Sadler in championship form

Sadler in championship form

Fresh off his second career win at Texas Motor Speedway last month, Elliott Sadler and the No. 38 Yates Racing team look poised to be a threat for the Nextel Chase for the Championship. Sadler, who turned 29 this weekend, is looking to recover ...

Fresh off his second career win at Texas Motor Speedway last month, Elliott Sadler and the No. 38 Yates Racing team look poised to be a threat for the Nextel Chase for the Championship. Sadler, who turned 29 this weekend, is looking to recover critical points he lost after crunching the No. 38 Ford's nose after getting caught up in an incident with Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne.

Elliott Sadler.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
"I think it was a lot different before we got to Talladega," said Sadler. "When we were fifth in points and had some cushion behind us. Now it's kind of changed back a little bit. Eighth is the lowest we've been in points and all year, and we have got to try to just get us a top-10 this weekend, and top-10 these guys to death.

"I think if we can get out of the first 26 races, if we can get half of them top-10's we'll have a shot at being in the top-10 in points, so that's what we're trying to do."

Sadler has been good out of the box this season. The year launched off like gangbusters, when Team 38 earned the win in the Gatorade 125's, and finished 7th in the season opening Daytona 500. Since then, Sadler has racked up 2 top-5's (including one win), four top-10's, and three top-15 results.

The strong start to the inaugural Nextel Cup season marks a real resurgence for the No. 38 Yates Racing team. Last year, Sadler seemed like a man on fire, scoring five top-10 finishes in the first nine events, and climbing to 10th in series rankings. But, suddenly

Sadler was plagued with problems, and always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

After several finishes of 33rd or worse, Sadler freefell through the top 20, and ended 2003 a disappointing 22nd in championship points.

He is hell bent on riding the energy of his win at Texas, to be a threat at the 26th race of the year, and vie to compete for the Nextel Cup series trophy.

"It's all momentum," Sadler commented. "This is a tough sport that will knock you off the bottom rung really quick. One week you're happy, the next wee, you're not. We're coming off a terrible weekend at Talladega.

Pitstop for Elliott Sadler.
Photo by Autostock.

"If you have a bad Sunday, you've got to try to come back that next Friday and give the guys a good day, get them pumped up for the whole weekend."

Sadler may have to dig hard to materialize a top-10 this weekend, fuel line issues have beleaguered the No. 38 team, and they posted only the 17th quickest time in happy hour. But will take the green flag from the 14th spot on Sunday, Sadler has qualified in the top-15 for all but one race this season.

"We had one of the best qualifying averages last year," said Sadler. "It just didn't show on Sundays, and we knew that our qualifying this year was going to be fine. We just need to work on more racing stuff."

Currently, Sadler sits eighth in the Nextel Chase for the Championship, 194 markers shy of leader Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Matt Kenseth , Kasey Kahne , Eric Gilbert , Elliott Sadler
Teams Yates Racing