This Week in Ford Racing September 6, 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M's Taurus, goes into this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway trailing 10th-place...
This Week in Ford Racing
September 6, 2005
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 38 M&M's Taurus, goes into this weekend's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway trailing 10th-place Jamie McMurray by 52 points for the final spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Sadler is 13th in the point standings and will also have to leapfrog Jeff Gordon (12th) and Ryan Newman (11th) in order to qualify for the second straight season. Sadler, a Virginia native, spoke about his situation on Tuesday afternoon from his hometown of Emporia.
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
HOW DO YOU APPROACH THIS WEEKEND? "I'm looking at this weekend as though we've got nothing to lose. I'm relaxed. I was relaxed at California. I feel like going to Richmond there's only one thing we can do and that's go to try and win the race. We can't really worry about the points. We can't really worry about who we're racing and who we're not racing. We just need to go up there and run the best way we can, whether it's taking chances like two tires or four tires or whatever. I feel like the pressure is not on us. I think the guys that are only one or 11 points behind or 10 points ahead of 10th place have more pressure than we have. I think that we have to go up with the mindset that we've just got to race as hard as we can and not really worry about the points."
LAST WEEK YOU SAID THAT ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS OUTRUN JEFF GORDON THE NEXT TWO WEEKS AND YOU WOULD MAKE THE CHASE. YOU OUTRAN JEFF AND RYAN NEWMAN AT CALIFORNIA BUT ACTUALLY LOST GROUND ON 10TH. HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO FEEL LIKE YOU DID WHAT YOU NEEDED TO DO BUT FELL FURTHER BEHIND? "Last week was a heartbreaker again. We had some problems with a spring rubber on pit road and had to go all the way to the rear of the field with 80 laps to go. My guys had great pit stops all night to get me back up to that point, and I thought if we stayed ahead of Ryan and Jeff and beat them by a few positions that we'd be in a lot better spot, but Matt and Jamie ran very, very well and did what they had to do. I did say that and I still think that's correct. I think if we outrun Ryan and Jeff again this weekend, maybe just try to outrun them by more spots, then we could have a good shot at it. Matt is hot and is gonna run good. Jamie usually runs good at Richmond, but we can't worry about what those guys are gonna do. We have to go up there and try to run good as best we can and if those guys have any type of problems at all, we've got to be able to capitalize on it. But I can sit here and tell you today that I could care less how any of those teams run at Richmond. We've just got to go up there and do the best we can. If we make it, great, it will be one of the best nights of my life. If we didn't make it, you know what, we did the best we could. I know my guys have given me 100 percent every weekend and they know I've given 100 percent every weekend. If we don't make it, we'll just have to move on and try to go to the next 10 races. But, as of right now, I'm just going with the mindset of being very comfortable and not worrying about the points. I know if we go up there and run good and give ourselves a chance at a top-five finish that anything can happen."
IF YOU WIN THE RACE, WITH A 10-POINT DIFFERENTIAL TO SECOND AND FIVE-POINT DIFFERENTIAL FROM THERE THROUGH SIXTH PLACE, YOU COULD ERASE THAT DEFICIT. "You just don't know. Those four guys are really tight right now with Matt and Jamie and Ryan and Jeff, and any little thing can happen between those two and we've just got to be there to capitalize on it. We've got to go up there and try to finish in the top five. If two of those guys have problems, we could end up right in there. It happened last year with Jeremy Mayfield. Those guys showed that you don't give up until the very last lap of the chase and we're not either. I think I've got a good enough pit crew and a good enough team to go up there and run good. We'll just see what happens. Nobody knows what's gonna happen. That's why we race 400 laps. Anything can happen. My team has had its fair share of bad luck the last month or so. A snake could get up and bite some of these guys in the final race, so we've got to be there to take advantage of them. But, all in all, we're going to try to run good and finish in the top five and then see what happens afterwards."
HOW DID YOUR TEST GO AT RICHMOND LAST WEEK? "I had a career weekend in Richmond in the spring. I finished second in the Busch race and seventh in the Cup car, which is the best I've ever run with either of those cars. We're taking the same two cars back. I tested there again last week, and I think we had a good test. We massaged on it a little bit and made it a little bit better, so I've got high expectations going back. I'm going home. I feel real comfortable racing at Richmond. I've got a lot of home fans that are gonna be pulling for us and rooting for us, and I can't think of a better place to try to go and make something happen. We'll see. I'm optimistic, I really am. It's theirs to lose and ours to win and that's a good position to be in."