NASCAR Sprint Sound & Speed presented by SunTrust
January 9, 2010
KERRY THARP: We'll resume our media press conferences here. We have two of NASCAR's finest up here right now. We have Elliott Sadler and Brad Keselowski.
Let's start with Elliott. I know you're a huge fan of country music, outdoors, racing. How does that all blend together, country music and NASCAR?
ELLIOTT SADLER: I think we have a lot of cross-over fans that are country music fans, racing fans, the same demographics. I think it's a great idea to put this thing together. I got to meet Hank Williams, Jr., last night. That was a big honor. I've been a big fan of Josh Turner. Seen him in concert a few times. Got to meet him today. Plus get to hang out with my buddy Blake.
It's a great event. I think we're reaching new potential fans in this area together. I think it's good for the folks involved in country music and also for us. Just glad to be here. At the end of the day, I think it's a great cause. What Kyle and Pattie Petty do for our side from the Victory Junction Gang Camp is amazing. That's why you see so many top-name drivers here to support that.
KERRY THARP: Brad Keselowski, a new team in 2010. Tell us about that, the excitement that brings for you.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: Yeah, well, first it's great to be here, see everybody again, see all the smiling faces, members of the media, and the fans. Just great to be able to reenergize that group and see all the excitement everybody has going into next season, which certainly I have. To a new team with a new Nationwide car and then the 12 Cup car. Should be great. Looking forward to it.
I think we're going to perform real well. Got a lot of great things down the pipeline and ready to get going.
KERRY THARP: Questions, please.
Q. Elliott, can you talk about the transition to the new team. Have you had meetings? How are things going?
ELLIOTT SADLER: Yeah, we definitely are staying in touch with each other, having meetings weekly. Everybody's excited to get to Daytona. But we still need a little bit more time. We're building new cars, trying to get everything as prepared as we can so when we leave to go down for the 500 we have our Vegas and Atlanta cars and California cars and all the stuff done.
It's been great so far. I'm very much looking forward to getting back in a Ford. I feel like I had a lot of success when I drove for Mr. Yates early in his engine program. I have a lot of respect for Doug Yates, what they're doing. So be neat to get back in a Ford again.
I think it's gonna prove to do us a pretty good job. Kasey had a great tire test at California. Very happy about the things that we've learned from the Ford camp and kind of put in the things that we were already doing. We're already a little bit more optimistic it seems like week by week before we get to Daytona.
Q. Brad and Elliott, now you've had an off-season to think about it, but Jimmie Johnson, what is it going to take to catch him in 2010? Who do you see as the prime contender?
BRAD KESELOWSKI: You're the veteran.
ELLIOTT SADLER: I'll go. I think they're the team to beat. I honestly think that they're the favorite for this year. They're good under pressure. They're good when the money's on the table. They're a really good race team.
I think the teams that can beat them right now are their teammates. They finished in the top three in points. They definitely have their stuff together right now.
What he's doing, whether you like the guy, you don't like the guy as a fan, what he's doing right in front of our eyes is absolutely amazing I think in any type of sport.
I have a lot of respect for him and his race team. But I don't see them just laying down and giving up the crown to anyone. You're going to have to go outrun them and do that week in and week out.
I've heard Mark Martin say many times, even being their teammate, he didn't realize how good Jimmie and Chad were until he got on that side of the shop and got to see what they do week in and week out.
I mean, I don't know about handicapping the sport. I'm not into that. But I'm saying right now, I would think, my opinion, he's going to be the car you have to beat when it comes down to Homestead again.
BRAD KESELOWSKI: I got to work a little bit with Jimmie, not a tremendous amount. There's no weaknesses, that's for sure. In order to beat them, you're gonna have to find one or they're going to have to create one.
So, you know, I think they are the only ones that can beat themselves. To beat the 48, they have to beat themselves. It will be interesting to see how that develops over time, you know, with Chad and Jimmie and how their relationship evolves, how they grow. Things change. One thing that remains the same is change.
It will change. Whether it will be this year or next year or 10 years from now, I don't know. But there are no weaknesses. They're very good.
Q. What do you think of the possibility of going back to blade spoilers, doing away with the double yellow line at Daytona and Talladega, and any other changes that might be coming down the pike?
ELLIOTT SADLER: Going back to the spoiler, if that happens, I've heard the same thing as you have, I would be happy to see that as a driver. It will give us more vision, especially on restrictor plate tracks and things like that. So I think it will help as far as the racing is concerned.
As far as the look of the car, I think it will bring some identity back to the manufacturers, identity back to NASCAR racing. It looks more like a NASCAR if it has a spoiler on it. So when I heard the news that might be happening, I was very happy about that. I think that's a good move in our behalf.
As far as the double yellow line, I agree with letting us race and let us bump-draft and let us do whatever we need to do to race. I think the double yellow line, though, is there for a reason. I was able to race there before it was a double yellow line. When you get to turn one, turn three, somebody is on the apron, the whole crowd has to move up to let him in.
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