ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) COMMENT ON JOINING EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS "I've had a stressful month and a half, two months just getting everything done the right way. That's something I keep close to my heart, making...
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
COMMENT ON JOINING EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS "I've had a stressful month and a half, two months just getting everything done the right way. That's something I keep close to my heart, making sure we do things the right way. Whether it was leaving where we were leaving or coming to Ray and Evernham Motorsports. Those guys have been helpful of getting me fitted in here. We tested this week and everything went good. I'm ready to start a new chapter in my life. I think it's going to be a really good weekend here at Michigan."
WHAT IS YOUR LIST OF GOALS FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON? "I want to get this car back in the top 35 in points. I think that's going to be very important for the next couple of races and for next season. That's my No. 1 goal. To try to get these guys back competitive, I know Ray has put a lot of effort in this team to get it back where it should be. We're pretty much coming to the track like the 9 and 10 and trying to make all three teams the same and let each driver and team director work it out and do what I can as a teammate, too, to help Kasey Kahne make The Chase. I know that's very important for this company. Those are my goals, but the first goal is to make this race here at Michigan, qualify good and get everybody's spirits up and go run a good race on Sunday."
DO YOU KNOW YOUR NEW TEAMMATES? "I've been friends with Kasey for awhile, the last year or two. This is a great guy, a fun-loving guy, and we hit it off. Scott Riggs and I used to race against each other in the mid-90s at South Boston and Orange County. I've known him for 10 years now. Scott has run well for a first-year team, very competitive and he's run good here the last few months. You think about that as a driver. He has the same background I've got, and if he's running good in that equipment, I kinda know his driving style, I should come over here and be pretty good, too. That kinda was all part of the decision coming to Evernham Motorsports. Everyone has been great, and the Charger was fast on Wednesday (at Kentucky Speedway test). We'll see how it all works out."
WHAT DOES THE NEW GUY DO TO IMPRESS THE TEAM? "They have over 200 guys in their shop. To go around and meet everybody was fun. I saw a lot of faces I'd seen in the garage before. Sit in the seats and get fitted up for me. I'm a little different size than Jeremy was. Just meet and greet everybody, learn everybody's language. My crew chief's from New Jersey, and I'm from southern Virginia, so we had to sit and talk a little bit and talk about things. Just getting a direction of where they're headed as a team, where they're mindset is when they unload on Friday mornings. They wanted to know the things I like and dislike in racecars. It was pretty much like a study hall or class on Tuesday and then we put everything together on Wednesday by going to the racetrack. We went to Kentucky and shook ouldthe car down. I'd never been in a Dodge before, so I wanted to scope it out and give them some input so when we got here this morning we could just unload and go on the racetrack and not mess with any of it."
WHAT'S IT BEEN LIKE GOING THROUGH ALL THE CHANGES THIS YEAR? "This has by far been the toughest year of my life. When we got to Daytona we ran so well we really had high hopes. We just never could get things going. It seemed like every week we got knocked back down the ladder. We were just never as competitive as we should have been. It was just a very tough season. It came to a point where Robert and I were disagreeing on which way we think the sport is going. Nothing personal, nothing at all. We're still great friends. We had some great talks this week even after I left. It was just a difference of opinion, that's it. I wish those guys all the luck. I've got a lot of great friends still on that race team, but I want to come over here. I really believe in which way this team is going. I really believe in the effort Ray and his guys put forth on his three teams. I like the way they're all in the same shops and everybody gets the same equipment. I really believe in the direction these teams are going. That's why I think I should come here and get an idea of how these three teams work this year so when we get to Daytona next year we'll be ready to go."
ANY ADDED PRESSURE HERE SINCE MAYFIELD IS THE DEFENDING CHAMPION? "No, I want to win every race I go to. It's not any added pressure to me. I was a little nervous last night for the first time, and I've been doing this for 20 something years. Last night I was a little nervous and probably not sleeping as well as I should have. I want to make a good impression. I want to do a good job for all the Dodge Dealers and the UAW. I know we have a lot of people coming to support us. I want to do a good job. I want to be a good employee and a good driver for these guys."
DO YOU THINK YOU LEFT RYR ON A GOOD NOTE? "I think so. Doug Yates came to my bus last week at Watkins Glen, and we had a great heart-to-heart talk. Tears and everything were involved. Those guys want to get started on their future because they have a young driver at hand, a young, talented driver. By doing that, it was giving me an opportunity to come and start on my future. It was great for both teams. I think Doug and Robert knew from the beginning when we announced we were leaving each other that I was going to do whatever I had to do as a part of their race team. If they wanted me to stay, I wanted to stay and help. If they needed me to leave, that's what I was going to do. I was committed to those guys as long as they wanted me there, so when Doug came to talk last week and it was pretty much a mutual decision. We feel like this was the best decision for everybody. Let bygones be bygones and let their team move ahead and let me move ahead and I think it's going to work out great for both of us."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO RAY ABOUT JEREMY? "No, it hasn't been a concern for me. I haven't read a lot of the stuff that's been going on. I've been trying to stay away from it. Ray has been very patient. From the first day we talked I told him I was going to do things right. Period. I owe that to Robert and Doug and everybody in the Yates' family. He has been unbelievable, working with me, working with the guys, making sure we have stuff ready for next year. He's been great to talk to. All we've talked about, I think it's the crew chief coming out in him, is what I like in the cars, what I like in the bodies, do I like it this way or do I like it that way. We pretty much didn't talk about any contract stuff, anything that's gone wrong in the past. We all want to put that behind us and get a fresh start here at Michigan. All the talking we've done has been about performance and does Elliott Sadler want to go fast in a race car."
WHAT'S GOING TO BE YOUR MOST DIFFICULT LEARNING CURVE? "Every race team does everything a little different. I come from a team that I'd been with for three and a half years, so I've got to switch my mentality around a little bit. I've got to learn the new faces the new people and learn what different teams do. I think that's going to be my biggest learning curve. Sometimes you get in a rut and you're doing things the same each and every weekend. Now you've got to change things around in mid-season and do it in stride. It's going to be hard, but I'm up for the challenge. These guys have been amazing to work with so far. I've been pleasantly surprised how much fun it's been on the transition and easy these guys have made it for us."
-credit: dodge motorsports