Phoenix: Sadler - Dodge Friday interview

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Avenger) COMMENT ON DRIVING FOR RAY EVERNHAM "Ray is fun to drive for. He's got a lot of intensity. He puts his heart and soul into this company every week and demands a lot out of his drivers and...

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

COMMENT ON DRIVING FOR RAY EVERNHAM "Ray is fun to drive for. He's got a lot of intensity. He puts his heart and soul into this company every week and demands a lot out of his drivers and the guys that work for him, and it's been fun. I've thoroughly enjoyed it so far. We have not gotten off to the great start we wanted to this year, but we're not out of it by any means. We're only like 20 points out of 12th. To go what we've gone through and be only that far out, we're calling that a blessing. We feel like we've got a little bit to learn, but we've got 18 races to get to The Chase and that was our main goal starting the season."

DID YOU SPEND A LOT OF TIME MONDAY TRYING TO CONTACT FRIENDS AND FAMILY IN VIRGINIA? "I was on the west coast, here, second and third-hand trying to catch as much as I could from the news. I was with my mom and dad on the phone checking in as we found out people we knew were OK. My dad has a lot of employees that have kids that go to Virginia Tech and we have a lot of family and friends that we hang out with that go to Virginia Tech. My girlfriend just got a diploma from Virginia Tech. She has a lot of friends that go to that school. It was a very emotional day for us. I can't imagine what those families are going through right now. If you've ever been to Blacksburg, Va., you just don't see this happening at that place. Monday was a very, very tough day for everybody that was part of the Hokie Nation. I was calling home to get my brother to bring us some Virginia Tech stickers. Then we got the word that NASCAR was going to let everybody support Virginia Tech by letting everyone runs stickers on their cars. That's great. I'm so proud to be part of a sport that thinks outside its roots. We have a lot of great fans in that area. Bristol is always sold out and Martinsville always has a lot of great fans, Richmond does. We have a lot of great fan base in that area that comes from around the western part of Virginia. For NASCAR to put these stickers on all these Cup and Busch cars made me proud to be a Virginian. It was awesome."

DID ANYONE ON YOUR CREW GO TO SCHOOL THERE? "A lot of engineers in the garage (went to school at Virginia Tech). I know Kevin Kidd on the 10 went to Virginia Tech. We have some guys back at the shop that went to Virginia Tech. It's neat to have that many engineers come from one school that's a part of this sport."

ARE THE MARTINSVILLE SETUPS WORKING HERE FOR THE AVENGERS? "We're getting back close to our Martinsville setups, too. We're all still learning a lot about the COT. We're using last-year's notes and we're finding out they're not working. We've got to go strictly by the Martinsville race and Richmond test session. We're using a little bit of each, but the Martinsville setup seems to be working better for us, too. We're just kinda shooting in the dark everywhere we go for the first time with the COT. We've just got to take a pretty good guess at it, use what we know, which is really only Martinsville and Richmond because Bristol really doesn't correlate with anything else, and go from there. We'll see. We've still got a lot of learning to do today. I think everyone is eager to see what the track will do today when it gets more rubber on it and we'll go from there."

COMMENT ON NEXT WEEK AT TALLADEGA "Talladega and I don't get along too well when we go there. It's going to be a tough race. It's just Talladega, no matter how fast you are or no matter who you surround yourself with as far as guys you like to race with or guys you don't want to race with. The big one can happen. We ran very well in the 19 car there last fall. We finished sixth at Daytona. If we could go down there and get a top 10, we should be in good shape. We just want to miss the wreck. It's gonna happen. It's just part of the racing gods at a restrictor-plate race like that, but we'll go down there and do the best we can."

COMMENT ON THE KYLE BUSCH SITUATION LAST WEEK AT TEXAS "I don't know all about what happened or about the missed communication or what happened, so I really can't comment on it a lot. I did talk to Kyle Busch after the Busch test last night and asked him what happened. I think he hit the wall pretty hard twice that weekend and he thought maybe it was over with and he surely didn't want to hit it a third time, so you can't blame Kyle Busch for that. They gained three points out of it. I don't see the big deal about it. I think everybody is making a mountain out of a molehill. I've driven cars for other people before a couple of different times when they were sick or not feeling good or what have you. People used to do it all the time. I don't understand the big deal out of it. I think people are just trying to sell stories or write about something because maybe they don't have anything else to write about coming out of Texas. I don't know. I just think some people are being really stupid about it. I don't think it's that big of a deal. Drivers try to help drivers all the time. I just think that was a case if there was miscommunication on Kyle and Alan and Kyle left, they asked Dale Jr. to drive it, why not? Pigeon, the jackman for the 5, has got a lot of good friends in this garage and if he had come asked me to do it, why not?"


turns three and four as Jeff's. I didn't qualify as good. I really don't know how to comment on that. You want your car to be good everywhere, one, two, three and four. I gave up a little bit in three and four compared to those guys, but we went a lot earlier, too."

COMMENT ON THE COT AT PHOENIX "I think aero is the problem we're going to find as far as the aero push and things like that. I think that's the biggest issue and the biggest unknown we've got going into tomorrow night."

COMMENT ON THE FEEL OF THE COT "The first lap I made on it at Rockingham, I came in and say 'guys, it felt like the center of gravity is just higher.' It felt like going out of a sports car to a conversion fan. It moves around a little more. It feels a little heavier, a lot harder to manhandle, things like that. As a driver I've got to give them the right information, too. Am I giving them what the COT wants? This weekend I'll give you a perfect example. I'm driving the Busch car and the COT. I'm trying to keep them separated as much as I can because I think they're two different animals. The Busch car, we need this to make it run. The COT, we need that. As a driver I've got to make sure I'm giving them the right information. What is the COT really telling me? Is it telling me what I think it's telling me? I've really got to try to forget what my Cup car did last week at Texas. It might not want that I've got to build a data bank as a driver for just the COT and make sure I give them the right information. It's their job to build a bank for the COT as far as information, engineering, the results. It's just a different animal. We don't know what direction to go in right now. We know Gibbs and Hendrick have really hit on it. Everybody else is kind of hit and miss after the first two races. We're still trying different things. We came here to Phoenix a lot different than the 9 and 10. We need to try new things to see if we can shorten this learning process up a little bit. The first thing Josh (Team Director Browne) told me when we unloaded here at Phoenix. "Well, we're here for a test session here at Phoenix this weekend because we're trying something totally different than what we ran at Martinsville and Richmond.' We're trying a whole new front end package, something a little bit different to see if we can hit on something a little bit before we get into the next couple of months. We have a lot of COT races coming up and we didn't want to wait until the end of it to try it. We wanted to come out of the gates the first four or five races and try some different things and hope we hit on it."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Busch