Sparta, Kentucky - Fresh off his seventh top-10 finish of the 2002 season at Miami-Homestead Raceway, Elliott Sadler became acquainted with his new Robert Yates Racing NASCAR Winston Cup Team during a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway. The ...
Sparta, Kentucky - Fresh off his seventh top-10 finish of the 2002 season at Miami-Homestead Raceway, Elliott Sadler became acquainted with his new Robert Yates Racing NASCAR Winston Cup Team during a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway.
The 27-year-old Sadler, who drove the No. 21 Motorcraft Wood Bros. Racing Ford to a 23rd place finish in the 2002 series standings, began preparing to become the new teammate of 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett and the focal point for one of the youngest series teams. Sadler enters the team seat vacated by veteran driver Ricky Rudd and will drive for new sponsor M&M's Candies.
"Really, it's a whole new program for Robert Yates Racing with Elliott Sadler, M&M's, Crew Chief Raymond Fox and Shawn Parker, who has come along to help us as car chief," team owner Doug Yates said. "We've had two really good days of testing and we're real excited about next year."
He said his team also is excited about the chance to build a championship career for Sadler. "Dale Jarrett has been with us and won a championship with us, so we feel he is our steady championship contender. We're bringing Elliott along to follow in Dale's footsteps. We're really excited about working with Elliott and our future with this young race team," Yates said.
He added that recent rule changes governing the 2003 body styles have brought added importance to early-season testing. "Kentucky Speedway is a great place to test. We came here with last year's car body and now we have this new body that requires a totally different set-up. It's good that we came early to get a feel of where we're going with it."
Sadler, who conducted baseline tests with Yates in October, said his first full test session with his new team has been a beneficial learning experience. "This is my first blown-out test with them to get ready for next year and to get used to everybody. We're learning a lot. We did a lot of body stuff yesterday and all the engine guys came in today to do some testing."
After just two days on the job, he's already impressed with the team chemistry. "It's unbelievable how well this team works together, how focused they are and how good they want to be. I'm just glad to be a part of this team. I'm glad Robert and Doug have given me this chance. I'm working very well with Raymond so far, so I think things will be very bright for us this (upcoming) year," Sadler said.
He's also looking forward to driving with a teammate for the first time and plans to benefit from Jarrett's race experience. "I've never had a teammate before in Winston Cup racing. DJ and I are great friends and, from the notes we've been comparing, I think we have the same driving style. We're pretty compatible, so hopefully we can help each other out," Sadler said.
"It's pretty cool to have a good friend sharing a common goal of getting Robert Yates another Winston Cup Championship. That's what we want to do. I've told the guys that with the way we've been running here and the stuff we've been learning, there's no chance we shouldn't have a shot at the title. It's going to take a lot of hard work this winter, but we want to hit the ground running when we get to Daytona in February."
Sadler added that he's excited about building a promising future with Fox and Parker. "Raymond has worked with this team for a long time, I think it's the only place he's ever worked. He's due for his chance to become a crew chief. He's doing a great job. We're both pretty young and we brought Shawn Parker over to be the car chief. We have a lot of good young guys on this race team that are eager to win and wanting to do what it takes to run good each and every week. Hopefully we'll be together a long time and have some good success," Sadler concluded.
Kentucky Speedway opens its 2003 season May 9-10 with the ARCA RE/MAX Series "Channel 5-205." The event will again be broadcast live to the Greater Cincinnati market by title sponsor WLWT-TV 5 in Cincinnati. The race features the return of four-time series champion Frank Kimmel, who has won three of the past four series events at Kentucky Speedway.
- Kentucky Speedway -