Martinsville: Sadler, Kahne - Dodge Friday interview

ELLIOTT SADLER (No 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger) COMMENT ON COT "It's just a lot harder to drive. It's going to be harder to race side by side with the COT. It's a lot more aero dependent than the car of yesterday. We found that out ...

ELLIOTT SADLER (No 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)

COMMENT ON COT "It's just a lot harder to drive. It's going to be harder to race side by side with the COT. It's a lot more aero dependent than the car of yesterday. We found that out at Bristol and we were surprised that the aerodynamics played a big part in it. We'll keep working on it. I know we'll keep learning something new about the COT every time we race it. What we learned from Bristol is that it's a lot more aero dependent than we thought it was going to be."

HAS THE COT BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? "I think it's the most challenging thing I've been involved with in nine years because you're driving two different race cars. It's hard enough to go to the race track every week and adapt to the race track and try to be fast and compete against some of the other great race car drivers. Now trying to do it with two different race cars that you've got to have two completely different setups in, when we leave here at Martinsville we've got to pretty much forget about what happened all weekend and focus on Texas because it'll be a different animal when we get down there with all the cars. It's not only hard for the driver. It's hard for the engineers and crew chiefs and everybody involved. It's been a very tough season so far for everybody."

IS MARTINSVILLE A RHYTHM TRACK? "This is a momentum track, a rhythm track, a lot like Bristol. A lot of the short tracks are. You find a spot on the side of the wall, whether it be in turn one or turn three, and you make sure you focus on that same spot every time so you use the same amount of brakes every time. Hopefully you can get back on the gas at the same spot every time. You get a good rhythm going and get focused and get zoned in. Some drivers are better than others here at Martinsville doing that, but if you can find those points and get your car working around them you're going to have a pretty good day. A lot of racetracks now have writing on the walls and they have all kind of Nextel stuff. I know at Bristol it's the black Nextel painting going into turn one and turn three. At Martinsville it's the red stripes on the wall. I'll sometimes try to lift around them. The car of tomorrow is probably going to use somewhat different spots because it's a lot harder to slow these cars down than it is our regular car. Hopefully I can find some and do my job as a driver and get in the groove. It'll probably take two or three laps to find out where I need to be at. If you're in the top five you're usually in an open racetrack here. You can usually run some good lap times during the race and save your brakes. You're going to use your stuff up in traffic a little more, but you can work around it."

COMMENT ON EXHAUST PIPES "I think NASCAR implemented a way we should run our exhaust pipes on our COTs. I know we were having problems with them, but we did a lot of testing with them. They were cracking a lot. We actually at Bristol ran heavy weights. We wanted to make sure the performance of the engine would not crack. None of the three Evernham drivers had any extra problems because we went the extra step to make them a lot heavier to make sure they wouldn't crack, but that came from a lot of testing and observation over the winter. We did a lot of testing to make sure we got this COT as good as we could before we got to the racetrack."

WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING AT MARTINSVILLE? "Until we race around each other a bunch and see what these splitters do and see how these cars react, we're going to be scared of a lot of things I think. We're not really going to know how the car is going to react to the wing tab knocked off or the splitter tab is knocked off until we have to experience it. We're worried about it. I think all drivers are kinda curious of it. I think it happened a few times at Bristol last week. Martinsville is a lot tighter racing. I'm sure we'll find out this weekend whether the splitter can do that or not. I'll be ready to go back to the other car at Texas. I don't want to run these on a big track yet until we get all the aerodynamics figured out and figure out what it wants. It's a little bit better trying to get a car working at Bristol and Martinsville than it is a brand new car working at Texas or Atlanta or a place that's very, very fast where you're running over 200 mph. Let's work out the kinks on these shorter tracks and figure out what we want as a race team before we go to a big track like that."

ADDITIONAL COMMENT ON AERO PUSH IN COT "These cars are so much wider in the back and so much taller. They're creating a bigger hole in the air than we're used to. It's definitely caused some aero push, but it's like that for everybody. As a driver you've got to work around it and make the most of it. We've never had that at Bristol, so we'll see what it does here. I think the big telltale will be Phoenix. It's faster there and flat and we'll see what the aero push is like there. It might be good. We'll see. "


KASEY KAHNE (No 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger)

COMMENT ON CUT TIRE AT BRISTOL "It had a hole in the center of it and the splitter is what cut it, so it was a bad situation. Too bad that happened. It wouldn't be good if splitters were cutting tires at bigger tracks where you can have big wrecks and hit a lot harder and that kind of stuff. Flat tires are going to be a concern. There are going to be a lot of concerns here and everywhere we go if splitters are cutting tires. We need to look at that and make sure that is not an issue."

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE COT? "I think it's a racecar we're going to race. You have to like it. You have to learn to like it. Whether you do or don't it's what NASCAR wants and it's what we're going to learn to race. Driving the car from a driver's standpoint, it feels like we took10 years back and started over. It drives nowhere near the car we have today. Things aren't as quick. Everything is a lot slower the way the steering works, the way the car reacts. Just everything is way slower and it feels like you've stepped back 10 or 15 years. That's how it would have been back then. Every year things work better and better and we just went backwards. If it creates better racing, great. I'm a big fan of better racing. That's what I want to see. If it doesn't create better racing I don't know why we're going back in time."

COMMENT ON THE START OF YOUR SEASON "It's easy to get down on it and think about it and wonder why and try to figure out how to go faster. That's not going to do any good. I feel like we've had good cars pretty much every week. We haven't had winning cars, but we've had good cars every week but we don't have many good results. I'm happy our team is still good. Everybody is working good together. We just need to put the finishes together. It's been pretty easy to deal with. I've actually had a good first part of the season. I feel good about things. We haven't had any good finishes or results or points, but everything else has gone really well and I feel good about where we're at."

DOES IT MATTER THAT SOME CRITICS HAVE WRITTEN YOU OFF? "It doesn't upset me. I'd write me off, too. We haven't performed yet. We haven't had a good finish yet. If it keeps rolling then we're going to be like that all year. I personally don't feel like it will. I think it will turn around any time. We haven't had any good luck. There's been mistakes, but we haven't had any good luck, either. If we get things to fall our way and don't make any mistakes we'll be right back where we were last year, winning races."

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO SUNDAY AT MARTINSVILLE? "Race hard. We've got to keep the car under us and make good decisions and see what we've got. It's going to be interesting to see how this car performs on this race track and what happens when rubber gets on it and the race goes on and what the brakes do. There are a lot of unknowns that we'll find out. Hopefully we'll take care of everything throughout the race and get a solid top 10."

DO YOU THINK IT'LL BE TOUGH TO GO BACK TO THE OTHER CAR AT TEXAS? "Probably not. It'll probably be exciting, pretty nice to get back in a 2007 model. I think it'll be pretty exciting."

DID YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH FUMES IN THE CAR LAST WEEK? "I didn't have any problems, but I heard about it from a lot of people. I've had fumes in the car before, and I don't get headaches or anything like that. I grew up with no headaches and I still don't get 'em.

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup