ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) WHAT'S YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSION OF THE NEW FACILITY "It's pretty wild. I'm still lost. I haven't gotten the grand tour yet. It's a great job. It kinda reminds me of Daytona a lot where the...
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
WHAT'S YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSION OF THE NEW FACILITY "It's pretty wild. I'm still lost. I haven't gotten the grand tour yet. It's a great job. It kinda reminds me of Daytona a lot where the fans get to see the hard work the guys do each and every weekend. It brings them that much closer to the sport, and I think that's why NASCAR is so good. We know how to bridge that gap between the fans and drivers and teams. Las Vegas is definitely has definitely taken it a step further. It's first class."
DO YOU KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEKEND? "No, we tested here, but we tested on a different tire. I think right now nobody knows what to expect. We know the Goodyear tire is very hard and teams are talking about scuffing and things like that. Right now we don't know. We know it's going to be a pit strategy race. With the 13-gallon fuel cell, pretty much every time there's a caution you're going to be coming down pit road, we know for gas. Then you've got to make up your mind if it's two tires, no tires. I don't think you're going to see many four-tire changes, but we'll see. Crew chiefs have got their work cut out for them on Sunday."
COMMENT ON THE TRACK SURFACE "There were a lot of bumps here in testing, especially over in one and two. We actually had to change our setup around a little bit for the bumps. With this different tire we don't know if it's going to enhance the bumps or make them go away a little bit. There are a lot of questions to be answered here once we get into practice. We're learning some things right now off our Busch car with Kasey. There are some bumps here. Is it enough to keep a guy from winning the race or not winning the race? No, it's just going to give it a little bit of its own character."
COMMENT ON QUALIFYING "Qualifying is going to be fast. With this much banking, it reminds me of Texas the first time we went there. You're not going to be off the gas that much. Qualifying is going to be fun. I think a late draw is definitely going to help. It's kind of warm and slippery today in Las Vegas. You go out later you're definitely going to have a bit of an advantage. I think qualifying is very important because of the pit stall. With pitting every time there's a caution, there's going to be a lot of cars on the lead lap and a lot of people on pit road at one time. The way pit road is curved now, the new pit road at Las Vegas, it could make it very treacherous on us drivers trying to see cars coming in and out of the pit box. You really need to have a good qualifying run and get your spot somewhere near turn one on the back half of the curve. Then you'll be fine."
ARE YOU GLAD TO HAVE RAY OFF YOUR PIT BOX? "No, we had fun for a couple of races. I'm glad to see him back involved with all the team, and I'm glad to have Josh (team director Browne) back. The team is back to normal. We didn't push the panic button or anything like that. We're only a few points out of the top 10. We'll put together a couple of good races in a row here at the tracks we usually run well at and we'll be fine. It'll definitely be different. We got to working so well together last year, and I've got a pretty young .team on the 19 team and they look up to Josh a lot. You lose your leader for two races, especially the first two races of the year, and you want to make a good impression and you want to put your best foot forward. You're doing it without your leader, and that makes it tough some time. I'm glad Josh is back, and I think the team is back to normal. Everybody is more relaxed this weekend because the team leader is back and we'll be fine."
COMMENT ON ATLANTA NEXT WEEK "We ran very well at Atlanta last year. Kasey has won there. We think we've got a good intermediate program. We're looking forward to that race. It's a fun racetrack. It's very slick now and you can run on the bottom, middle and top. Atlanta creates come great, great racing. There's never any disappointment in Atlanta. Some of the best, closest races we've had have come at that speedway. We always look forward to going there. We've got a lot of horsepower and our intermediate program is very well stocked at Evernham's. We should be good when we get there."
THERE'S BEEN A LOT GOING ON LATELY. WILL IT BE A RELIEF TO GET BACK INTO A ROUTINE? "To start off the season we've had a lot of new things going on in the sport, and I think that's a good thing for our sport, bringing new things to talk about. It has been tough the last couple of weeks. It seems like we've been in a race car a lot. Goodyear keeps trying to change the tire a little bit to make it safer for the drivers. That's twice as much work for the drivers and twice as much work for the teams to get prepared for it. I think everybody is looking forward to the week between Vegas and Atlanta. It's just a normal week, no testing, we get back to the east coast, we get a couple of races around home, and I think that's good for all of us. It's a tough stretch. You're in Daytona for two weeks. You come out to California, get a week off and then come back out to Vegas. It's tough on these guys, but you get all of the traveling out of the way early. We'll get back to a normal steady race each and every Sunday back on the east coast makes it a lot more fun not having to be away from home."
COMMENT ON THE APPEAL "I honestly thought we were going to win it. That's why we did it. We thought we had a legitimate argument. We gave it our best shot. It wasn't meant to be. We're not going to hold our heads down about it. Like I told Ray, we gave it our best shot, don't worry about it. We've got plenty of races left to make up 25 points. I thought we were going to be OK because not many people had lost point pre-qualifying inspection. There were still a lot of cars down there, like the 31 and stuff, that had stuff they ran before qualifying and they didn't take points away. We felt like we were in good position, but it didn't work out. We understand their point of view. There's no problem. We're back to square one this weekend in Las Vegas and we'll be fine."
HOW ABOUT MARCH MADNESS? "I'm watching a game right now if ya'll could hurry up. I'm a huge basketball fan, March Madness fan. How about all the overtime games they had yesterday? I was going crazy in my room watching them all day. My boys (North Carolina Tar Heels) are playing right now. They were beating Florida State by 18 when I came out here to talk to ya'll. Hopefully it's still going well. I love it. I can't wait until they start the big tournament next week. I'm looking forward to watching everybody play. It doesn't get any better to me than college athletics, especially March Madness. Hopefully they (Tar Heels) can win the ACC and they're the No. 1 seed. I was at the game last week with Duke and Carolina. I'm kinda pulling for (Tyler) Hansbrough to have a good tournament and hopefully they play good."
COMMENT ON MONTOYA'S MOVE TO WIN THE BUSCH RACE LAST WEEK "I didn't watch it. I was at the basketball game. I saw highlights of it. He went for the win and he got into his teammate. Everybody raced differently. That's between him and Scott and Chip Ganassi. I'm not going to get into it. All I know is I'd better not spin Kasey Kahne out with five laps to go or Scott Riggs or I'm going to be in trouble with Ray. Maybe we just have different rules than other guys. It was great racing. For his team to come back from the fueling problems they had and win the race shows how good he is on a road course and how good his team was. As far as the wreck was concerned, I think that should be left up to him and Scott. They were the ones in the cars at that time. Everybody can play armchair quarterback on Monday. That's a very easy thing to do, but it's very different when you're in that seat and it's the end of the race and it's go time."
WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CHANGED TIRES AFTER TESTING? "We had some tire problems here during the test as far as right front problems. We were going so fast. I think the track was a lot faster than they thought it was going to be. Goodyear wanted to be safe and they had to change the left side and take some grip away. I think they had to use some precautions. That's why we're going to the 13-gallon fuel cell. I think they want to make it safe and not worry about a driver having right front tire problems. Hopefully they've helped it."
YOU WERE FASTEST IN TESTING "Yeah, it's discouraging to me. We were the fastest car here testing and we were great on long runs and were great in qualifying trim. We're pretty much going to have to run a different setup because of the tire. It's discouraging, and I hate it for the car owners who spend so much money coming out here testing. Then really you can't use anything you learn, but you've got to look at it from the safety standpoint, too. Nobody realized how fast this racetrack was going to be when we got out here for the test. They're just taking away some lateral grip with the left-side tire. It should slow us down a little bit when we have to corner a little slower. You take a little bit of heat off the right front tire. That should make it last longer."
-credit: dodge motorsports