Chicagoland: Elliott Sadler preview

Points Chase Getting Juicy as Elliott Sadler Prepares for the Tropicana 400 Elliott Sadler and the M&M'S team will arrive in the 'Windy City' of Chicago eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for the 18th race of the season.

Points Chase Getting Juicy as Elliott Sadler Prepares for the Tropicana 400

Elliott Sadler and the M&M'S team will arrive in the 'Windy City' of Chicago eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for the 18th race of the season. Sadler's best performance to date at Chicagoland took place one year ago when he started eighth and finished ninth.

QUOTING M&M'S DRIVER ELLIOTT SADLER:

"Last week we didn't run like we have been running on restrictor-plate tracks. We took a great car but the handling never came around. This weekend we have to perform like we have been all year. We have to be in the top 10 and we have to beat the guys who are close behind us in points and in front of us. I am racing Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte at this point. This point chase has added a whole different strategy to the way everyone is racing. You have to race smart and you have to be aware of who is around you. It seems like the same guys are up there week in and week out and last weekend showed what happens when you miss it a little like we did.

"I am real confident in this M&M'S team. We are taking my favorite car - it's the car we won with in Texas and we have two other top-five finishes with this car. If we can stay out of trouble we will be there at the finish. The next eight races are very big races for us. Our goal throughout the first 26 races of the season has been the same -- to stay in the top 10 in points. So far we've been able to do that and our focus remains the same -- to be consistently running inside of the top 10 when each race is over. We've had our ups and downs but that's always the case in racing. The guys are working hard and we feel like we are in a good position to make it into the Chase for the Championship."

One year ago you were 18th in points. What do you think has been the biggest difference in the year?

"Teamwork. Todd Parrott is a leader and he has all of our guys working on the same page. This is the first time in my career that I've been surrounded with as much talent as we have on the M&M'S team. We want to take advantage of that and make it into the final 10-race Chase for the Championship. This is the inaugural year with the new format and I want to be in the hunt when the time comes."

Chicago is a track that suits your driving style. Explain what your 'driving style' is.

"Chicago is a fast, 1.5-mile track and that has kind of been our specialty this year. With the exception of Atlanta we've ran very well at this type of track. We're taking my favorite car this weekend and it has three top fives and a win so I'm really excited. The next few races are going to be very important for us as far as the championship point standings go so we're going to give it our best and try to make up for what we lost in Daytona."

QUOTING CREW CHIEF TODD PARROTT: "We are taking the same car we won Texas with, and ran at Charlotte and Michigan earlier this year. The car runs well on this type of track which suits Elliott's driving style."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Elliott Sadler