Michigan II: Sadler post-qualifying interview

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) "I think it was a great run for our team, the first run under these conditions. That's as nervous as I've been since my rookie year at the Daytona 500 because of having to get the car in on...

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

"I think it was a great run for our team, the first run under these conditions. That's as nervous as I've been since my rookie year at the Daytona 500 because of having to get the car in on time and wanting to go fast but knowing where that line is as far as making a good, solid lap to get in. That was the most important deal. The car has been fast since we unloaded. It was a fun lap and to get a good front row start I think is pretty impressive for our team. For us working together the first week, that's pretty strong coming out of the box like that."

WHAT WAS A REALISTIC GOAL FOR YOU TODAY?

"Before we made a lap on the racetrack we felt a top 15 start would be very, very good for both of us. I didn't qualify that well for the first race, and I don't think they did, either. If we came here and got a top 15 finish we were going to be fine. That was a realistic goal. After the first lap on the track and we went right to the top of the chart of course your goals change a little bit. Where do you draw the limit? My main goal as the driver of the 19 right now is to make every race and get us back in the top 35 in points. I drove the car a little conservative but good enough to give us a great lap. That was the most important thing. It was a pretty nerve-racking lap. I don't remember my heart beating that fast in a long time, but I was glad to get the Dodge Dealers Charger in there. It was a good lap for us."

ARE YOU TRYING TO BRING SOME STABILITY TO THE 19 TEAM?

"I think so. I've had a tough season, too, and I know those guys have, too. Ray has sat down with all of us and we're looking ahead. I don't think we can go forward without putting some of the stuff behind us and moving ahead. I'm trying to put everything out of my mind and look forward to working with Kasey and Scott. We pretty much put the same setup in our car that the 9 sat on the pole with in the first race here. lI'm just trying to figure out how to drive it and learn what these Chargers need to be fast. We had a great test on Wednesday as far as communication is concerned. I think that's what I need to do, be calm about it. We're going to be OK. Just give me the same stuff where I can work together with my teammates and let's work through this thing. It's going to be a tough road for all of us. We know that. It's tough out there racing week in and week out and being on the outside looking in at the top 35 is putting a little more pressure on all of us. We're going to have to keep working hard, keep our nose down and we'll dig out of it."

IS IT DIFFICULT TO SWITCH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON?

"It's a little difficult changing in the middle of a season. You get used to a system and you're doing the same thing each and every weekend. When you come to a race for the first time and have to change it up a little bit of course it's going to be a little different. I have been very overwhelmed by the people at Evernham Motorsports. They have so much depth in every position. When I walked in the door over there the other day, it didn't take long for us to have all our of our stuff done. The seats were in the cars. Everything fit just right. They have made this transition very painless. From that part of it and meeting the sponsors that Evernham has it's been so painless on my behalf. I pretty much came to the racetrack this week thinking we haven't missed a step. I can see the mindset of their team, just like him. Ray is very focused and he wants to do whatever it takes to be competitive and it kind of trickles down the organization. Part of being successful is making sure the driver is comfortable and feels like he's at home, and I think those guys have done a good job with that."

DID YOU THINK IT WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?

"It would have been kind of like a fairy tale if the pole had held up our first week together. That might have been too good to be true, but I'll definitely take a front row start. I'm not going to complain one bit about that. It's definitely been a good week for us. I was happy with the Kentucky test, happy with the way things have gone today. This is Josh (Brown's) first time being a crew chief, too. (Chris Andrews is still team director.) We're all in this new together. Ray has given us a lot of support. It would have been cool being on the pole, but I'm not going to complain about second. We had to make the show first."

IS THIS THE POINT WHERE YOU WANTED TO GET?

"I hope so. We all have expectations. You want to be optimistic about upcoming seasons and upcoming races. I really feel like I'm at a company now that believes in the same thing I believe in. I really think they've got a hold on the future. The reason I wanted to come to Evernham Motorsports was not because of this weekend, this year, it's because of how far they've come in such a short time and his outlook down the road for the car of tomorrow and where this sport is going. Evernham Motorsports has a big handle on it. Being 31 years old I feel like I'm in my prime with eight years experience. I wanted to kind of line myself up with someone who's really looking forward to the future of this sport and believes in the same things I believe in, which direction I'm going in."

HOW DO YOU AVOID COMPARISONS?

"I don't want to be like that. I think I'm my own measuring stick. I don't want to compare myself to other drivers in other situations. I'm not going to let myself get to that. I'm the driver of this car now. I'm going to base my performance off the stuff the 9 and 10 does now. I think the crew chief they brought in (Josh Brown) works real close with Kenny (Francis) and I think we need to worry about that right now to be successful. I'm not going to measure myself each week with a check or an X. If we make progress and get back in the top 35 and be competitive, I think we can consider it a successful weekend. That's how I'm going to measure Elliott Sadler, not off anybody else, but what I think I should be doing in this car week after week."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Elliott Sadler