Atlanta: Sadler - Friday Dodge interview

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger) TALK ABOUT BEING IN THE TOP-12, IT'S GOT TO FEEL GREAT: "It feels great, that's what we all live for -- to try and make the Chase and be there after 26 races. We're just trying to be consistent and...

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger)

TALK ABOUT BEING IN THE TOP-12, IT'S GOT TO FEEL GREAT: "It feels great, that's what we all live for -- to try and make the Chase and be there after 26 races. We're just trying to be consistent and run every lap. I think over the last couple of years, 80 percent of the teams that are in the top-12 after Atlanta -- the fourth race of the year -- make the Chase. We want to make a good run on Sunday- get all the points we can - and just keep digging. We've had some great race cars and overcome some adversity in some of the races. Especially in Vegas last week coming back from a pit road speeding penalty and come back to finish 12th. We're very happy about that and feel like were in good shape right now."

DO YOU HAVE ANY REACTION TO NASCAR OVERTURNING ROBBY GORDON'S PENALTY? "I think it's good for Robby Gordon Motorsports and good for Gillett Evernham those guys (NASCAR) overturning the penalty like they did. Honestly, it was just an honest mistake made by Gillett Evernham Motorsports. They just sent the 2008 nose, which the only difference between the 2008 and 2007 nose is just the character line. Last year, Dodge used the Avenger as the Car of Tomorrow choice to run that -- this year they went back to the Charger. The only difference is where the stickers go -- so it's not much difference in it -- and being Robby never haven driven a Dodge before, they didn't know what nose to put on. So they just put the incorrect nose on - but actually -- in the rule book, the 2008 Charger nose is approved for this year. So I think that's what NASCAR went back through it and decided to take the 100 points backs and give it to him (Robby). I understand the fine which is pretty much of 'be more careful with your stuff', but it was not worth taking the 100 points away."

WHAT DO YOU SEE THE OUTLOOK BEING FOR SOME OF THE HIGH-PROFILE OPEN-WHEEL DRIVERS THAT ARE CURRENLTY DOWN IN THE STANDINGS? "There is only so many pieces of the pie. I know Dario (Franchitti) and (Sam) Hornish got a lot of hype and I think both are with two really good race teams. And they both have a pretty good advantage over my teammate where they're both locked in the top 35 the first five races. That helps them for the Rookie of the Year and helps them for the top-35. Sam (Hornish Jr.) had some problems in the first couple of races -- maybe wrecking a little bit and not finishing. We've been trying to talk to Patrick (Carpentier) about - run every lap, run every race you can, run every lap you can, every mile you can -- just try and be there in the end. That's something that Dario and Sam are struggling with -- if they ever get on the outside after Bristol, I think that it's going to be tough for those guys to get back in."

HAS THE PENDULUM SWUNG TOO FAR WITH PENALTY POINTS IN NASCAR? "No. I honestly think that NASCAR's penalty on the 99 was not severe enough. I think that if you are going to deliberate cheat and try take advantage of something, than you should be penalized or sit our a race. As a driver, you want to think that you have an honest - good shot of winning -- and that you're running against 42 other cars that are legal as they can be -- because you know your car is legal. That's all you ask for as a driver. So I applaud NASCAR for going in there and digging and finding things wrong and I applaud them for doing points and doing fines and sending people home. We tried defiance for such a long time and it really didn't slow anybody down from taking advantage of breaking rules. I think this point's thing is getting peoples attention and I think you need to keep going make it higher and higher. Make it 200 points. Make it $200,000. Money's not that much as the points. We're all trying to get every point that we can each and every week. If they start to adding up the points every week, I think it will clean things up right quick."

DO YOU THINK THAT ROUSH WAS TRYING TO CHEAT WITH THE 99 CAR LAST WEEK IN VEGAS? "I think that it insults my intelligence as a race car driver when you try and tell me that you accidentally left the oil tank lid off. If you go to any owner, any engineer, any driver any crew chief and ask them is that an advantage, 'heck yeah it's an advantage'. I've been doing that half of my career. When driving the 21 and 38 car, we pulled the shifter boot off and the oil tank lid off until NASCAR started to tech it. It's 100 lbs of downforce.

"Let me try and put this in perspective for you. We spend three to four million dollars a year going to the wind tunnel trying to change body shapes, trying to do underneath the car, changing crush panels and doing stuff like that all the time -- trying to get a gain and trying to get and advantage - when all you have to do is take the oil tank lid off and you get 100 counts of downforce.

"There's a beautiful picture of Carl Edwards doing a back-flip -- I'm not taking anything away from Carl Edwards, he's an amazing race car driver. But someone took a picture of him doing a black-flip in the right side of the car and the oil tank lid is eight inches off the top of the tank. That's not just one bolt. And the right side safety window latches were loose -- that's were the hot air was going. They did a good job and figured it out and made it work. I'm impressed on how they did it -- it was smart and it worked out for them -- they won the race."

DID THEY LEAVE IT OFF BY MISTAKE? "One bolt isn't going to raise it up seven inches off the top of the lid."

SHOULD THERE BE A DISTINCTION WHEN A RULES INFRATCTION IS OBVIOUSLY UNINTENTIONAL? "Yeah, I think there should be differences between pre-race and post-race. If they're pretty happy with 100 points and 100,000 pre-race, make it 200 points and 200,000 after the race being the one you got to race that way.

"When you present a car for inspection I understand slapping you on the wrist and saying 'look, let's make sure this doesn't happy again'. I think that it should be more. If my team cheats this weekend on Sunday and I get a competitive advantage -- and I get caught with it -- I think that it should be more than what it is when somebody gets caught before the race. I just think that it keeps it all in line and keeps it all fair because you actually didn't get to race with a competitive advantage."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MANUFACTURER PARITY SO FAR IN 2008? "I think that it has a lot to do with the Car of Tomorrow. It's put everybody in a very small box. We all pretty much have the same body. We all have pretty much the same downforce that we're working with. All the engines run -- one might have more peak power -- one may have more torque -- they all pretty much level out to the same playing field. We're all playing on the same playing field more this year than I ever think we have been."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TAKING A VICTORY AWAY FROM SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T PASS INSPECTION? "I think you should take a victory away. If I cheat and win this weekend, that puts me in the winner's circle for the rest of this year and next year. Do you know how much money that is worth? I'll give you a $100,000 for that. Do something to discourage these people from doing what they're doing in trying to get a competitive advantage. If that means taking a win away, then 'yes'.

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon , Carl Edwards
Teams Robby Gordon Motorsports