ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger) WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BEING BACK IN LAS VEGAS? "It's good to be back in Vegas. I really like this race track with the new banking and stuff. It's starting to get its own little character. It's ...
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger)
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BEING BACK IN LAS VEGAS? "It's good to be back in Vegas. I really like this race track with the new banking and stuff. It's starting to get its own little character. It's little bit grayer than what it was last year, so we're going to move around, slide around a bit which should make for some good racing on Saturday and Sunday. I'm glad to be back on the track today and try and learn some things. I feel like we've learned some things that we need to work on tomorrow."
HOW DO TEAMS APPROACH TRYING TO CATCH THE 'BIG FOUR' OF ROUSH, HENDRICK, GIBBS AND CHILDRESS? "You have to beat the major players. I look at it that I have to outrun 42 cars ever week, not just sixteen. I do think that the bar has been raised by certain teams. Can you really fault them for that? They work hard. They bring good equipment to the race track and run well on Sunday, it's all deserving. I think as a company like ours (Richard Petty Motorsports), we can't just sit there, stand back and complain about it. We have to go to work too. I'm not sure what the other guys are saying about it, but I can't sit here and say that you (the media) have to talk bad about the teams that are running good each week. You just got to bust your butt, work some extra hours and try and run with them. It (NASCAR) is a competitive sport, it's not for fun. This is for real. You've got to show up and race and race hard and do what you can to run with those guys."
NOW THAT YOU HAVE TWO RACES UNDER YOUR BELTS, IS THERE A DANGER IN DRAWING CONCLUSIONS TOO EARLY? "I'll tell you where were at, the 19 team didn't run as well as we would have liked to run in California. We showed up today as a test session. We really had to run through some front-end geometry stuff and tire stuff because we weren't able to come here and test in January. I'm not saying that the no testing deal is bad; I think it's still great for the sport. But when we struggled at the end of last season and at California (last week), we came (to the track) today not worried about how fast we're going to run or how we're going to qualify, we did a test session running through different things that my guys can run on the simulation stuff tonight back at the hotel and maybe get idea on how we start tomorrow. It's hard for me to say where we're at compared to last year. We know we're not where we need to be to win a race on a mile-and-a-half yet as compared to California. We had to show up and test through some things today to try and get a direction. We might have to do it again during the first practice again tomorrow and maybe at Atlanta on Friday until we hit up on something that we feel is very comfortable, very fast and that we'll be competitive on Sunday."
ANY TIRE ISSUES HERE AT LAS VEGAS? "Not yet and I don't think that we will. With the track getting a little bit grayer like it is, it's not going to be as hard on the tires as it was two years ago. So far, so good. I haven't heard of any of the teams having tire issues. I know some teams are scuffing some tires in just to try and get some more speed out of them for restarts and things like that."
HOW MANY OTHER TRACKS NEED MORE ATTENTION TO SAFETY AND/OR SAFER BARRIER TECHNOLOGY? "It's a few places that we race at that definitely needs more attention. It is proven, studied, facts, etc. Safer walls are a lot safer than concrete walls. It's going to help save drivers, save equipment, save lives and things like that. You hear all these owners of tracks spending all this money all the time to get a date, so they must have money lying around somewhere. I think to have a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series date, you should have soft walls all the way around the outside or inside of your race track. I know that it cost a lot (of money), but a lot of fans show up to watch us race every week. That's my opinion. There are some tracks that we could do better at. What's cool about it though is that I talked to Mike Helton a year ago at a track that I was concerned about and he went right to the track that next day and talk to him about it. It's cool to have someone like Mike Helton on our side for stuff like that. I do commend Las Vegas Motor Speedway for making that change on the back straightaway like they did. That sets a good precedent for other tracks to follow."
WHERE CAN YOU MAKE UP DEFICITS THAT YOU HAVE WITH A NO-TESTING POLICY? "It's hard to go to Rockingham and try to practice on a track that we're not racing at and not on the same tire that we're going to race on each weekend. We have to take it on the chin on Fridays and not focus on that one lap of qualifying for right now until we figure out something that we need that makes our car feel better. Like today, we didn't care about what other people ran for speed, we just worked on a little bit of speed and a lot of feel as far as being comfortable (inside the car). We're gonna have to do that for as long as it takes until we get it right. We can't show up in qualifying trim on Fridays, run one lap at a time trying to go for the pole until we figure out what we need to do geometry wise, frontend wise, front clip stuff and all the stuff to make our car comfortable and fast on Sunday. Right now, we are racing against ourselves. Hopefully, we did learn some things today. I was very happy with the progress we made. I think we'll do a little bit more of that tomorrow during the first session and hopefully put it all together an be OK the second session. With the no testing, this is the real track with the real Goodyear tire that we race here. It's a good test session for us that could translate to some other tracks like Charlotte and Texas and Chicago and Kansas and places like that."
-credit: dodge motorsports