that sweet spot, and have learned how to look for it, you try to use that to your advantage. Any time that you don't hear any wind around you - coming in the car with you or on the front of the car - you know you are getting some kind of air from somebody. That is what you are trying to look for the entire race.
"When a driver learns how to look for that and learns how it use it to his advantage he becomes a pretty good drafter."