STUART, Va. (August 14, 2000) -- Like most racecar drivers, Elliott Sadler has been forced to overcome his share of adversity. Sadler launched into Winston Cup racing as a rookie in 1999, after beginning his stock car career just six years prior.
STUART, Va. (August 14, 2000) -- Like most racecar drivers, Elliott Sadler has been forced to overcome his share of adversity. Sadler launched into Winston Cup racing as a rookie in 1999, after beginning his stock car career just six years prior. The 25-year old from Emporia, Virginia has three Winston Cup races under his belt at Michigan International Speedway -- two were nightmares and one a dream come true.
Elliott Sadlerís first Winston Cup outing at MIS resulted in a 36th place finish, the second an 11th place finish and the last outing a 27th place finish. Each outing for Sadler was a unique challenge and the return this weekend is his chance for redemption.
"My first Winston Cup race at Michigan was a reality check for me," stated Sadler. "When that race was over I knew it was time for me to step back and evaluate what I needed to do to make us a better race team. When we came back for the Fall race we finished 11th. That proved to me and this team that we could overcome and conquer the tough challenges."
Despite the wide spectrum of finishes in 1999, Sadler returned to MIS for this year's Spring race with his favorite racecar and hopes of posting his first top-10 run of the 2000 season. But, the history books read differently.
Sadler was making his third practice run during Happy Hour when the right rear tire of his CITGO Ford ran over debris entering turn 1. The car went airborne, barrel-rolling as many as a dozen times. The horrific crash also holds a record in the Wood Brothers history books. It was the first time in the Wood Brothers 50-year history the No. 21 Ford had turned over on its roof.
According to Sadler, "The wreck at Michigan is probably the scariest moment I've had in my racing career. After the car went airborne everything was quiet, unlike hitting the wall. I didn't know when it was going to be over, but when I finally stopped I looked around and knew everything was OK. Kyle Petty stopped his car and came over to make sure I wasn't hurt. I really appreciate what he did. He's one of the most courageous people I know."
This weekend Sadler returns to the track with a different outlook on life and is confident he can put the wreck behind him.
"I may be thinking about the wreck the first couple of laps," he said. "I've moved on from the accident and it did me a lot of good to run the race after the wreck. If I had been seriously injured in the wreck, returning this weekend would be much tougher. We're taking our best car in the shop to Michigan and I think we'll have some good results. We ran 11th in the race at Michigan last Fall and I hope we can better that finish this weekend."
<pre> Starts Wins Top 5 Top 10 Poles Money Won 61 11 26 37 9 $937,440