Elliott Sadler needed a win badly, and he got it
So after all his struggles in recent years, it was truly a feel-good story to see him get back to winning at Pocono on Saturday, and he even said in Victory Lane that he could barely sleep the night before because he knew he had a truck that could win. A win by a guy like Sadler means so much more to him than, say, Kyle Busch – who gets a trophy nearly every week and nonchalantly accepts it (or smashes it to pieces.)
Right now, Sadler needs good news. He is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports, and has no set destination. Looking around the garage, there’s not a ton of premium rides open, and even if there were it’s doubtful Sadler will be at the top of the list of potential hires.
To be honest, as Tom Petty once sang, the future is wide open for Sadler.
This win is huge for several reasons. For Sadler, he gets a confidence boost, as he approaches his shaky future because he has shown he still can win races if given the proper equipment (in this case, a KHI truck). To the potential employers, they see a guy who still has the fire to win and is capable of doing so, even if the recent past might indicate otherwise.
While he is a veteran of NASCAR, Sadler no doubt wants to stick around for a while longer and be competitive, and solid performances like he had holding off Kasey Kahne and others to win this truck race at Pocono (which was pretty cool, but way too short) will help that happen.
Watch out for Trevor Bayne
Michael Waltrip has picked a winner in Trevor Bayne.
Just a teenager, this young man is on a roll, and Bayne is on a quick path to be a star in this sport. He has 3 straight poles, 4 top-5s in the last 6 races, and Saturday at Iowa he ran toe-to-toe with Kyle Busch for most of the race – something that’s not easy to do, as Busch usually checks out on the field if he gets up front. Bayne said he observed Busch and learned a lot.
"I learned so much from following Kyle (Busch). He deserves every bit of the credit he gets. He's in great equipment, great crew
chief (Jason Ratcliff) and he's an unbelievable driver. That first 50 laps he was sideways the whole time and I followed him up and
learned that top groove. How to get the car straight to run off of the corner and get good drive. Our car was really free at the
beginning, but as the night came on we got tighter and we kept getting tighter and tighter and that's what really got us at the end. If
that thing would've ended in daylight we probably could've got our first win here. But, we're so happy about these top-fives every
weekend. We're just as excited as we can be."
Look for Bayne to continue his rise this year, and compete for the Nationwide crown next season. He’s got a very bright future, and Waltrip should do everything he can to hang on to the young man. It would be great to see him get a win this year, and it’s also very possible when you look at his recent results.
"If we stay in the top-five I think it's eventually going to come, so we've just got to make sure we stay there every weekend and be in position," Bayne said.
Tim Richmond is topic of ESPN show
Tim Richmond is like a four-letter word to NASCAR. They don’t talk about him, even though he is one of the best drivers ever in the sport and had some great battles with legends including Dale Earnhardt during his time in the sport.
See, Richmond has AIDS, and that was a no-no for clean-cut NASCAR back in the 1980s. So there’s the whole story about a failed drug test that wasn’t really a failed drug test. (The way NASCAR treated Richmond is why people initially believed NASCAR was lying about Jeremy Mayfield)
Haven’t heard the whole story of Richmond? I suggest you watch ESPN at 8 p.m. October 19, when “Tim Richmond: To the Limit” will air. I hope this documentary will tell the whole story, and am eagerly anticipating it. For a guy who had so much talent, he’s too often buried under the carpet when NASCAR history is discussed. He wasn’t perfect, and made a lot of mistakes, but Richmond was a champion-caliber driver and deserves recognition for that, whether NASCAR admits it or not.
Here’s the official description of the show:
“Natural. Rock star. Outsider. In the 1980s, race car driver Tim Richmond lived his life the way he raced cars – wide open. Born into a wealthy family, Richmond was the antithesis of the Southern, blue-collar racers who dominated NASCAR. He also was a flamboyant showman who basked in the attention of the media and fans – especially the attention of female admirers. Nevertheless, it wasRichmond’s on-track performances that ended up drawing comparisons to racing legends. And in 1986, when he won seven NASCAR races and finished third in the Winston Cup series points race, some believed he was on the verge of stardom. But soon his freewheeling lifestyle caught up to him. He unexpectedly withdrew from the NASCAR racing circuit, reportedly suffering from double pneumonia. In reality, the diagnosis was much more dire: He had AIDS. Richmond returned to the track in 1987, but he was gone from the sport by the next year as his health deteriorated. He spent his final days as a recluse, dying on August 13, 1989, at the age of 34. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rory Karpf will examine the life and tragic death of one of NASCAR’s shooting stars.”
Contest offers fans chance to “Win Your Chevy”
Race fans can choose their own Grand Prize package – including a new Chevrolet and a chance to meet one of four Team Chevy drivers – when they enter at www.winyourchevy.com now through Sept. 13, 2010.
One Grand Prize Winner can select one of four 2011 Chevrolet vehicles – Camaro, Malibu, Silverado or Traverse – and the opportunity to meet Juan Pablo Montoya, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart or Clint Bowyer, plus win a trip for two to Texas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend in November.
“This is a unique opportunity for race fans to put together their very own prize package,” said Terry Dolan, Manager, Chevy Racing. “To be able to choose which Chevrolet vehicle they’d like to win and which Chevy driver they’d like to meet makes this a race fan’s dream. Team Chevy is proud to turn one fan’s dream into reality.”
No purchase is necessary. See official rules for details at www.winyourchevy.com.
The numbers game for KB
So, apparently Kyle Busch is still obsessed with numbers … which helps explain why he wants to run every series every week.
Saturday’s win at Iowa was his 54th win in a Toyota, and 75th overall NASCAR win of his career (18 Cup, 39 Nationwide, 18 Truck).
Oh yeah, he’s only 25 years old … it’s really unbelievable.
But don’t expect Busch to celebrate just yet. He has a much higher number in mind for his career.
"It's pretty big. But it's not quite where I want to be. The big number is 200 so hopefully I can get there,” Busch said after the win. “We're 25 away from cracking halfway there and I might be able to get it here in the next two years so that would be pretty cool."
Wallace wants to win
For a guy starting to run strong every week, Steve Wallace wasn’t very happy after a 6th place run at Iowa, the place his daddy helped design. In fact, he was downright miserable.
"Most disappointed I've ever been in my life, man. I had an awesome car those last two runs. We kept pulling air out of the left sides,
dropping the track bar, and the thing kept getting better and better and better and better. There ain't no reason to even talk about it,
because we finished sixth. But if we would've got out front, I think I would've had a shot to win it, I really do. The guys had awesome
pit stops, I mean incredible pit stops all day -- and on the money stop, we screwed it up. It's another top-10, man, but sixth to 10th is
all we can do. We've got to get in the top five. We've got these cars handling now, but if it ain't one thing, it's another. Every time
I've ever had a shot to win a race, something always gets screwed up."
Chin up, Steve. You used to crash every week, now you’re getting top-10s. The future is bright, dude.