Elliott Sadler may have some cross words for crew chief Todd Parrott today. Sadler pleaded with Parrott to make an unscheduled green flag pit stop in response to a vibration Sadler felt on the No. 38 Ford, but his complaints went unheard. Sadler...
Elliott Sadler may have some cross words for crew chief Todd Parrott today. Sadler pleaded with Parrott to make an unscheduled green flag pit stop in response to a vibration Sadler felt on the No. 38 Ford, but his complaints went unheard.
Sadler began asking about five laps prior to his right tire blowing if he could come to the pits. He was informed that they were scheduled to pit in about twenty-laps. Sadler radioed again that he felt a vibration and needed to pit.
Parrott left him on the racetrack.
Eventually, Sadler's tire blew taking most of the right front quarter panel with it. Sadler expressed his sentiments eloquently over the team radio.
"I tried to tell ya'll."
It was a costly mistake for the Robert Yates Racing team, which slips to fifth in championship standings. Inconsistent runs and a lack of communication ruined all possibility of Sadler being a threat in the final races of 2004 for the championship.
The team literally came undone - mucking up the last five races with five finishes of 23rd or worse. Earlier this season, Sadler stated that he learned from last year, matured and was prepared not to let the pressure of the Chase get to him this year.
"I've never been a championship contender and used to running up front every week," said Sadler during Speedweeks. "I probably wasn't doing all the things I should have been doing as a driver the last four or five races. I probably couldn't take the pressure.
"It's like a great quarterback who is unbelievable in the regular season, but when you get in the post season where there are different situations and it leads to different things. I think after going through what I went through last year in the chase, I understand what I need to do better as a driver to get prepared for it. I can't wait.
"If we get back in the chase this year, I think I'll do a lot better job at running every lap, trying to see every checkered flag, get all the bonus points that we can and kind of let the rest fall away where it may."
It's not bonus points this team needs to worry about now, its getting back on track with consistent top-15 finishes; something the 38 boys did well up until two weeks ago. So far, this team has been quietly riding in the top five in points; helped along with nine top-10 finishes. But the last two races have spelled trouble.
Sadler was uncharacteristically bad at Daytona; finishing 21rst and his run at Chicago (37th) only served to propel him further down the standings ladder. With just 58 points separating spots five through 10, Sadler cannot afford to have anymore hiccups from now until Richmond.
It's a hard call what is in store for Sadler this weekend at New Hampshire International Raceway. The track has always been a toss-up for Sadler. In 12 starts there, he has just three top-10 finishes and four results of 20th or worse.