Tag Archives: Elliott Sadler

Despite Recent Struggles, Optimism Runs High In Richard Petty Motorsports Camp

Matt Kenseth may have won the Daytona 500, but Richard Petty Motorsports left the Great American Race as the talk of the town. With three cars in the top 10 -- including a stellar third-place run by AJ Allmendinger -- the newly-merged team appeared ready to set the sport on its ear. But as happens often in Cup racing, you're only as good as your finish last Sunday -- and the last three races have left lots to be desired for RPM. The momentum of a promising start has melted with the reality of continued struggles at the sport's intermediate tracks. With just one top-10 finish between them at Fontana, Las Vegas and Atlanta, the four-car organization has slumped to an average finish of 22.7 during that stretch, leaving them with just Kasey Kahne positioned in the top 12 in points.

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It’s Not A Sport, It’s A Business: The Start-And-Park Phenomenon Threatening NASCAR’s Future

Beneath the surface, all was not as healthy as it seemed. While Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards were there to win the race per usual, the reasons some cars and drivers showed up were far different than what you’d want to believe as a race fan. These teams – nestled within the middle and back of NASCAR’s starting fields -- were there not to compete, but to turn a healthy profit, all while padding the sport’s bottom line in the process. For these organizations – which have comprised up to 20% of the Truck Series field in some races – their version of competition is to slowly take a qualifying lap around the racetrack, making the starting lineup in the back of the pack – only to pull the car off the speedway in the first few laps of the race, what’s known in racing circles as the dreaded “start-and-park.” In doing so, they bring an undamaged car in the garage area, make off with tens of thousands of dollars in purse money, and ensure the sport collects its most important lifeline of all… cold, hard cash.

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Fanning the Flames: Drivers Weigh In On The Test Ban, And Crew Chiefs Weigh In On A Driver

Q: What’s up with Sadler the last two weeks? He looked so good at Daytona but really bad at California and Las Vegas. I hoped the contract problems he had in the offseason would light a fire under him. Is Richard Petty Motorsports using the [new] Dodge engines?

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The Yellow Stripe: Catch 21 – Thoughts, Questions, and Observations 3 Races Into 2009

21, as many of you will know, is a lucky number in Las Vegas. So, here are exactly that many questions, observations, and thoughts - in no particular order - on the season so far as the series leaves Sin City to head back east.

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Voice of Vito: Diary of a Madman – Cabin Fever & Stir Crazy Collides With an Irritating Daytona 500

Well, another Daytona 500 has come and gone, and many are still talking about it. The 2009 NASCAR season is officially underway, and this year Speedweeks had many compelling stories to discuss. It started with the Budweiser Shootout that had Kevin Harvick virtually replaying the 2007 Daytona 500 with a last-lap pass for the win. Then, there were the Duel 150s that saw Jeremy Mayfield, Scott Riggs, and AJ Allmendinger squeak in the field by the skin of their teeth (or in Mayfield’s case, flat top). Enter the Camping World Series Truck race next, where Todd Bodine was black flagged, single-handedly took out half the field, then held off Kyle Busch for the win. And finally, there was the Nationwide Series event that was pretty tame until Jason Leffler sent Steve Wallace for a ride, followed by Shrub attempting to blow Smoke up out of the way.

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Frontstretch Power Rankings: Top 15 After the 2009 Daytona 500

Like it or not, after just 380 miles the first race of the 2009 Sprint Cup season is officially in the books. Matt Kenseth was crowned the winner of just the fourth rain-shortened Daytona 500 in history, taking the lead one lap before the weather with a generous push from runner-up Kevin Harvick. But was that last-lap pass enough to leave Kenseth number one in the eyes of our staff this week? After all, Kyle Busch dominated the race, only to become an innocent victim of the day's big wreck on lap 125. And where did AJ Allmendinger land after starting the year with a career-best third -- driving for a team that doesn't even know if it'll exist two months from now? Find these answers, and more, by examining our first Top 15 Power Rankings poll of the year.

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The Yellow Stripe: Oh, So Close – Tough Luck For Elliott Sadler, Joe Gibbs Racing, And Fans At The Daytona 500

Chief among those bemoaning their poor fortune was Elliott Sadler. The Emporia, Va. native came into Speedweeks under something of a cloud, having invoked legal measures this winter to keep his seat in the No. 19 car. In this treacherous economic climate, it was tough to blame the amiable 12-year veteran for pulling out all the stops to stay in his ride, but there was no doubt the pressure was on for him to perform from the get-go. On the one hand, a fifth-place finish was just the points in the bank he needed; on the other hand, it was a Mark Martin-esque case of “so close, yet so far.” Sadler, who was fortunate to assume the lead after benefiting from a timely caution, paced the field for 24 laps while weather threatened to end the race at anytime. That gave him the confidence a win was possible... but just when he had it sitting in his grasp, Kenseth passed by to take the lead a whole one lap before the rains came for good.

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Running Their Mouth: 2009 Daytona 500 Edition

Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

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Closing NASCAR’s 7th Decade: The Top 12 Drivers — Including The Champ Who’ll Lead Us Into 2010

With 2009 offering one last chance to shape the story of the decade, more outlandish stories beg to be written. Jimmie Johnson will be looking to set a record never thought possible, especially under the Chase playoff format -- four consecutive Sprint Cup titles. To do it, he'll need to fend off perhaps the strongest field of challengers he's ever had, with Carl Edwards, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch the trendy picks to break his streak. In the background looms one of the better rookie battles of the decade in Joey Logano vs. Scott Speed: NASCAR's handpicked future messiah against the quirkiest newcomer it's had in years.

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Who’s Hot/Who’s Not: 2009 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Edition

Following Saturday’s Bud Shootout and Sunday’s qualifying session, some drivers and teams have already begun to stand out as possible contenders and definite holders of momentum -- while others already have chinks in their armor before they can even get a donut on the driver’s side door. Here is this week’s list of Hot, Warm, and Cold drivers:

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