Innovative Motorsports' Day Ends Early Harrisburg, North Carolina - Hermie Sadler's first weekend behind the wheel of the ...
Innovative Motorsports' Day Ends Early
Harrisburg, North Carolina - Hermie Sadler's first weekend behind the wheel of the #47 MONRO Muffler Brake & Service Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the NASCAR Busch Series, ended early after a lap-18 incident. The accident, which end ed the #47's day, relegated the MONRO Racing team to a 42nd place finish in the MBNA Gold 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway on Saturday, Septemb er 25, 1999.
The team went to Dover with a new driver and an untested car. They spent the first practice getting to know both the car and Sadler and learning to work together effectively. The team got the car to where it was comfortable for Sadler, but a limit on tires, with each team only receiving two sets for the practices, kept the MONRO Racing team from making a sticker run.
Qualifying was a cautious affair for Sadler who wanted more than anything to get the car in the race for MONRO and IMI.
"I think we were a little better than we qualified," Sadler, an eight-year veteran on the Busch Series, explained. "But without a provisional and with the points battle the way it is, I decided to be a little cautious and make sure to get the car in the race. Our timed lap was the best lap we had turned all day and the car was real comfortable. I was happy with that."
Happy hour was spent working on the car to get it better for a long run and Sadler and the crew were so happy with their results that they ended happy hour early and started to get ready for the race.
At the drop of the green flag, the MONRO Chevrolet fell back a few positions until the team could get Sadler down in the groove. Once Sadler got on the inside, he quickly began picking up positions and racing toward the front.
Eighteen laps into the 200-lap event, a spin by the #98 of Elton Sawyer, cau sed a chain-reaction for the cars behind him. Sadler spotted the wreck as it occurred and lifted out of the throttle and went to the high side. Unfortunately, either he slowed up too fast or the #61 of Robert Pressley couldn't slow down fast enough and Sadler was tapped from behind and sent spinning into the outside retaining wall. The impact separated the trunk lid and spoiler from the rest of the car.
"We were going to the front when I saw the spin," Sadler recalled. "I tried to avoid it and had to about stop and Robert (Pressley - #61) got in the back of me. His spotter said he was having brake problems. I hate that it happened. This was a great racecar."
Sadler and the MONRO Racing crew were forced to retire early though there was no frame damage to speak of. The problem is that the spoiler was lost and without the down force that it adds, the #47 would never have gotten back up to speed.
"This is the best race car I have ever sat in," Sadler said in a post-race interview. "This is a great race team and we're going to win a race before t he year's out. I hate that this happened for George and MONRO, but we'll get them next time."
After a weekend off, the Busch Series will race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte on Saturday, October 9th in the All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300.