ELTON SAWYER PRESS CONFERENCE
TALK ABOUT YOUR PIT STRATEGY AT THE END. "First of all, we had a really good car all day. In all honesty, we had a second-place car. The 2 car, wow, he was in a different zip code. I caught him in traffic a little bit, made a little bit of ground up on Kevin, but I think it was just traffic. He had a really fast car and we were just trying to save our tires. We really thought we had enough distance and there was going to be enough laps at the end that the two tires wasn't going to play out for anybody that used that strategy. Ricky made a good call. I probably needed four tires, and as it turned out, Joe gambled. We had three goals coming in here. We wanted to win the race, finish fifth in the points, driver and owner, and we came up short on one."
WOULD YOU HAVE CHOSEN A DIFFERENT PIT STRATEGY IF YOU SAW WHAT SOME OF THE OTHER GUYS DID? "I don't know when Joe pitted, and I'm not sure when we pitted, I was just running as hard as I could. I knew we were going to have to pit and when Ricky called on the radio and said to pit the next time by, I just came in. I wasn't sure if we were going to take two or four because we really didn't talk about it, and when they dropped the jack and the jackman came around, I assumed we were getting left-side tires, too. It was a good call. We've been beat by the two-tire deal, and we've been beat by four tires, so personally, I thought it was the right call with that many laps to go. Joe could gamble. If we had taken two and he took four, who knows. He was sitting in the catbird seat."
THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO FINISH THE SEASON FOR A TEAM WITHOUT SPONSORSHIP NEXT YEAR. "Yeah, we're taking donations. It's been a great year. That was 18th or so top 10 and fifth in the points. I feel that if this race team and this program has a hard time getting a sponsor or can't get a sponsor, there's a problem with the system. Obviously, we do have hard times and tough times in the economy, but our car owner said that we're going to dig in there and stick it out. I feel that we'll get something." WAS THERE ONE RACING LINE? "I thought that if your car was good enough, my car turned good all day, I thought our strong point was in 1 and 2. I could actually put the car below the white line if I needed to. That end of the race track seemed to have good grip. Turns 3 and 4 got really loose where you couldn't use the gas pedal. For the most part, we had a balanced car, and you could pass."
IS THIS EASIER TO TAKE KNOWING YOU HAD SECOND-PLACE CAR WITH HARVICK IN THE RACE? "Possibly. Still, I'm not going to sit up here and kick the horse in the mouth. We had a good day. We did everything we needed to do to put ourselves in a position to win, and Kevin had trouble, so we were going to win, but Joe took two tires and he won. Yeah, we would have liked to have won, it's tough, but on the other hand, I'm not going to cut my wrist."
WHEN DID YOU LEARN THAT STARTER WASN'T COMING BACK? "I don't know if I have the date in mind, but it's probably been three weeks. They've been a good sponsor. They came into the sport last year with the 14 different colleges, and it's been exciting and a lot of fun. They gave us all indications in August that they we coming back. We were trying to get more colleges to participate next year, and I don't know if the September 11th issue gave them a different direction they wanted to go, but anytime your sponsor leaves late in the season, it makes it difficult. If they let us know June, we would have had an opportunity to work on it, but I feel very optimistic that we'll be OK."