WELCOME BACK SADLER: On February 19, 2011, Elliott Sadler will strap back into a NASCAR Nationwide Series car to compete full time in the series for the first time since 1998. Sadler, along with Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) teammates Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart, will join forces at Daytona (Fla.) International Raceway to defend KHI's race winning organization title. In the past six season-opening races at Daytona International Speedway KHI has gone to victory lane three times.
PLATE-RACE PRESTIGE: Although Sadler has not competed in the Nationwide Series full time in 13 years, he has a vast amount of experience at Daytona International Raceway. During his first full-time Nationwide Series season in 1997 Sadler earned the pole award for the season-opening race. In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Sadler nearly captured the 2002 Daytona 500 falling one position short finishing second. Even though Sadler has never pulled into victory lane for a points- paying race at Daytona he has felt the sweet taste of victory at the World Center of Racing when he captured the checkered flag in one of the 2004 Gatorade Duel qualifying races.
MAKING A NEW MARK: Driving for a new team, with new cars and a new sponsor, Sadler reunites with former sponsor CitiFinancial as they rebrand themselves as OneMain Financial. As Sadler puts himself in position to become a NASCAR champion in 2011, OneMain Financial found no better fit than their former brand representative to take them to a new level as they debut their new logo and colors under the watchful eye of loyal NASCAR fans at Daytona International Speedway.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 2 team will utilize chassis No. 059 this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Chassis No. 059 is a new chassis that has undergone extensive testing during the off season.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Elliott Sadler
What are your thoughts going into the race at Daytona International Speedway?
"I'm just ready to get going. It has been an exciting and busy off season, but I'm ready to put all the hard work to the test as we hit the track in Daytona. This year's race will be an exciting one as all of us hit the track on a new surface. It will take a little bit to get adjusted to it but I'm ready to go racing and see what this season holds."
Do you feel added pressure coming into this race as maybe a favorite to win?
"Not at all. I know my crew chief Ernie Cope has put together the best and most knowledgeable group of guys as my team for this season. I feel confident that we have the best equipment to get the job done. I'm also sure that I have two of the best teammates in the business to be surrounded by when the green flag drops for the DRIVE4COPD 300 on Saturday. I'm glad everyone thinks that we are favorites to win. I hope that things fall our way and we prove them right."
As the season begins, you are the favorite to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. What are your thoughts on being the team to beat?
"I have said this all throughout the off season. I'm having fun. This is the first time in several years that I am going to the race track excited to get in the car and have some fun. It reminds me of the days when I raced at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. I would come to the race track week in and week out as the odds on favorite and that is what made racing fun. Not only competing, but being the one to beat."