Talladega: Ford _ Sadler press conference

ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 3rd) "I had a great race car all day. We had some problems and got in a wreck or two and beat up the front end a little bit. We had some overheating problems, but, man, we had some great calls in...

ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus (Finished 3rd)

"I had a great race car all day. We had some problems and got in a wreck or two and beat up the front end a little bit. We had some overheating problems, but, man, we had some great calls in the pits again. I am so proud of Raymond (Fox). He's not acting like a first-year crew chief at all. He's making some great, smart decisions giving us track position every week and they just built me a great race car. I learned a very important lesson today, I stayed wherever that 8 went at the end. I knew he was going to the front. When I pushed him by everybody on the backstretch, both of us had so much momentum that he pulled me right into second. Kevin got by us and we ended up third, but I'm really proud of my guys. That's a brand new car. It's never seen a race track until this weekend and to finish third with it is great."

THAT LOOKED PRETTY NERVEWRACKING ON TV. WHAT WAS IT LIKE IN THE CAR? "As far as thinking third was possible, not really - until it got seven or eight laps to go. When you looked in front, you had the four Hendrick cars and you know they're gonna work together and, of course, the 8 car was up there and a lot of team cars. We're thinking, 'Man, this is not gonna be good. We're gonna be lucky with a top 10.' Yes, it was very nerve-wracking because everybody is learning you can run three-wide here and everybody is learning that the closer you sandwich people, the more momentum you're gonna give yourself and slow theirs down. It was pretty nerve-wracking the last few laps, but everybody used their head and drove safe. I'm just glad we ended up where we did. We feel very fortunate."

WHAT ABOUT JUNIOR'S PASS AT THE END? "I was so far up his spoiler that I couldn't see where we were at. Sometimes you get so close to the cars in front of you that you're just following them. You hope they're on the track because you're gonna turn with them. All I could really see was his windshield. I was pushing him as hard as I could push him because I wanted to go too and we had so much momentum we went into first and second. If I was below the yellow line, we must have been fine when we got back because we didn't get in the apron or anything. If he was, I don't know. I hadn't seen it either. I'm like Kevin (Harvick), I'm not worried about that right now. We're just happy with the finish we got and we'll leave the decisions like that to somebody else."

AFTER THE RACE A FEW DRIVERS SAID THIS WAS FUN AND INTENSE RACE COMPARED TO THE LAST COUPLE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT? "Well, it's probably fun for both of us because we finished second and third, I guess. Yeah, I think it was very intense, especially at the end running three-wide and people really crowding each other trying to get air off each other's cars onto other people's spoilers. I probably ran closer today in the middle than I had in a long time in the draft, but the guys used their heads. That's why we're professionals. You can get that close without causing a big wreck. I saw a few doughnuts put in each other's side, but that's all part of NASCAR Winston Cup racing. So, to me, it was a pretty intense race."

DID YOU STICK WITH JUNIOR BECAUSE HE HAD THE BEST CAR OR DID THE BEST JOB OF DRIVING? "I think because he's won the last three races in a row, so if you stick close to him you know you're gonna be somewhere near the front. I think when I got to him we were like seventh and eighth and I just stayed with him wherever he went. I think the finishing move down the backstretch, Kevin was pushing me on the bottom and I was pushing Junior. We pushed him by whoever was leading at the time to put all three of us in a position to win the race. Everytime you come down here you know that car is gonna be somewhere near the front, so if you stay close to it or try to push as much as you can, you feel like you're gonna give yourself a chance to win when it comes down to the end of the race."

DID IT APPEAR JUNIOR WOULD HAVE HAD A CRASH WITH KENSETH IF HE HAD NOT TRIED TO GO BELOW THE YELLOW LINE? "First of all, I'm like Kevin, I have not seen a tape or anything of the race so I don't know where he was or not. I think Dale, Jr. is a smart enough person because when you hit here, you hit pretty hard. If you think you're gonna either cause a wreck or make a good pass, I think you'd rather choose to make a good pass. As far as commenting on the yellow line deal, I haven't seen the tape so I can't comment on that. I was too close to him. I know it sounds weird, but all I could see was his hand waving and his rear-view mirror. That's all I could see."

DO YOU KNOW IF THEY WERE CLOSE AT ALL? "I know this sounds stupid, but when you're so close to the car in front of you all you can really see is the back windshield. I know it's hard to explain, but when you're pushing people you're not looking around - you're trying to look kind of through his windshield also. At the end of a run that gets all dirty too. When you're pushing somebody, you really can't see that far."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup