Sadler Posts 8th Win Of 2004 For Ford * Elliott Sadler won for the third time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career and second time this season with tonight's win in the Pop Secret 500. * Sadler became the 7th multiple winner this...
Sadler Posts 8th Win Of 2004 For Ford
* Elliott Sadler won for the third time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career and second time this season with tonight's win in the Pop Secret 500.
* Sadler became the 7th multiple winner this season.
* The win was Ford's 8th of the season, which is one more than 2002.
* Ford has won 552 all-time NNC races, which is three more than second-place Chevrolet.
* The win was No. 82 for Taurus in its NNC career.
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
"We had a pretty good race car all day. We were a little loose when the sun was up, which we knew when it got cloudy and dark that our car was gonna tighten up a little bit. We got a little too tight that one run when the 9 and the 6 pretty much left us, and I just have to give it to my crew chief. He made an adjustment the last stop that I didn't agree with and I'm man enough to say that I didn't agree with it. We made the stop and said, 'Trust me, this is adjustment we need to win,' and we got the track position we needed and when I took the lead, man, that thing was just on rails the last 10 or 12 laps and it was fun to drive. It's fun to drive and lead. I love racing Kasey and I love racing Mark. We worked together all day long and we were just in the right place at the right time. That's why I've got the winningest crew chief in racing and the adjustments he made was the reason we went to victory lane."
DID YOU THINK KASEY OR MARK HAD ANYTHING FOR YOU AT THE END?
"Yeah, I had been watching Kasey all night kill people in turn one and two on the outside. Todd and I talked about it that last restart. I thought it was gonna be a single-file restart and I thought, 'Man, I really need a lapped car under here.' Casey Mears pulled up, but he didn't race up and I said, 'I've got to do something different,' so I went through turn one and two extremely high to try to take the air off the 9 car's front end because I knew he had been trying to get on the outside of people all day. I knew if I got off of two good enough to where he couldn't get to me going into three and make me loose that I'd have a chance to stay in front of him. I hit a perfect corner. I probably couldn't do it again in a million years. We hit a perfect corner and got away from him a little bit and then we were able to kind of put some distance on him at the end. But I knew Kasey was gonna be good on the restart and I worked really hard so that when I gave it the gas it wouldn't spin the tires. I took off and got a great start and everything worked in our favor. It worked out good."
TODD PARROTT , Crew Chief - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
WHAT ABOUT THAT DECISION?
"I guess with about 70 laps to go or 80 laps to go the caution came out and we had only like 10 laps on tires. That was a tough call. A lot of guys - the 9, the 24, the 48, the 6 - all got four tires. We talked about track position all day and our car was good on two tires. It wasn't the best on two tires, but we elected to put on two tires. The car got a little loose, but I just felt like if we could hold on to the top three or four - if we got a caution with 30 or 40 laps to go - we'd get on four fresh tires and have a shot to win the race. Elliott came on the radio and he said, 'I don't know. We're a little bit loose.' I said, 'Just trust me. Put a pound in that right-rear tire. That's what the car needs.' So we put four tires on it and that was the best the car had been all night long. That cat got up on the wheel. I'm so proud of him the way he drove tonight. He drove such a great race."
WHAT WAS YOUR VIEW OF THE RESTART WHEN YOU RESTARTED THIRD AND TOOK THE LEAD?
"I tell you, I learned a lot from Kasey Kahne tonight. He was going through one and two on the outside and I actually found it when I was messing around with Robby Gordon on that restart. I went through the outside of one and two and I was like, 'Wow, that's a lot of grip up here,' so when we got the restart I went into turn one and Mark was kind of tucked in behind a lapped car and I knew the 25 only had two tires. I said, 'Shoot, I'm gonna get on the outside and see what happens,' and I came off turn two and I was like, 'Holy cow, I've got the lead.' I was going into turn three and just cleared three-wide and was gonna have a fine, clear path into three when the caution came out, but you've got to watch what the other guys are doing on the race track and where they're making passes at. I think Kasey made more passes on the outside of one and two than everybody else combined tonight, so as a race car driver I've got to learn to adjust to that and adjust to the track. When we got the green and went down in there, obviously, maybe Mark's and Brian Vickers' car was not good on the outside there. They stayed on the bottom and I got such a great run off of two and pinned 'em down that I just got a good run off of two. But I learned a lot from watching everybody else and paying attention, so I figured I'd try it and it worked out."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO ONLY HAVE TO START RICHMOND TO CLINCH A SPOT IN THE TOP 10?
"That's great. That's a goal we set out to do at the start of the year. I think for this team to do that - to end up in the top 10 with what we've done and what we've accomplished this year - if we finish 10th in points that's a great accomplishment, but I think we have a shot to win the championship."
"I do too. It never ceases to amaze me how good we run at places that I'm not supposed to run good at. I think my best finish is 21st here coming into tonight and to lead some laps and run in the top four or five all night long, man, I'm pumped up. I'm not the best at Richmond either, but Todd has built me a bad race car for Richmond and I can't wait to take it. Hopefully, it'll make it through there good and we can take it on to New Hampshire. I've got two or three more just like this one that we've saved for the final 10. We've saved these cars just waiting to get in here and we're gonna show these guys what we're made of because we've got nothing to lose. I mean, I've got the winningest crew chief in racing and we're the biggest underdogs in the whole deal, so I figure we have nothing to lose. We're gonna go out there and race every race and every lap like it's the last and see what happens. But I didn't want to go to Richmond knowing that's a weak spot on my schedule and having to finish 10th or fifth or whatever to try to get in. That's why we decided to bring this car here after we had the problem at Michigan and gave up so many points, try to win the race and get as many points as we can and see what happens and it worked out."
DID YOU THINK YOU COULD DO THIS SO QUICK?
"Yeah, absolutely. Elliott's got a lot of talent - a lot of talent. I just knew with all the right people - we've hired some people over the winter and with the job Eddie D'Hondt did over the winter with our pit crew - he was in charge of that. That was his toy. He said, 'Let me worry about that. You worry about race cars and racing,' and that's what we've done. We've got a great team at Robert Yates Racing. We've a great teammate in Dale Jarrett and Mike Ford and them guys. They've done a fantastic job. I think the whole deal over the winter at Robert Yates Racing pulled together. A lot of bad things happened last year that nobody wants to remember and we just want to forget about. We all put our hearts and souls into it over the winter and we've done it all year long and here we are."
"I agree with Todd on that. The best decision we made was bringing him on board at the end of last year to give me and him some races to work together because the first four or five races we didn't understand each other - what I was saying and what he was saying. We were kind of speaking different languages and we both kind of put our feelings on our sleeves when we were talking about the race car, so we had to overcome that. The more we worked together, the better we got. When we showed up at Daytona this year, man, we were just in the full groove and getting better and better. Todd has done a great job of getting a great supporting cast around him. We have good people in the shop. Eddie D'Hondt has done an amazing job and I've learned so much, I cannot put enough emphasis on what I've learned from Dale Jarrett last season that has helped me so much as a race car driver this year. He's a big, big part of why we're here today. He's worked with Todd in the past and gave me a lot of suggestions and advice. Todd knows I like a car about like he does, so we almost just kind of fit right in together and things are working good for us."
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU CLINCHED?
"I have to start. I think we can get a battery in there that will start the race. I told Robert Yates tonight when I crossed the checkered flag, I said, 'Boss man, this is why I came to Robert Yates Racing.' To win races and we've been in the top 10 all year long. This is a dream come true. I think we can win this championship. You know why? Because we have been very, very consistent. If you look at our past races - and we were running like sixth at Michigan when we had a tire blow - for the last six or seven races in a row, where we could have cracked coming down the stretch with pressure, we were like in the top 10 every single week except for only one race. That's showing that this is a strong race team and we've come a long way this year. I've never been to New York on stage. Everybody asks you every year. Are you going to New York? I'm not going to New York unless I get an award on stage. So I'm gonna go buy my tuxedo next week while I'm in Richmond because I'm back at home, and get all fitted up so I look all nice and snazzy when I get to New York."
THOUGHTS ON RICHMOND.
"It's gonna be crazy. I'm not sure what the points situation is. For us to clinch all we have to do is start, so it's a great feeling. But there's gonna be some awesome racing going on in Richmond on Saturday night, I can tell you that. I'm sure that things are close. I think our teammate is only like 40 points out of 10th. They tested Richmond, so they've got a great race going up there. I'm really looking forward to it. Like Elliott said, we're taking a new car up there. I'm excited about it because it's a lot like the car we had here and the car we had at Indianapolis. I've got some really good feelings about it, so just going to Richmond, it's a place I like. I love the place. I won some races with Dale Jarrett there and when I worked with Rusty we had a lot of success. I'm just trying to get it out of his head at these places he don't like and just try to turn things around."
Continued in part 2