Robert Yates Racing announced today it would campaign the No. 38 Taurus, driven by Elliott Sadler and sponsored by M&M's, starting with the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Part 1 of 2 ELLIOTT SADLER, driver-38-M&M's Taurus "This is pretty ...
Robert Yates Racing announced today it would campaign the No. 38 Taurus, driven by Elliott Sadler and sponsored by M&M's, starting with the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup season.
Part 1 of 2
ELLIOTT SADLER, driver-38-M&M's Taurus
"This is pretty exciting for me. I get to meet with you guys on a regular basis, it seems like, the last few months, and I've been dying to tell you, I really have. And I sat in my motorcoach last night and wondered, 'What are you going to say?' This is the biggest honor and privilege I've ever had. A lot of people get to make decisions time after time again about their life and what direction they're going; to me, this is a career opportunity. This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal. To be in connection with Robert Yates next year is hard to put in words. His commitment to their engines, the work Doug [Yates] and he does every single week shows up every Sunday. The commitment and intensity that Fatback [Michael McSwain] shows, I think is unbelievable. You can tell when he's running good, you can tell when he's running bad, and that's the type of crew chief I want. Somebody that looks like they'll go to war for you each and every week. So, I'm looking forward to starting that relationship also in 2003. Also, let me tell you about teammates. I think teammates are well-underrated in NASCAR Winston Cup racing. I've never had one in Winston Cup racing, and I'm looking forward to working with, I think, the best teammate there is in the garage - not only what he does on the track, but off the track. Everybody's who's interviewed me the past years knows how highly speak and think of Dale Jarrett. So, to be able to work with him for a common goal to win Robert Yates a championship is a big honor to me. And then to get lucky enough to have a sweet company like M&M's come in here and put this deal together is another great opportunity. A family-owned business like Robert Yates, a family-owned company like M&M's Chocolate Candies, and my family is very well involved in my racing, also, so it just seemed like a perfect fit when this all came together. We're looking forward to getting these guys to Victory Lane for the first time next year, and we're going to work very hard at that. We think that's our main goal: just to win races. And that's all I've said from the very beginning: I want to win races. And I think with how hard Robert and Doug and everybody at Robert Yates Racing works, I think we'll be able to do that."
ROBERT YATES, owner-38-M&M's Taurus
"I'm happy to be here. Certainly, probably got the first good night's sleep last night because I knew what the deal is and what it's going to be. And we're excited about that. We're looking forward top creating something that nobody knew about, but we'll know about early on next season. To have in our deal Michael McSwain, crew chief, Elliott, extremely talented, very motivated, extremely motivated. I think everybody has seen that. So, we're excited about all those things. To have a world-class company behind us is a good comfort feeling. We can go do what we love to do, and that's just go race hard - it's a performance business - and we're just glad they chose us."
MICHAEL McSWAIN, crew chief-38-M&M's Taurus
"I think everyone with dreams and wishes, and when your dreams start coming true, you think, 'Well, all my dreams may not come true,' but they keep coming true bigger and bigger and bigger. People you work with, being associated with Robert, now to be associated with a company that I knew we all grew up with, M&M's. It's pretty unbelievable for me to be associated with somebody like Robert and M&M's.
"And then to bring Elliott - I've never worked with a young driver before; I'm really pumped up about it. I've been fortunate to work with a lot of mature drivers. And to get someone who's the energy that Elliott's got, the intensity that's he's got, the desire that he's got, it's pretty exciting for me as a crew chief to see someone that's young and wanting to be a big name in this business. And I think all three of us together, along with M&M's, can make a big deal out of this."
IT MUST HAVE BEEN A DIFFICULT FEW WEEKS. HOW ARE YOU NOW?
"A lot of people ask me that. It's been pretty difficult, I've had a lot of back pain, I've been to a lot of doctors, MRI, CT scans, what have you. And I think that it was probably all about just trying to figure out the best deal. And we've got that, I'm excited about it, and my back's not hurting today. We've had this deal in hand for a while and it has melted, so it's in our mouth and we can get with it. So, we're excited about it."
WHAT ABOUT NOT HAVING THE NO. 28?
"My first reaction to do something different was positive. Because I was around when we had the Gatorade 88 car and we were going to do the Miller deal, and Gatorade just had so much invested in the 88, and it's like, 'Hey, this is going to be a new deal. It's Miller Time.' And we put the 22 on it. And my first win as an engine builder, 98 car in Daytona, 1969, LeeRoy Yarbrough. So, throughout my life I've had a lot of these things on the shelf and I look back and they're not all the same numbers, like I didn't work at the same place all my life. So, it's pretty interesting. I think that picking a number and putting it on this, it's a new deal, we're teaming up together and we're putting our identity as a different number. It's probably no different than the 48. All I knew about 48 was James Hylton, and now they've created their own deal. That's what we want to do with this. This is a special 38, not a .38 special."
TO MAINTAIN A FRONT-RUNNING PRESENCE, HOW MANY CARS WILL YOU NEED FOR THE SEASON, AND IS THE SPONSORSHIP AT THAT LEVEL?
"It takes about an average of 20 cars to cover the different style race tracks. NASCAR is tightening that up, so they would love for us to have just one vehicle, but with back-to-back races, you have to manufacture them on a very timely schedule to have something ready each week. Right now, with the new rules for next year, I had about 45 cars between the two teams, and unless they give us an inch we won't have any. But the good news is maybe it's just one more change and we'll be good to go for a couple of years."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT REPLACING RICKY RUDD?
"I don't think you replace a veteran or a legend, I think that's a pretty steep statement. But as far as becoming a part of Robert Yates Racing, this is a dream for me. I'm going to the best I can. I'm going to try to step in his shoes. This is a championship-running car. They're in the championship hunt again this year. So that tells you how good that team is and how hard they work. So, I need to step in there starting at Daytona next year and try to run for a championship. That's what's on our mind, that's the mentality we're going to have, and that's what we need to do. Hopefully, I'll be able to step right in and go with the flow.
"We're going to try to do some testing here at the end of this year to get Mike and myself acquainted more with each other so when we go to the Daytona 500, we can hit the ground running. So, that's our plan, to win as many races as we can for M&M's and hopefully get them a championship."
WHY ELLIOTT SADLER?
"We've really had our eye on Elliott since his dad passed on to one of his friends a message that, 'Hire my son,' and that probably goes back to about the time he was still racing go-karts. Because his dad is in the oil business - very good friends. What I probably like so much about it is his dad didn't strong-arm a deal to bring him earlier. He sat back, paid his dues and impressed us, so I like that part because sometimes a dad tries to buy their way in and he didn't do that. He let his boy work it the hard way. He's doing it because he wants to do it, and not because his father wanted him to do it. And that always impresses me. So, certainly talented, motivated, youth, and we're excited about it. We think he has the toughness of some of the drivers we've had in the past. He's got a lot of great character in him - several different characters. So, I think he's watched and learned. Dale Jarrett's been extremely pleasant and we'll get some Dale Jarrett in him, too. That's one of our big plusses here."
Yates, Sadler press conference, part II