Ford Racing's Elliott Sadler Bristol II interview

ELLIOTT SADLER -- 21 -- Motorcraft Taurus pre-qualifying press conference: "We're bringing the same car back this weekend. We've got a pretty good car going into qualifying, we're third-quick, which is the fastest we've ever been here for ...

ELLIOTT SADLER -- 21 -- Motorcraft Taurus pre-qualifying press conference:

"We're bringing the same car back this weekend. We've got a pretty good car going into qualifying, we're third-quick, which is the fastest we've ever been here for qualifying trim so we're pretty happy. It would be cool to sweep. We're the only ones with a chance to do that this year -- to sweep Bristol -- and I think we've got as good a shot as anybody. From a racing standpoint, we've got us a pretty good weekend going. Also, some of you may have heard yesterday on the internet, I just got engaged. I met my girlfriend, Lisa, here four years ago to the day. My parents 38th wedding anniversary is tomorrow, so I couldn't think of a better weekend than this weekend to propose to Lisa and she said yes. I don't know if she knows what she's got herself into, but I'm pretty happy. So, if some of you haven't heard that, that's how my life is going on a personal level right now. We've got a pretty good weekend going so far."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BACK HERE AFTER WINNING LAST TIME? "I don't know what ya'll think of this place, but I think this is the greatest place on Earth. I think this is definitely heaven on Earth to me. I've been coming here since I was a little bitty kid. When I drove in last night and did the Food City Racefest and all the people that were there, and the parade that comes through town with people lined up on both sides watching -- nowhere else that we go has that kind of response, I don't think, to us coming. So, when I pulled up to the track last night around 11 o'clock with it all lit up outside and campers as far as you can see, I tell you what, I'm a race car driver yes, but I'm just as big a race fan as anyone else in here and as a race fan that's the coolest thing you'll ever see. I love coming here. I'm gonna sit in the stands just like everybody else is tonight and watch the Busch race and have a good time and, hopefully, put on a good show tomorrow. Anytime you can race in front of 160,000 people and they're right on top of you -- and you can hear how loud they really are -- it's cool. I really like coming here and I like it even more now because I was able to win a Busch race here, I was able to win a Winston Cup race here, I met my fiancée Lisa here and now we've been engaged here, so a lot of good things have happened to me here in Bristol, Tennessee so this place will always be pretty special to me. I have a really good shot of getting my first pole here today. If I get our first pole here today, they're gonna have to kick me out of the motorhome lot tonight because we're definitely gonna have a party after the Busch race."

WHAT MEMORIES POPPED BACK IN YOUR HEAD LAST NIGHT? "I might win 100 more races. I might not win anymore races. I might win a championship or two, but I don't think anything can be as gratifying or make me feel as happy as winning my very first race -- not only for me but after I took the checkered and went down the back pit road and seeing Eddie and Len and Jack Roush and all the guys on the team smiling ear to ear and coming to the car and giving high fives. Going to victory lane and seeing your guys happy. I remember it like it was yesterday. I've always been taught to try to pay back people. It feels better to give back to people that have done great stuff for you. That's something my granny taught me a long time ago, so to be able to give back to the Wood Brothers after giving me a chance in racing and to give back to Motorcraft after picking us up this year and giving us a lot of resources, that's stuff that made me feel better than anything. To be able to carry those guys to victory lane is the best feeling in the world. I still watch a tape of the race all the time at home. Whenever I'm feeling bad, I'm watching the tape of the race. Doug Rice and all the staff at PRN sent me a tape of the radio broadcast and I listen to that on the radio sometimes going down the road. It's just a great, great feeling. You'll never get a second chance to get your first win, so it was something that when I pulled back in here last night there were a lot of great memories that came into my head. It's pretty cool."

WOULD THERE BE A BIG GROUP AT THE SHOP THIS TIME AROUND IF YOU WIN? "When we won here in the spring and got back to the Wood Brothers about 11:30 or 12:00 at night, they had toilet papered the whole shop and toilet papered Eddie and Len's house, toilet papered the cars. I think the whole town of Stuart was at the shop. There aren't but 200 people, but I think the whole town of Stuart was at the shop when we got there. Stuff like that you'll remember forever and, hopefully, if we have a chance to win again tomorrow night, I hope they do it again. I hope everybody comes out. To walk into that shop that Sunday night and shake Glen Wood's hand and have him tell you, 'Congratulations, that's what we're talking about.' That's pretty cool, man. Glen Wood is a legend to me and probably a legend to anyone who has ever been involved in racing, so to have that man shake your hand and be proud of you probably meant more to me than anything."

-Ford Racing

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Sharpie 500 Qualifying, Page 4 August 24, 2001 Bristol Motor Speedway

SADLER CONTINUED -- WHAT ABOUT YOUR COMMERCIAL WITH HERMIE? "That's just a script we got. I thought it was pretty funny. They made me look funny and made him look like a crybaby -- I don't know why. It's a Virginia Lottery commercial. It's about him scratching the tickets and promoting the game and I walk by him. I'm not looking where I'm going, I'm scratching my ticket and I bump into him as he's getting out of his race car. I about knock him over and he says something smart to me and I mock him doing this, so it's pretty funny. It's pretty funny on TV. Everybody seems to like it, but they came up with the script and I just ad-libbed a little bit. I wasn't supposed to do that, but I ad-libbed and they seemed to like it so it came out good." HOW DID YOU POP THE QUESTION? "I was nervous. Nobody taught me how to do this or told me how. I had great ideas. You know, put it in a wine bottle and get 'em drunk first and the ring's at the bottom because they'll surely say yes then and stuff like that. We got to sign autographs together last night at the Food City because she's Miss Tennessee right now. She got to sign as Miss Tennessee and I signed as Elliott, so as soon as she got here yesterday I just got down on one knee and did the gentleman thing like you're supposed to do. If I didn't do that, my momma would have killed me. We were both shaking right there. That's the most nervous I've ever been. Qualifying and all, it's not a problem anymore after going through that. That was pretty nervewracking. My whole family and her whole family all went out to eat last night and celebrated. That's why I did it last night too because her whole family was here watching her sign autographs and my entire family is here today because Hermie is here trying to make the race, so that was pretty cool." WHERE DO YOU NEED TO IMPROVE AS A TEAM? "I think we've got a lot of work to do as a team. Being a single-car team and being out of Charlotte, is a disadvantage in a lot of different ways. We have been the worst qualifying team on the planet this year and we know that. I've taken more provisionals this year than I have my entire life. We have just figured out last week at Michigan what we've been doing wrong. We qualified fourth there and we've got a pretty good car today, but it's taken us this long to figure out what everybody else was doing. Now that we know what everybody else is doing, we're trying it and, wow, we're not even the same race team. We think we've got our qualifying stuff pretty straight. I'm not saying we're gonna qualify in the top five every week, but I think we'll definitely be more competitive. Now we've just got to work on our racing stuff. As long as we learn a lot I think we'll be okay." IS IT THE TIRES? Yeah, it's the tires. We know how to make the tires last one hundred and some laps, we showed that to everybody here at Bristol in the spring. I could not tell you how to get those doggone things to work for one lap or two laps. I didn't know what to do. Come to find out, we found out what everybody else was doing, stuff you never dreamed of in your entire life, and we tried it last week at Michigan and I was like, wow, we've got us a race car. And we did it again today with the same results. It's hard when you're a single-car team. You only get two hours of practice. You really can't try off-the-wall stuff. You might get too far in left field and then you'll never catch back up. It's hard to do it, but the guys are working hard at it and Pat's doing a good job with it. So, we're steadily working hard at it." WHERE IS LISA FROM? "Lisa is from Crossville, Tennessee. I met her here; she was Miss Food City."

FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Sharpie 500 Qualifying, Page 5 August 24, 2001 Bristol Motor Speedway

SADLER CONTINUED -- HOW DID YOU MEET HER? "How did I meet her? I walked across the stage and shook her hand, and then my PR person, Karen Byrnes, got her telephone number. I was too embarrassed to ask. Actually, I'll tell you the whole story while you're all in here. She got out of a van and was getting ready to go up on stage and Randy LaJoie was standing beside me and I made a comment about the way she looked. And, of course, if you say anything around Randy LaJoie, he's going to turn it around two or three times and he's going to say it three times as loud. He embarrassed me pretty bad, you could say, until it was my turn to go across the stage. So, we shook hands and Karen Byrnes, who was working with me then, got her phone number and then she gave me the wrong phone number. The first one was wrong, and it was a Friday night race, so I called Karen after I tried the phone number about three times on Saturday. I called Karen about 15 minutes before the Winston Cup race was getting ready to start from back home in Charlotte, and I was like, 'Look, we have a big mistake here, the phone number is wrong. This is a 911.' So she got the right phone number on Saturday night and then we've been together ever since. So, that's the way it started. She said she didn't mean to give me the wrong phone number, but we all know what that means." DOES SHE HUNT? "She already knows about hunting. She's been hunting with me one time. She won't ever hunt with me again, but she knows that I deer hunt a lot in the winter. We've had that discussion. It's fine now, but they say once you get married, that will go out the window."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jack Roush , Elliott Sadler