Late Race Accident Spoils Superb Run For FanZCar Team
ROCKINGHAM, NORTH CAROLINA (SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2004) - - Hermie Sadler in the No. 02 FanZCar Chevrolet Monte Carlo appeared to be headed towards a top-ten finish in the Goody's Headache Powder 200 before a late race accident wiped that reality away.
Sadler started his machine Saturday from a season's best qualifying effort of 21st. Many of the teams know at Rockingham, you have to save your tires if you are going to have any chances of aiming for the win. When the green flag flew, Sadler, the older brother of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Elliott began his march towards the front of the field.
While, Sadler was not blistering through the field, he was remaining competitive and hovered in the top twenty for the first fifty circuits.
The SCORE Motorsports team made their first pit stop of the day when the caution flew approaching lap 55 for an accident involving Justin Ashburn. The team took four tires, fuel and made a chassis adjustment to make the car handle better.
When the series returned to green flag racing, Hermie remained cool and calm while playing the patience game while waiting for the right opportunity to make a dash to the front.
A few laps later, another yellow flag waved when Johnny Benson and Regan Smith collided and under caution the FanZCar machine came down pit road and the crew quickly went underneath the hood as Hermie reported to the team that his throttle was hanging at times.
The team believed they corrected the problem, and the No. 02 car returned to the track still on the lead lap. On the restart it was Hermie, who turned up the wick, and the car became a rocket ship and FanZCar began blasting through the back of the field.
While he wasn't picking off two or three automobiles at a time, Sadler was catching up to his other competitors at a fast pace, while also turning some impressive lap times, which caught the attention of FX (FOX) during the course of the race.
Sadler, along with much of the field made their last green flag pit stops with about 40 laps remaining. The FanZCar team led by crew chief Ernie Cope was not planning on returning to the pit lane unless something happened.
The team performed magnificent on pit road, fueling the car up, and bolting four new Goodyear Eagles on the machine. Hermie returned to the track in the top-15 and was again making a charge towards the leaders when disaster struck on lap 162.
Aaron Fike, a rookie driving the No. 43 Curb Records Chevrolet spun while racing with Johnny Sauter. Fike, backed his machine in the wall, and was waiting for the field to clear before heading to the pits. Meanwhile, Hermie was receiving the word from his team that a caution was on the track.
Sadler's, No. 02 was on the outside and became trapped from the bottom by two machines, and he drilled Fike in the driver's door. The impact caused severe damage to both machines, ending the day for the FanZCar team.
"The accident was my fault, my car was really fast on the outside, and I jumped to the outside to make a pass to the No. 20 of Mike Bliss, and my spotter said caution was out and as soon as I looked up and the No. 43 was there. I started slowing down and turning down towards the bottom, but he left off the brake and he didn't see me coming, and I hit him, I should have slowed down sooner," said the 34-year old driver.
"I'm sorry to the No. 43 team and hope that Aaron is okay, but I would like to give a big thanks to my sponsor The FanZCar for their support, we'll be back at Vegas," continued the Emporia, Virginia native.
Sadler, along with crew chief Ernie Cope, and the spotter were to appear at the NASCAR Busch Series hauler following the event to discuss the incident. Details of the meeting were not disclosed.
The FanZCar was credited with a 34th place finish competing 162 of the schedule 197 laps. The disappointing finishing position also dropped the team ten positions in the NASCAR Busch Series standings from 23rd to 33rd, 180 markers out of first.
The NASCAR Busch Series will take a week off from the schedule next week before heading out west for the Sam's Town 300 on March 6th.
The FanZCar Scope: SS Racing Inc. is part of the racing industry. We are in the business of providing a fan-based sponsorship for a race team within NASCAR's Racing Series. This endeavor is known and marketed as The FanZCar (www.thefanzcar.com). The monetary funds needed to generate the sponsorship for an entire racing season will be derived from membership sold by SS Racing Inc. for the FanZCar.
Members of The FanZCar will be involved in aspects of decisions typically associated with the sponsor. The FanZCar will elevate its member's involvement within the sport they love, while providing joy and enthusiasm for all, as they cheer on THEIR sponsored race car (The FanZCar) each week.