FORT WORTH, Tex. It took three years for Elliott Sadler to back up his first win on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series with a close victory over Kasey Kahne last Sunday at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Sadler talked about his season and his future at Robert Yates Racing.
Question: What does it mean to finally get that second win?
Sadler: 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.
Question: After you won your first race in 2001, did you think it would take three years to win again?
Sadler: 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 at 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.
Question: Todd Parrott came aboard in the last three months of the 2003 season as your crew chief. Has he brought stability?
Sadler: 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 going to 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 going to do something, it's going to 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.
Question: Robert Yates now is in charge of building engines for his two teams, plus the five teams at Roush Racing and the Wood Brothers. Do you think the partnership between Yates and Jack Roush paying off?
Sadler: I do. We had two cars on the front row at the Daytona 500. We won the Twin 125. Matt Kenseth has won a couple of races. Ask them how much they like the new motor deal. We've run good with ours. They've run good. I think it's a win-win situation. You take Robert's horsepower knowledge with Jack's fuel mileage and some other stuff he knows with intakes and stuff, it's just really worked out great for everybody.
We feel like if we want to go to the 17 or the 97 or the 16 or whatever and ask them questions about gears or fuel mileage, everybody is shooting each other straight. It was a great decision on their part and Ford's part to put us all together because we needed to do that. That's the direction Dodge has been working in. That's the direction Toyota is going to work in when they get here, so to give us a few years of practice and knowledge before that happens was a great, great decision on everybody's part.
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