ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 3rd) PIT ROAD INTERVIEW "I tell you what, that's the most exciting race I've ever been a part of in my life. To bring the Motorcraft car home in third, to watch Dale, Jr. go to Victory Lane, I...
ELLIOTT SADLER --21-- Motorcraft Taurus (Finished 3rd)
PIT ROAD INTERVIEW
"I tell you what, that's the most exciting race I've ever been a part of in my life. To bring the Motorcraft car home in third, to watch Dale, Jr. go to Victory Lane, I can't see anything more deserving. He had the dominant car all night and that's just the way life is. That's a great job by his crew again. We finished third and that's great. We came back from a provisional. We came up there and the guys worked hard in the pits. We were patient and got us a third place finish. These guys deserve it."
WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WITH MICHAEL BEHIND JUNIOR ON THE FINAL LAP?
"I wasn't worried about a win right that second. I was worried about getting in the No Bull 5 at Richmond. I've never done that before. To be able to get Motorcraft in the No Bull 5 at Richmond, Virginia, my hometown race track, that's pretty special. I just want to thank Ward Burton. He pushed me down the back straightaway and drove me clean. He pushed me to a third-place finish. I want to thank everybody at Motorcraft and everybody at the Wood Brothers. They worked their butts off for me and it's great to give them a good finish."
WHAT ABOUT THIS CAR?
"We tested last week at Talladega. This was the slower car of the two, but I told the guys, I said, 'Guys, I can win with this race car. I can't win with that other one. I know it's faster, but this car drives so much better so let's take this one.' We took a slower car and came here. We took a provisional as usual, but we were patient and just ended up in the right place at the right time. We got behind the 15 car because we knew he was fast and it worked out for us."
YOU KNEW HE WAS GOING TO THE FRONT?
"I knew he was, so I just stayed behind him and it worked out for us. Plus, the 22 gave us a great push."
HOW CLOSE WERE YOU TO THE WRECK?
"I looked up and somebody must have got the 31 sideways. I went high and the spotter called, 'Low, low low,' so I went low and then cars started going low. It was just pure luck. I locked the brakes up and slid by three guys that were sitting still and came down pit road. The man upstairs was on our side tonight the whole race, so that worked out good for us."
WHAT ABOUT THE RACE?
"I think it was a good race. Handling is a big part of it. I never thought handling would play such a big role. Drafting didn't mean a thing tonight until the very end. Your car had to handle. We were really loose at the beginning, got tight in the middle that last run before the wreck. We were pretty good. I was pretty happy with my race car, so everything ended up great."
DID YOU THINK ABOUT TAKING A CHANCE TO WIN?
"No. I knew we weren't fast enough to win. The 8 and the 15 were fast here the whole week, but to finish third is like a win for us. I was more nervous on that last lap than I was the last 20 laps at Bristol."
WHAT WERE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT?
"Just being passed and being in this position. Man, this is Daytona. I've never been in this position before. All the cameras going off and watching Dale, Jr. win, that is the best feeling a person could have. I feel better for him than our do for ourselves in third. It's great how things work out."
SO YOU'RE FINE WITH THE DEI GUYS WORKING TOGETHER?
"Yeah because I followed the 15. I knew what they were gonna do and I just stayed with him."
TOP THREE PRESS CONFERENCE
DID YOU THINK YOU COULD WIN?
"No. You talk about commitment. I actually beat Michael (Waltrip) off pit road that last time on that caution and I saw who was behind me, so I pulled over under caution and waved him by because I knew where he was going. As fast as his car was, I figured I'm gonna stay right there with him and I never left his bumper. Where he went is where I went and I knew he was gonna push Junior, so the worst I could be was third, fourth or fifth and then Ward Burton pushed me down the back straightaway there on the last lap past Labonte and a couple of other guys and it just worked out. We just played our cards right. That's a good driving race car. It's not the fastest thing in the world qualifying as everybody knows, but it drives good. It drove real good here in the Twin 125 and it drove good here tonight."
HOW MUCH BETTER WAS JUNIOR'S CAR TONIGHT?
"I didn't get around him much tonight, but I sure was around him last night in happy hour and he had everybody covered as far as I could see. I cannot see any better way to end this race or to start a new race on NBC or come back here to Daytona, than the way things finished here tonight. To have Dale, Jr., who had the fastest car all weekend in the draft and win the race, and for Michael to push him to victory lane the same way Junior did to him here in the spring, I can't see any better way for this race to play out here tonight. I was lucky enough to be third and I could see it. I didn't get to see it last time because I was wrecked and tore up and all that, but I could see what happened here tonight. I was twice as nervous here tonight in the last two laps than I was the last 30 laps at Bristol. I was shaking coming to the start-finish line for the checkered flag, not only because we were running third, but I was almost blinded by the flash bulbs going off to catch Dale, Jr. going across the start-finish line. It was a great run for us. Motorcraft, everybody stood behind us. The Wood Brothers, they worked their butts off. We had good pit stops tonight and it just ended up being a good race for us."