This is getting to be familiar territory for Elliott Sadler. For the second time in two months, the driver for the ...
This is getting to be familiar territory for Elliott Sadler. For the second time in two months, the driver for the #38 Ford paced Nextel Cup Happy Hour at Michigan International Speedway.
Sadler's third lap speed of 187.539 miles per hour was the fastest time three practice sessions at MIS this weekend. He bested the Dodges of Kasey Kahne and Rusty Wallace by a little less than 1/10th of a second.
In June, Sadler and teammate Dale Jarrett had top-5 runs at MIS. The team came back to Michigan with sky-high confidence.
"We were very, very strong here in June and we're very strong again," Sadler said after Happy Hour. "It's a track that I think I can win at."
The starting grid for Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 (1:30 p.m. Eastern on TNT) was set by points after qualifying was rained out on Friday. Sadler will make his 200th career start on the outside of the third row.
"We've got a good car for tomorrow," Sadler admitted. "We've got it pretty much maxed-out. The motor's running good. We just have to have a good, uneventful day and hopefully we'll be there at the end of 400 miles."
Jarrett dropped off in Happy Hour, running the 19th fastest lap, but has four wins at MIS and challenged for the win in June.
"We just hope that we have good luck and run at the front and collect the win," said Robert Yates, who owns both teams. "Hopefully we're the best at the end of the race."
Kicking the Tires
Jeff Burton was strong in his first extended practice session with his new team. He piloted the #30 AOL Chevy for 30 laps in Happy Hour, posting the eighth fastest time of the session.
Burton left Roush Racing following last weekend's race at Watkins Glen and will make his first start for Richard Childress Racing on Sunday.
"I was real nervous coming here this weekend because there were so many unknowns," said Burton, who tested the #30 Chevy at Kentucky Motor Speedway on Wednesday. "One lap in the car and all that nervousness went away. I'm real impressed with this team. I think they have the capabilities of doing what needs to be done."
Ryan Newman has won two straight races at MIS, but struggled in practice, posting the 28th fastest lap time. Newman dropped out of the top-10 after a 26th place finish at Watkins Glen last week.
Newman, who will start 12th on Sunday, will sport a picture of Superman on the rear quarter panel of his race car in a promotion for the Justice League of America.