BUSCH: Texas II: Elliott Sadler race report

Sadler fights loose-handling car on way to 24th place finish GRAPEVINE, TX (November 3, 2007) -- Elliott Sadler was hopeful about his return to the NASCAR Busch Series. A solid run appeared to be in the cards for Sadler, a former winner at...

Sadler fights loose-handling car on way to 24th place finish

GRAPEVINE, TX (November 3, 2007) -- Elliott Sadler was hopeful about his return to the NASCAR Busch Series. A solid run appeared to be in the cards for Sadler, a former winner at Texas Motor Speedway, and his No. 9 Auto Value-Bumper to Bumper Dodge.

After clicking off the seventh-quickest lap of Friday's final practice session, Sadler plucked an early draw in Friday afternoon's qualifying session, going out tenth. His lap of 28.786 seconds would prove to be good enough for a 21st starting spot for Saturday's 300-mile race.

As soon as the green flag dropped, Sadler radioed into crew chief Mike Shiplett that his Dodge was "Loose, loose, loose," and talked about potential changes to the machine's setup for later runs.

His first chance at correcting the car's loose condition came on a caution period on lap 20. After radioing in that his car was especially loose in the center of the corners, the team's first stop was complete with four tires, fuel, and a track bar adjustment.

After re-starting 24th, the car's feel only got a smidge better as Sadler cited a loss of grip. While he made it as high as 18th position on the track, the race leaders were in the process of setting a torrid pace and eventually lapped Sadler on a long green flag run.

A round of green flag pit stops kicked off on lap 88 when Sadler pitted again for another set of Goodyear tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. After attempting to dial in the handling to Sadler's car during this round of stops, Sadler soon radioed to his crew that the adjustments didn't seem to change the car.

While 22nd in the race, Sadler began setting lap times only a tenth off of laps being run by the race leaders. He continued to wrestle a loose race car but was searching for an opportunity to earn his lap back via a caution and a free pass.

The caution flag on lap 128 didn't allow for a free pass but did create another opportunity for Sadler and his Auto Value-Bumper to Bumper team. Shiplett and Sadler decided on another air pressure adjustment and a second track bar adjustment in addition to packing the car with fuel and four tires.

Sadler's efforts for a higher finish proved unsuccessful as the race ended with his No. 9 Auto Value-Bumper to Bumper Dodge in 24th place, three laps off the pace of eventual winner Kevin Harvick.

Despite the tough day on the track, Sadler enjoyed his rare foray into the Busch Series with the Auto Value-Bumper to Bumper team:

"It was definitely a tough day for us, not at all what we expected," said Sadler. "We couldn't get this car balanced enough for one good, strong green flag run, so that was a little frustrating. Still, I'm happy to be able to come in and race this car for Auto Value-Bumper to Bumper. I'm hoping I get another shot at being behind the wheel for another one of their races and give them a little bit better finish at the end of the day."

Sadler's race-worn helmet to be auctioned in support of Charity Cars:

Elliott Sadler will auction off his race-used helmet from the NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. The proceeds from the winning bid will go directly to Auto Value-Bumper to Bumper's Charity Cars program.

Sadler's helmet, the third Gillett Evernham Motorsports helmet to be auctioned for Charity Cars, will be a special, one-of-a-kind helmet scheme designed by Ryan Young at Indocil Art. The race-worn helmet was autographed by Elliott Sadler and his teammates Scott Riggs and Kasey Kahne to later be put up for bid on eBay. All proceeds from the auction go to the Auto Value-Bumper to Bumper Charity Cars program. Log-on to ebay.com/charitycars for auction details.

The Charity Cars program receives donated cars from store customers and then allows the Auto Value-Bumper to Bumper experts to inspect and ensure that each and every car is ready for the road. The refurbished vehicles will then be presented to over 500 recipients across the nation, all of whom are victims of domestic violence.

"Auto Value-Bumper to Bumper has done such a great job with the Charity Cars program," commented Sadler. "I've seen how my teammates (Kasey Kahne and Scott Riggs) have succeeded in raising money for it and I'd like to continue the tradition."

-credit: gem

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Drivers Kevin Harvick , Scott Riggs , Elliott Sadler