Daytona 500: Sadler qualifying press conference

ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus 2nd place press conference A LITTLE BIT DISAPPOINTED AND EXCITED AT THE SAME TIME? "Yeah, I think everybody wants to get the pole, but I am very ecstatic with my team. To get a position locked in already...

ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
2nd place press conference

A LITTLE BIT DISAPPOINTED AND EXCITED AT THE SAME TIME? "Yeah, I think everybody wants to get the pole, but I am very ecstatic with my team. To get a position locked in already for Sunday's 500, it just seems like a load is already off my shoulders and qualifying hasn't been over for hardly an hour yet. I'm so proud of my guys. We tested very well down here in January. We went back and massaged on the car a little bit and we've been fast ever since we unloaded. We had an awesome Bud Shootout car last night, and I think we've got just as good a shot as anybody to be up front in the Twin 125s and Sunday for the 500. It's great to see all the Yates guys working together with Robert and Doug and Jack - to share a front row with a guy that's also got the same engines at the same engine shop that we've got. Four out of the top five and two Fords on the front row, all around it's been a great weekend for everybody here at Robert Yates Racing."

WHAT ABOUT THE FORDS IN GENERAL. THEY'VE BEEN STRONG. "I think Ford has done a great job massaging this nose and tail before we got it. We spent a lot of wind tunnel time at the end of last season. My guys in the fab shop have been working endless nights and I think you all see the results of how much work has been going on in the motor shop also. It's just unbelievable horsepower we've had ever since we unloaded. I'm so proud of those guys. They take so much pride in the motors that we bring to Daytona each and every year and it seems to be paying off. So I want send out a great thank you to Dan Davis and Greg Specht and everybody at Ford for putting in so many hours with us in the wind tunnel. It seems to be paying off for the both of us."

HOW BIG IS IT TO GET OFF TO SUCH A GOOD START? "It's been great. Last year we took a lot of beating up from a lot of different people at our race team. Robert hired a man named Eddie D'Hondt, who has really come in and taken over the race shop and got everybody working together. He got everybody so motivated and pumped up and really just going in the same direction. I love working for a team owner that doesn't just sit and try to let things fix itself. He's not afraid to go in there and make changes and make things happen. We've got a lot of new team members on both of our teams - the 38 and the 88. With two crew chiefs like Todd Parrott and Mike Ford, that's a lot of experience on this race team right now and it seems to be showing. It's just filtering on down through starting with DJ. He's kind of the leader of the pack of our whole shop. It kind of starts with him and is filtering down through myself and Mike and Todd and Eddie and just going through the whole shop and it's paying off. Everybody is walking with a little bounce in their step this week from both of our race teams and we're just glad to be here. We want to show everybody that with a little hard work and guts and determination that we can get this race team back to where it needs to be."

HOW DID THE WIND AFFECT QUALIFYING? "The wind, I think, was 19 mile an hour gusts or something when I went out - right on the nose. I think that hurt my qualifying effort with our car compared to when some of the other guys went out. I knew when I went out and the time we ran that the wind had to stay up a lot for us to stay near the front. It stayed up some. I think some guys got more of a break than others, but, definitely, the wind hurt us. I mean, I almost slowed down three tenths from how fast I ran yesterday. I'm not sure where the wind was when Biffle was, but I do want to congratulate him and his team. I know they went through the same thing we went through as far as hard work this winter. If you have to lose to anybody, I would love to lose to somebody who has engines from our same program. That makes a big difference."

IS IT HARD TO GET USED TO WORKING WITH THE ROUSH GUYS? "I think it was weird for me coming down here testing and pulling up in the garage and having Jack and Robert both under the hood, tuning on the intake or tuning on the carburetor or trying this or trying that. It's no secret that Robert Yates has always had great horsepower and Jack Roush has always had great fuel mileage. You put those two together, which I think is what we're learning, we're gonna have a team to be reckoned with week in and week out. We know that Dodge has kind of come in with this one-team aspect. We know what Toyota is gonna come in and do here in a couple of years, so I really applaud Ford for getting both of the two Ford giants together and working together. We're already reaping the benefits from it. Hey, if I'm gonna get beat by anybody, I want it to be somebody out of our own engine stable. That makes the guys back at the shop want to work that much harder to get our stuff ready for Rockingham and Vegas. It might have been a little weird at first, but I'm gonna tell you what, when we were just down there in Victory Lane to see Jack and Robert shaking hands and smiling ear to ear, I'm so proud of the effort they have put forth and the rewards they're getting for it. Hey, man, that makes it all worthwhile."

HOW IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TODD? "My relationship with Todd, I think, is great. I think we complement very well in our attitudes. He is a hard-nosed, not let anything slide between the cracks kind of a guy and he expects a lot from his race car driver. That's really helped me a bunch. At the end of last year it took me a while to get used to it. Sometimes I didn't know if my feelings should be hurt or if I should take his advice, so I really had to work through some things. But the more we're working together, I think the better we're learning each other. He's gonna make me a better race car driver week in and week out. I really love his determination and his no-nonsense method from Thursday night when we land at the race track until Sunday when we go home. He knows when I'm in the race car that I'm the same way and we're really reflecting off each other right now. He demands a lot from me inside the car, but I'm really enjoying it and it's making me a better driver - not only behind the wheel but as far as information I can give my guys to help me as far as setups and things like that. I think the more we work together, the better we're gonna get."

DO YOU THINK THE GAP WITH DEI HAS NARROWED? "I would hope so. That's something that's been going on in our shop the last year or so. Doug Yates and Robert have really tried to make a commitment with people and money and everything else to try to narrow this gap. We knew that DEI had kind of stepped out to a big lead and really had a leg up on everyone at these restrictor plate races. I qualified on the pole at Talladega last year and had, I think, a car good enough to win. I qualified on the outside pole here for the 500. DJ wins the Bud Shootout last night. Are we at the status they're at? No. No we're not. Not until we win a couple in a row and do the things they've been doing. Are we closing the gap? I would say yes. I think we're getting in their range. What benefit they have is that those two guys are used to working with each other and usually use each other to win. They always try to help each other. We've got to get both the 38 and the 88, and now with some of the other Roush guys, we've got to get our cars working good together where we can team up and try to outrun those guys. But I definitely think we're closing the gap little by little."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robert Yates
Teams Yates Racing