Bristol: Pole winner press conference

ELLIOTT SADLER POLE-WINNING PRESS CONFERENCE TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN. "It was great. It's a great feeling to come here to Bristol and run good. Everybody knows it's one of my favorite race tracks. Actually, I didn't know we could run that fast.

ELLIOTT SADLER POLE-WINNING PRESS CONFERENCE

TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN.

"It was great. It's a great feeling to come here to Bristol and run good. Everybody knows it's one of my favorite race tracks. Actually, I didn't know we could run that fast. It was a surprise to my team. I think I've got the best car I've ever had here in my life as far as on race trim. It was awesome today. It's the same car we finished fifth here with last year. They massaged on it a little bit at home and we hadn't had it back on the race track until today. It was great in race trim, so Todd and the guys must have made the right adjustments to get it ready for qualifying and to go out there and run that type of lap in race trim pretty much taped up with the impounding rules is a great, great lap. I'm proud of my guys for what they gave me today."

TALK ABOUT THE DAY YOU WON HERE?

"All wins are special, but your first win is always gonna be the most special. That kind of stands still in time to me. I mean, I feel like it happened yesterday - pulling into Victory Lane and seeing Eddie and Len Wood and everybody from the Wood Brothers stays in your mind because you love to give back to people that have given to you. To me, everytime I come back to this race track twice a year I think about that first win that I had and I want to do it again. I want to run up front because this is probably the most exciting place that we race at. The fans are pretty much on top of you. They're very loud. They're very vocal, so to come here and to run good and have success here is a great feeling. A lot of guys get up for this race, so to sit on the pole is a big feat. It's probably the best thing that's happened to me since that win here at this race track and I just hope we can carry it all the way through on Sunday."

HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE IN THERE BETWEEN RACE TRIM AND QUALIFYING TRIM?

"We're 100 percent in race trim. We just taped it up and pumped the tires up and here we go. Todd and Kevin and all the guys have done a great job every week on transferring it from race trim into qualifying trim and every team is gonna get better. The more we do this impounding and the more we get used to what these Goodyear tires want the better we're gonna get at it. I think my guys have done a great job adjusting to it. We've qualified well everywhere we've been this year, and I think the more we do it the better we're gonna get. No, we're 100 percent in race trim. It's nothing that we did. Like I said, this lap was a surprise to me, too. I knew we could get somewhere in the top 10. I didn't think we could run a 15-flat because my car is so awesome in race trim that I didn't think it could run that fast for one lap, but the guys proved me wrong. It was a fun, fun lap."

BRISTOL IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE TRACKS BUT IS IT ONE OF YOUR BEST?

"I don't know. I've run good here sometimes and I've run bad here sometimes. I probably haven't run as good here in the fall as I would have liked over the years. My spring race seems to be the more consistent race that we race at. It's just a great place to start up front at, so to come here and sit on the pole gives my guys a great pit selection for Sunday - the number one pit. That's gonna be an advantage to us. Track position is gonna be an advantage. I think it's a good track for me as far as driver feel. I need to stay out of trouble and keep my fenders on it. Usually when we're able to do that we usually have a top 10 car here, so it's probably one of my best track to go to - yes."

HOW WILL CONDITIONS TRANSLATE TO SUNDAY?

"I think we've got a lot of adjustment built in our car. It's not supposed to be hot Sunday. It's supposed to be like a high of 52 or 53 degrees. The sun might be out which might make the track a little slicker, but we're all in the same boat. We'll all kind of look at the weather, but we don't really know what it's gonna do. We just have to get the car driving as good as we can for the present time. All we have to go off of is today's two-hour practice. We had to get the car driving good for those two hours and then build some adjustment into it in case something happens different for Sunday. I think we're good. I swear it's the best car I've ever had here in race trim. I'm so excited for the green flag on Sunday. I think we're gonna be a contender the whole day."

YOU'VE QUALIFIED SECOND SO MANY TIMES. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET THIS POLE AND GET INTO NEXT YEAR'S SHOOTOUT?

"I think I've qualified second at Charlotte alone probably five or six times. I was lonely during the shootout and what's so tough about it is I have a car owner that loves running in the shootout and he loves those poles. He wants to be the fastest car every week and I've got an engine builder in Doug Yates, who puts so much emphasis on qualifying. Whether we're full blown out or impounding, they do everything they can to make sure we've got a good run at the pole. That's something they believe in and something they want. We were all disappointed at Daytona this year that we couldn't run in the shootout. I know I was and my whole team was, and so was Doug and Robert. We were so close at Vegas and to get beat by that much, it made me mad because I thought we gave the best effort we could and we just came up a little short to Ryan. So to come back here and get a pole when it's not expected. The pressure was kind of off. We knew we had a top 10 car but maybe not a pole car, and to be able to do it like we did, is a great feeling. Now I can be more relaxed, I think, on qualifying day the rest of the year because I know I'm gonna be in the shootout next year."

YOU STARTED 38TH WHEN YOU WON HERE. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE MINDSET TO COME THROUGH THE FIELD LIKE CARL EDWARDS WILL?

"I think you have to race the race track here. I think more guys are learning that each and every week, especially with the new spoiler rules and stuff. You just can't get yourself in situations at the beginning of the race that is gonna take you out. You've got to race the race track and then go for it at the end. I think Bristol is a place that that is very, very true. What we did in 2001 was we just had track position. We stayed out and stayed out with track position. I told Todd before we came that the next two weeks - Bristol and Martinsville - is a track position race. He's gonna have to be on his game on pit calls on Sunday. Yes, we're starting in a great spot, but we've got to make all the right decisions on Sunday to keep ourselves in that spot. We've got the number one pit stall and that's gonna be a little bit of an advantage. My guys won the pit crew deal in Atlanta, so they're all pumped up. Man, we've just got to use our head. When to take two tires. When to get gas only. When to stay out. If we can play the chess game correctly, we've got a great shot of winning this race on Sunday, but it's all gonna come down to track position - you mark my words. I don't care if they've got 100 laps on their tires or 10, the people that make the smartest calls between lap 300 and 500 on Sunday is gonna win this race."

DID YOU THINK THERE WOULD BE QUALIFYING TODAY WITH THE WEATHER FORECAST?

"No. I mean, that's all we've been looking at all week. You've seen it on Jayski or whatever. If it rains it's gonna do this, this and this. Nobody knew we'd be on the race track today and that's one reason why we felt good about bringing a car we had here last year. 'Hey guys, if we don't get any practice so what. We raced this car here last year. Let's put the same setup on it and let's go.' We had no idea we were gonna be out there and then they said, 'Well, it's coming later on today, so just work on race trim because you're not gonna get a chance to qualify.' Then it finally held off and held off. Nobody knows about the Busch race tomorrow. I mean, it's hard to get up for certain situations because you don't think you're gonna get on the race track, but I think a lot of fans showed up today for the weather like it was. I'm glad it held off and they got to see, I think, a pretty exciting pole day here at Bristol. I didn't get a chance to worry. I'm gonna punch out here in a little while and take tomorrow off. I'm gonna watch my teammate run in the Busch race and my Tar Heels are in the Final Four, so it's a pretty exciting weekend so far for me."

IS IT A DIFFERENT FEEL WALKING INTO A PLACE YOU'VE WON AT BEFORE?

"Yes. I think it's definitely a different feel. When you've won at a place and you can actually look your crew chief and your guys in the eye and say, 'Hey, we've done it here before guys. We can do it again.' It's a lot different than walking in a place and going, 'Oh, the best finish we've got here is 20th. If we have a good weekend, we might get an 18th.' It's a different mentality and a different focus. Everytime I come to Bristol something special happens.

"I feel like we've got a great chance of running up front and really gaining some points. We finished fifth here last fall - come back and sit on the pole with the same car. We think it's gonna run good in the race. My pit crew is on its game. I think good things can happen to you and you get the ball rolling. Last year at Texas, winning that race so early in the season just kept that momentum going all year long - through bad weekends and good weekends. To come here, this is a kick start for us. To come here and sit on the pole, it's a huge momentum builder for our race team - big time. Especially since we're going to Texas to test Tuesday. We're getting ready. We want to go and defend our title down there. We tested like 10 times for Martinsville at different tracks. We've been to the race track a bunch in the last month, so to come to a place and sit on the pole this early in the season is a great momentum boost for our race team."

HOW ARE YOU SPENDING YOUR OFF DAY ON SATURDAY?

"I'm gonna watch the Busch race, probably. I'm gonna sleep late and just come in here and hang out and watch the Busch guys run - maybe learn something from my teammate. Then go back and eat a healthy dinner and then watch my Tar Heels play tomorrow night, so I'm gonna have a pretty lazy day tomorrow. I might stay in my pajamas most of the day until the Busch race starts. I'm not gonna do much. I'm not gonna travel anywhere - just stay in the air condition and keep my body well rested because Sunday is a big day here."

DO YOU LIKE THE IMPOUND RULE?

"I am a fan of it. I like it and the reason I like it - I'm gonna be a little selfish here - is I like going to bed on Saturday nights not wondering what you've got to do to the car to change it for Sunday morning. You sleep a whole lot better knowing that we can't touch the cars before the race starts. It's tough to come with the car in qualifying trim and qualify Friday. Then worry Friday night about what you're gonna do for Saturday's practices. Then practice all day Saturday. Then worry yourself to death on Saturday night, last minute changes and things like that to get ready for Sunday. It's so much better just to come here, go through race trim, run it for two hours and what you've got is what you've got. Then you just make adjustments as you can on Sunday, so I'm a big fan of the impound rule. I sleep a whole lot better on Saturday nights and so does my crew chief."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup