ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) DO YOU RACE DRIVERS IN THE CHASE DIFFERENTLY? "You're definitely aware of who's in The Chase, and it's definitely a very thin line. You want to race the guys hard. You want to get the ...
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
DO YOU RACE DRIVERS IN THE CHASE DIFFERENTLY? "You're definitely aware of who's in The Chase, and it's definitely a very thin line. You want to race the guys hard. You want to get the best possible finishing position you can get, but you don't want to do something stupid and take out somebody racing for the championship, either. It's a very thin line. It's a double-edged sword. I know as a teammate to Kasey Kahne I've got to race these guys hard and he's trying to get points and Scott and I are trying to take points away from the guys he's racing. That's all part of teamwork. We know other teams are doing that. Driving for Ray, I want to win a race. We've got nine shots left and if that means racing really hard there at the end, I'm racing for the win. I've got to take care of myself first and then worry about The Chase guys second."
ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT BEING THE BAD GUY IF YOU TAKE A CHASER OUT? "Yeah, but I don't think we do it on purpose. I've raced in this business long enough and a lot of these guys have to know who you can race and who you can't and who's doing stuff on purpose and who's not. I don't think it's ever going to come to that, somebody doing that on purpose. I don't believe in that. Some day it might be your turn and you don't want guys doing that to you. I think a lot of guys are here who want to win races and run in the top five whether they're in The Chase or not and it's their job to race hard."
YOU FINISHED SIXTH LAST WEEK AND THAT'S YOUR BEST FINISH IN THE 19. WHERE CAN YOU GO FROM THERE? "I think we can go up. Honestly the five racetracks we've been to are not some of the best racetracks for Elliott Sadler. I think coming here and I think going to Kansas and Charlotte and Atlanta coming up, we're going to be really, really good and I can't wait to get started. That was a great finish for us If we hadn't had that lugnut problem at California, if we hadn't got in that wreck by a lapped car at Bristol we could have a couple of top fives by now. That's great. That says a lot for this team for us to build that communication this quick, for us to be this competitive this early, it says a lot for this team and how we're jelling. I can't wait for the next nine races. I haven't been this excited about coming to the racetrack in a long time. I think now each and every time we come if we're close we've got a chance to win or run in the top five and kind of make some noise."
THE 19 CAR HAS A GOOD RECORD HERE "Yeah, I think this is going to be our best race to date. This is by far my best track we've been to with Ray so far. Everybody knows the 19 runs good here at Dover. They've got a good set of notes. They've got a good understanding of what the track wants and needs. I've got a feeling we're going to lead some laps this weekend. We're going to run good and we're going to be one of the ones in the front."
ARE YOU AHEAD OF SCHEDULE WITH THE 19 NOW? "I think I've jelled more in Evernham Motorsports probably quicker than they thought somebody would. I came in the first week and it seemed like Kasey and I could overlay our throttles and steering and everything on top of each other. Scott and we're all getting more and more alike. We're all getting along great. There are no egos on this team between the drivers or team directors or anything. We've got a common goal and that's to be competitive and try to win races, right now trying to give the 9 a great chance to win the championship. That's our goal, and I think we're ahead of schedule. Since I've been here I think Kasey has scored the second most amount of points. Scott has scored the 14th most amount of points. We're definitely getting it turned around. We're definitely working together more now than I think they were in the past. That's a good sign."
HOW DO YOU LIKE THE NEW SYSTEM? "I like it because there's more people involved with it. The old saying that two minds are better than one, and I think a lot of that is true. You've got a lot of people pulling from a lot of different areas and backgrounds. You throw a lot of things in the mix and throw a lot of stuff on the wall and see what sticks and I like that as a driver. You're not depending on that one person to make that one decision. I really like this system. I've bought into it. I believe in it. I think it's the way of the future for NASCAR racing."
HOW MUCH OF IT IS YOU GETTING INTO IT AND HOW MUCH IS THE TEAM ADAPTING TO YOU AS A DRIVER? "I think it's about 50-50. As a driver I've got to be comfortable and we've all got a language on how we describe things. They've got to get used to me, and then I have to understand how they take notes and the way they go about things. I've got to understand where they're coming from, too. It's been a lot of extra work for everybody. I think we're having fun learning the two different terminologies and putting them together and getting some success out of it. I've had fun learning their system. It's taught me a lot as a race car driver. Sometimes you get in a rut and you always think the same problem requires the same fix. It's just not like that anymore with the setups and stuff their running. I really feel like I'm learning a new language and I've had to rethink my learning a little bit, but it's been fun. It can be fun if you make it fun, and I'm having fun learning what these guys want and what these guys need to make their car go fast. I think it's showing. It seems like we're making the car better on each pit stop on Sundays. We're communicating well. We're on the same page. When you can do that as a race team you're going to have fun and you're going to be successful and so far we're experiencing that."
IS IT FRUSTRATING RACING AROUND THE CHASE GUYS? "You know who's in The Chase and who's not. I think it's in the back of your mind that you don't want to do anything stupid around those guys. They're trying to run for a championship. You've got to race them hard because you've got a job to do, too, but you don't want to do anything stupid. You leave it up to them to race it out among themselves. When I was in The Chase, you wanted guys to treat you a little bit differently. I think this is Tony's first time out of The Chase, and he's seen the other side of it, too. I saw that last year. You want to race the guys hard. I want to win races and run good, but I don't want to cause anything stupid to happen, either."
DOES IT MAKE YOU HUNGRY TO GET BACK IN THE CHASE? "Oh yeah, I've been hungry since missing it last year and not being competitive this year. It's been a tough season, but if you're a natural competitor and race car driver, you want to be in The Chase. That's our goal right now. That's how people weigh if you've had a good season or not. You really want to feel like you've got something to race for in the last 10 races. That's a goal of mine for next year starting at Daytona. We're going to do all we can at each and every race to make The Chase."
-credit: dodge motorsports