ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 1st) "The guys have definitely brought the race car to beat that. It's amazingly fast. It was when we tested here. I never get amazed by Todd Parrott's intuition about this race track. He's...
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Qualified 1st)
"The guys have definitely brought the race car to beat that. It's amazingly fast. It was when we tested here. I never get amazed by Todd Parrott's intuition about this race track. He's just so smart. He knows what the car needs and wants and they did it again today. We were just very fast right off the truck and it was a lot of fun to drive. We definitely have the car to beat, I think, for tomorrow. I've got to make some good decisions on the race track and race hard and make some good pit stops and we should be in great shape for tomorrow."
WAS IT GOOD TO HAVE SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN AFTER THE LAST FOUR WEEKS?
"Being on the pole at the Brickyard is one step closer to a dream. I think it's pretty neat to be able to hand the pole trophy over to Robert Yates, to be able to sit on the pole here and really want to kiss the bricks. That was our mindset when we decided to come here this week. After our test session we're not talking about points, we're really not worried about the chase tomorrow, we want to kiss those bricks and whatever we've got to do to try to make that happen is what Todd and I are gonna do. We've had a rough July. I'm glad July is over with. It seems like as soon as August came in we're right back where we need to be. We've got a tough six weeks left. We know that. We've got some good tracks coming up for us and some tracks that maybe we've struggled at before, but to come here and be this fast and have this much confidence is great for me as a driver. I've been as down as you can get after Loudon and this is good for me, it's good for Todd, it's good for the team to kind of come out here and set the pace with a great run and we really think we've got a great car for tomorrow too."
IS THIS LINEUP A CASE OF WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET?
"I would guess so, especially everybody in the points. You definitely can't afford to struggle that much in the race. Everybody's got a pure race setup in with a few adjustments here or there for qualifying. Maybe some one-off teams that are just trying to get in for one show might have a little bit more qualifying stuff in it, but everybody that we need to race, I think, for the win tomorrow is definitely in race trim."
WHAT WAS THE DIFFERENCE IN ENGINES WITH YOU AND DJ?
"I'm not sure. I think DJ's car was never good in qualifying trim, even when he was here testing, but it was really good in race trim. But I still think we both have a lot of motor. I ran with some cars this morning in practice and felt my motor was just as good or better than any of them, and I ran with some really good race cars. I think Evernham's team has definitely run good here in the past with Bill Elliott winning, and Evernham has won a few times here himself with Jeff. They've got some great notes and things to go off of, so they're gonna be tough. But as far as our motor program, I just feel that the motor I've got here this weekend is really good. It seems like our motor program always peaks about Indy. I haven't seen Doug Yates in the last two months. I think he's been locked up in the room getting these engines ready. I think if you talk to any of the Roush guys, too, I think they're gonna be really happy with the package the engine shop brought here this weekend and we should be fine in the race with it."
HOW MUCH MORE IMPORTANT IS THIS FOR YOU TOMORROW AS FAR AS POINTS.
"We've just got to run good each and every race. We sat down after Pocono and pretty much said that if we just go race our races and not try to get caught up in any kind of dnf's or any kind of stupid stuff like that, we should be fine for the chase. We've got a good enough race team to make the chase. I think I've got a great pit crew, one of the best one's on pit road. I know everybody else is talking about the 24 and the 8 and some of these guys trying to make the chase. There are a lot of good teams trying to make it, there are a lot of good teams still in it. There are only so many pieces of the pie. I'm not gonna worry myself with it. I'm gonna just do what the 38 needs to do and our team needs to do. If we just take care of ourselves, I think we'll be fine. I learned that in the chase last year. I was too worried about what everybody else was doing and I ended up shooting myself in the foot during the chase. I'm not gonna worry about that this year. I'm gonna just worry about what our team needs to do to be successful and to get the most points that we can. I think that's the best way to be. I could really care less the way anybody else runs. I know if we do our job, we should be a part of the chase for the cup."
ARE THERE SOME THINGS FROM ROUSH THAT HAS HELPED YATES? IS IT A TWO-WAY STREET?
"I'm sure going both ways in the engine shop. I'm sure Doug and Jack and all the guys are working hard and putting all of their notes together and the end result that we're getting is amazing. The way that Kurt Busch ran at Pocono, I know his car was handling but he was going in the straightaway too. It is fun to drive Yates Racing cars. I remember the first day when I first signed with Robert Yates and got to go drive the 28 at Kentucky then. Holy cow, it was amazing. A big grin just came on my face thinking, 'I can't wait to get in one of these cars each and every week.' They focus so much on horsepower and today, as fast as we were during practice, Doug Yates was still working on that motor each and every time we'd come in - tuning it as best he could with jets and timing and fuel and everything. I just love driving a race car for people that are races and Robert and Doug Yates are racers. They're motor guys and it just makes it a lot of fun to be able to do that."
DO YOU BENEFIT IN THE WIND TUNNEL AS WELL?
"We're working on that. We're not probably benefiting as much from their body situation as they are maybe from Doug's motor stuff but we're working on that. I think with the new Fusion you're gonna see more Roush-Yates working together to make sure we get that thing right before we ever go to Daytona next year. So we know we're gonna have to do some massaging and there are gonna be some growing pains with that type of car, so we know the more minds we put together the better we're gonna be with that."
WHAT'S THE IMPORTANCE OF THE POLE AT THIS TRACK?
"It's definitely track position. Last year I qualified here third and was able to get in the lead pretty quick and got to race Jeff for the lead a lot. Track position is magnified at this place because we've got the valances on the ground, we've got the spoilers way up in the air. We're gonna get aero-push because there is no banking to make the car turn, and we run so fast around here now with this new grip, I think it's all magnified. So to be able to start on the pole, whether we lead the first lap or not, is better than being thirty-something, where you've got to fight through traffic and things like that. I learned so much last year racing with Jeff Gordon and what he was doing on restarts to make sure he'd get his car in the clean air, and I worked on my car a lot for the test for that reason - to try to do a little bit of the same thing. I think track position is more important than anything. Pit selection, yes, is important. To have an opening, whether it be in front of you or behind you, but whoever is leading this race with 10 or 15 laps to go is gonna be a very hard man to pass."
FOUR TIRES EVERY STOP?
"We're gonna get four tires every stop. The way our tire wear is going, unless there's an eight or nine lap shootout or something, you might have to get two (tires) or gas only or something like that to mix it up a little bit, but the way the tires are wearing, we're gonna try to stick with four tires and that way we know we'll be there at the end."
TODD AND ROBERT HAVE WON THIS RACE MULTIPLE TIMES. HOW DOES THAT HELP YOU?
"I think what helped me the most was Dale Jarrett. My first time I came here I was driving this place all wrong. He showed me where I need to be on the gas and off the gas, and where I need to be in the steering and off the steering. He helped me so much as a driver. Now that I understand what I need to be looking for, then I can relate to Raymond Fox, my first-year crew chief, and now Todd Parrott. Todd's just got a great understanding here. It seems like we hit it off everytime we come here. We qualified third last year and finished third, and those guys have been successful here. Todd, if he knew how to do any kind of gas mileage at all, should have four or five rings here, so I would love to try to get him another ring tomorrow, which means I'll get one. I definitely think I've got the best crew chief for this race track. He just really understands this race track unbelievably, and I think I've got a good teacher and a good coach with Dale Jarrett, and I just want to try to put all the pieces together and kiss those bricks. It's a dream come true. Winning here at the Brickyard is like winning the Daytona 500 - it makes or breaks a career. I really believe that deep down inside. You heard Tony Stewart say he would trade in his championship for a win at this place. I think a lot of people are in the same shoes he's in."
DOES THIS REMIND YOU OF ANY POSITION YOU'VE BEEN IN BEFORE?
"You know, it reminds me a lot of being here last year. We had a fast race car here last year and I just got outdrove by Jeff Gordon - period. So I really learned some things from that - jotted it down. We came back to test. There were some different things I wanted to try in my car to make sure I could do different things on the race track that Jeff was able to do, but I'm in the same boat, I feel like. Last year before we took the green flag I feel like I had the car to beat and we were very disappointed with third place. This year from the very first lap I made in our test session we had the car to beat - period. It has nothing to do with the driver, it's just the equipment. They've been working on this race car for four-and-a-half months to get ready for this one race. Doug Yates has been working on this engine for a little bit under two months to get ready for this one particular race. So I almost feel like I'm in the same boat I was last year, but I've got a little bit more firepower than what I had and I've just got to make the most of it."