NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Texas Moto Speedway - Winning team press conference: Elliott Sadler and Todd Parrott, Robert Yates Racing. Part 1 of 2 ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus "We had a great race car all day today. We started 19th...
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Texas Moto Speedway - Winning team press conference: Elliott Sadler and Todd Parrott, Robert Yates Racing.
Part 1 of 2
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
"We had a great race car all day today. We started 19th and easily moved up through the field. I think the tale of the tape was when the late caution happened and the 24 and I had stayed out and got great track position. It was a great call on Todd's part to stretch the fuel as much as we could. Clean air is such a very important part of running good here at Texas because it's such a fast track and it just worked out good for us. They got us a good pit stop. Due to the 24's misfortune got us out in clean air and I was coaching Dale Earnhardt, Jr. as much as I could to hold the 9 off as long as he could because I knew he would be coming and once he got around, boy, he started making up a lot of time. I was trying to hit my marks and go as fast as I can and I was just lucky enough to hold him off. I probably messed up in turns three and four more than I should. He shouldn't even have gotten beside me, but I was so focused on the 30 car because I didn't know what in the world he was doing racing the leaders like he was and I was so focused on him that I really forgot about the 9 car. I almost lost the race doing that, so that's something I'll always keep in the back of my head. I was lucky enough that Eddie Gossage and the guys had the start-finish line closer to turn four than to turn one and I was able to win."
HAS TODD ADDED STABILITY?
"Yeah, I think Todd is the cornerstone of what's making this whole operation go good. I learned so much about him last year. I'm glad we had the last 12 or 13 races to race with each other last year. I made these comments earlier in the season that he's a very demanding crew chief. He expects a lot of his driver and I didn't know how to take that last year, but over the winter we became better friends and are finishing each other's sentences more. Now I think we're communicating as well right now as we ever have, so I think we're just gonna get better and better. I believe him 100 percent. His record speaks for itself. He knows what's going on with the race car. His aerodynamic knowledge is second to none and when he tells me it's gonna do something, it's gonna do it. So when you have that kind of confidence on the other end of the radio, it makes me help me do my job that much better."
HOW DID THE CAUTIONS HELP YOU THE LAST 50 LAPS?
"It 100 percent benefited me because I wasn't thinking about the 24 as much as the 9. I thought the more caution laps we could run, the less time the 9 had to get up through the field. We knew nobody could run with him, but keep running cautions, keep running cautions. I kept looking at him and he went from eighth to seventh and stayed there through that long stretch of caution laps. I couldn't believe he got up there that quick. I looked and I was pulling away from Junior and I was trying to run the 24 and by the time I got by the 24 I looked and the 9 was already on the 8's back bumper. I went, 'Man, he's already made it this far.' But the extra caution laps definitely helped our chances of winning here today."
TODD PARROTT , Crew Chief - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE RACE?
"I thought it was a great race (laughing). It was very nerve-wracking to say the least. We had a great race car. We were really fast in practice yesterday when it all started. We made, I think, three adjustments from the time we started race practice yesterday to today. The only thing we touched all day today was air pressure. We had a great test down here and went home and worked on the car a little bit and I think we made it a little bit better. All the guys on the team did a great job. Kasey Kahne, I couldn't even tell him how fast the 9 car was coming because I couldn't stand it. I didn't know how much he had left. I didn't want him to get looking in his mirror and take his eyes off of hitting his marks, so I elected not to say anything. I let Brett (Griffin) do all the talking up in the spotter's stand and let him really concentrate on getting all of his marks and trying to win this race. The boy did a good job. I'm proud of him."
DID YOU THINK YOU COULD HOLD HIM OFF WITH 20 TO GO?
"I tell you exactly what was going through my mind at that time. With 20 laps to go I knew he was gonna catch me, but I was trying to run replays in my head of watching him and the 8 car battle and thinking he must be getting aero-tight behind the 8 car. So when he gets to me, one, hopefully he's burned his right-front off because he's running so fast and, two, I've got to do whatever I've got to do to make him aero-tight, so I was starting to go into turn one a little higher to try to take some wind off his nose and do things like that. It wasn't working too good in three and four because he was so fast there, but I didn't know. It was a 50-50 shot. I'm thinking, 'I can see him coming. I know he's coming.' I'm doing all I can do. I mean, I've got pedal to the metal - not saving anything. I didn't know at that time whether I could hold him off or not, but I was just trying to create as much of an aero-push as I could on the front of his race car. The chips fell in my direction and we were just able to pull it off there at the end."
HOW CLOSE DID SAUTER COME TO COSTING YOU THE RACE AND WHAT SHOULD HE HAVE DONE?
"He should have done like every other smart person we've got to did and pull over. There wasn't anybody within a half-a-straightaway of him - behind him or in front of him. We come off turn two and he pulls down and then he pulls right back in the groove and runs right on the bottom of three and four, which is where I had been trying to run all day long. I hadn't even run up high in three and four. I didn't know what my car was gonna do. I just had to go up there and block the 9 car like crazy. His awareness is hideous. Pardon my French, but I wish he would have left it down to me and Kasey to race and should have never been a factor here, but, hey, we all knew that going in. We race with him every week. We understand that he's gonna make a factor one way or the other in the outcome of a lot races - it started in Daytona - so we're just glad we were on the winning end. It was my fault, though. I was so focused and didn't know what he was gonna do that I forgot all about the 9 car and it almost cost me the race. Like I said before, I'm just glad the start-finish line was a little bit closer to turn four. If I would have lost I would have got mad because, actually, 334 laps is 501 miles around here and that's too long (laughter)."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET THAT SECOND WIN?
"It means a lot. I've heard from some of the other guys who were picking on me that, 'Hey, you've only won one race.' They were teasing me week-in and week-out, so to come back and win at this track is very special. To win anywhere is very special, but Texas, to me, since the first time I ever drove a Busch car around here in 1997, it's just been one of my favorite tracks to race on. The people are so polite down here. The people here that run this race track have done all the changes in the world to try to help us put on a great race for the fans and I think we've got a great race track to race at. To be able to win here is very special and the reason for that is it's one of my favorite tracks, it's a good purse, it's National Autism Awareness Month - and I think everybody that follow me know about my little niece, Hayley Drew, so I can't wait to get home and see her tomorrow night because of this.
"So it's a very special weekend for me and my family. A lot of things were lifted off my shoulders here this weekend, and we're in the all-star race. To win before we get to Charlotte, we don't have to run the heat race. So it's pretty cool to be in the all-star race, too. There are a lot of great things lifted off my shoulders here today."
DID YOU THINK IT WOULD TAKE THIS LONG?
"I wanted to step in and run this good right off the bat and we just had a very frustrating year last year with the teams getting changed around and things like that. I started looking myself in the mirror wondering if I'm doing the right things as a driver. Am I giving the right feedback? You start questioning yourself so much every night when you go to bed. It's tough. This is a tough, tough sport. It's not like stick-and-ball sports where there's one winner and one loser. I mean, you've got 42 losers every week. All 42 of us are wondering what we did wrong and what could we do better. It's already been 108 races and then a whole season with Yates without a victory was very trying, so to give M&M's their first win in 13 years in this sport is very special to me, and to see Robert Yates' smile on his face when I pulled into victory lane means more to me than anything I've ever done. It's just a great feeling to be able to give back to people that have taken a chance on you."
HOW MANY GROOVES ARE THERE NOW?
"I think each year we race here it's only gonna get better and better because the asphalt is gonna sit and it's gonna get older. It's gonna lose some of the grip that we have and that way you have to slide up some. I think even the next time we come and the next time we come this track is gonna get better and better and better. This is a very smooth surface. It's one of the smoothest race tracks we race on. Eddie and his guys have done a great, great job. I think the more we let it sit, the better it's gonna be. We'll see what happens."
DO YOU FEEL VINDICATED?
"I think it's big. To win here at Texas is a great place. It's a place Robert Yates Racing has had a lot of success at. We won here in 2001 with DJ and in 2002 we were leading the race and ran him out of gas. All the guys in the engine shop, they work really hard. Everybody has worked really hard for the last two years, but it's just good to see a smile on Robert's face. For us to be able to do the things that we're doing right now, to put a smile on his face and smiles on our faces - and our sponsor, their first win in 13 years, that's pretty huge for the Mars family. So to be able to come here and do this is something that's very, very satisfying."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONS TODAY?
"I knew we were gonna get there, it was just a matter of time. We got to victory lane in Daytona and won the 125 and raced against some great race teams and some great race car drivers. We've run well at several places this year and I knew it would just be a matter of time. Like Elliott said, our communication gets better each week. Last year, the last 12 races coming back from the whole summer - spending the summer with my kids and my mom and dad, it was pretty cool. The time off was well needed. It's a shame a lot more people can't do that. I'm just glad I was able to come back to Robert Yates Racing - a place that I love. It's a place I feel like is my home. To come back here and win with Elliott, our new driver, is very special and something that I'll remember for a long time."