ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) CAN YOU GIVE AN UPDATE ON YOUR CREW CHIEF SITUATION? "We went ahead as a company and are trying to kind of line our teams up now to get ready for next year, so we brought Rodney Childers...
ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
CAN YOU GIVE AN UPDATE ON YOUR CREW CHIEF SITUATION? "We went ahead as a company and are trying to kind of line our teams up now to get ready for next year, so we brought Rodney Childers over from the No. 10. He is going to be my team director for the last three races and kind of give us a chance to work with each other. I think there is a big difference in working with someone than speculating over the winter how you are going to work together starting at Daytona. It's a lot easier to work together at a test, like a Kentucky or whatever, because you've got computers and you can sit there and analyze all the data that goes on in a race car. It's a lot harder to do it at the racetrack where you've got to work off strictly communication, so Ray (Evernham) and Sammy (Johns) and the guys decided to put our team together for now, work really hard for these last three races, and learn as much as we can about each other and go from there."
IS IT TRUE THAT RAY EVERNHAM IS GOING TO BE A TEAM DIRECTOR AT PHOENIX? "I don't know if he is or not. I know he is not going to do the stuff for the No. 19 car. I don't know if he is going to sit on the No. 10 box to help Mike (Shiplett) out or what, so I am not sure how that is going to work out. He might be sitting up there just for guidance, but I think that Shiplett is going to come on and do a great job for that team. He's been doing an amazing job for the Busch program this year, so I think he is probably going to let him learn on his own and do a good job and maybe sit there for some guidance."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS AS AN ORGANIZATION SINCE THE GILLETTS CAME ON BOARD AND RAY EVERNHAM HAS BEEN FREED UP TO WORK ON PERFORMANCE? "All of us have been running a lot better the last two months than we have all season long, so we feel pretty excited about our chances at the end of the season and as we move into next year. Our COT program has just improved by leaps and bounds from where we first started the season at, so it makes us excited about going to Phoenix. It makes us excited about going to the Daytona 500 as well as we all ran at Talladega. We feel good about our stuff. We were behind, but everybody dug in deep, put a lot of extra hours in at the shop. It is very hard to play catch up in this sport. I mean it really is. I am very proud of my guys for doing that. We've been beaten down pretty bad this year with the finishes and the stuff that we had going against us, but the guys have made some great improvements and we feel pretty good about our chances going into Daytona next year. We feel like we are going to have some really good cars for all of Speedweeks and we'll just build on it from there."
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR NEXT YEAR? DO YOU THINK THAT YOU HAVE A CHANCE AT PUTTING MULTIPLE CARS IN THE CHASE? "I think so. That's why I came to Evernham. I wanted to be a part of the Chase. I've done it before and just missed it one other time another year. I think we can get it done. I feel like my team right now, with the people we have in place with Rodney, Kevin (Kidd, team engineer) and all the guys, we have a good enough and strong enough team to do that. We've got to do a lot of homework this winter. We've got to make sure that when we get to Daytona that we have all the front end stuff, all the COT package, everything we need to be competitive because right out of Daytona is California, Las Vegas and Atlanta - a lot of great fast racetracks. We feel like we had a decent test in Atlanta with the COT. We felt like we learned some things and you know we'll see. Kasey (Kahne) and I are working very well together right now and we are sharing a lot of information. We've got to do that all winter long and get ready for next season, but we are definitely going into next season thinking we can make the Chase."
DEFINE GETTING BEHIND AND HOW FAR BEHIND YOU WERE? "I think in this sport that everything is magnified so much. The competition level right now is so great and there is so much parity in this sport. Every team has a lot of money. Every team has a lot of engineers. Every team now has plenty of resources to make their teams run very well. So it you get a little behind, it shows up a bunch on the racetrack. Seeing as how we race every single week, 38 weekends a year, it's not like you get a half time. It's not like you get a two month break to go test and work on things. It seems like as soon as you leave the racetrack on Monday you've got to go test on Tuesday and then you are back at the racetrack again on Thursday. There is a lot of extra hours that you've got to spend at the racetrack testing, cutting up things and there are only so many hours in a day. There's only so much day light. We did fall behind. We fell behind a lot and it definitely showed on the racetrack, but we've closed that gap. Are we there yet? No. No we're not. We have not got to the caliber where Hendrick and Gibbs have their COT programs. We learned that at Atlanta. We definitely shortened up the gap a little bit and gave us something to work on."
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT BEST BUY? "You know what's cool about this time of season is I've already filmed four commercials for next season. Four commercials. Two of them you guys will probably know about. Two of them you have no idea that is going to happen. It's cool that I've already gotten to do that and I already kind of know what's going on for next year. Can I talk about it? No, I can not, because it's not my place and it's not my time. This time of the season you are always doing stuff for the upcoming season. I've already filmed some commercials. I've already done some photo shoots. I feel like I look good and I look sexy in some of my uniforms that I have, but I just can't tell you now. It's not that I want to lie to you guys, you know I just can't tell you what's on the uniform. I think some are going to surprise you that I haven't heard any of you guys talk about, so I think it'll be pretty funny when it comes out."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT BRUTON SMITH BUYING NEW HAMPSHIRE? "I think it's great! I think it's amazing! Every track that he owns he promotes the sport so well, and they promote what is going on around the sport so well. I am just taking a wild guess here, but my opinion is Texas will be moved in maybe 2009 or 2010. Texas will be the first race in the Chase to get it off of hunting season. Eddie Gossage has to compete with the first weekend of hunting season. And then we'll move Vegas to this week, because this is when the SEMA show and all that's in Vegas. So, why wouldn't you want to go out there with all the fans when all the motor heads are already in Vegas? So, that is just a wild guess of mine. I honestly think Bruton will make some changes in New Hampshire to make it a better racetrack. He'll add some banking or put in a figure eight course. He'll do something. He always does. I think it's great for our sport and it shows how strong our sport is. Bruton does a great job promoting our sport, promoting the drivers, promoting sponsors, and I think the fans of New England will be happy that he did it."
WAS IT HARD FOR YOU TO BE PATIENT AS RAY EVERNHAM FELL BEHIND? WAS IT HARD NOT TO GET UPSET ABOUT IT AND NOT LOOK ELSEWHERE? "You can't get upset about it because it's my team too. I've got to put my two cents in and do the best I can to keep my team up to par. We all fell behind as a team. Were we mad at each other? No. Were we frustrated? Yeah. A lot of frustration came through this year. Sometimes you don't know how high you can go until you figure out how low you can go. Its cool working on a team that, yes, we were frustrated and yes we struggled, but we are going to get through this together. We're going to keep working hard. It's not like we are throwing our hands up in the air saying oh well. We're going to be okay. We're going to come back."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WORKING WITH PATRICK CARPENTIER STARTING NEXT WEEKEND AT PHOENIX? "Well, I can't understand much of what Patrick says. No, I think he ran very well at the COT test in Atlanta. He is a very nice guy and he's got a lot to learn. Kasey and I are going to try and help him as much as we can. I love the way that he explains stuff. I can't do his accent right now on cue, but I'll get better at it and maybe try and get it at Phoenix. I look forward to helping him. They're putting some good guys around him so we'll see. I think there is going to be a learning curve. We just have to do our job as teammates and as teams to try and help the No. 10 out as much as we can each and every week, because the first five or six races next year are going to be tough on everybody."
IF YOU COULD GIVE HIM ONE PIECE OF ADVICE HEADING INTO HIS FIRST COUPLE RACES AND INTO NEXT YEAR WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE HIM? "Oh man, just get a lot of track time. I have a feeling he is going to be doing a lot of testing this winter and just getting used to these cars and these tires. I was talking to Dario Franchitti yesterday on pit road before Busch qualifying and I mean it's just a different animal. These are heavy cars. These Goodyear radials are hard to figure out. Just before you know it you are pretty much spun out. I think once you get used to these tires and what they want and how fast you can go on stickers and stuff like that, then you are going to be in pretty good shape."
-credit: dodge motorsports