Richard Childress Racing
February 21, 2012
Elliott Sadler Event Preview: Daytona 500
"Richard calls me all the time. So, he called to see if I was interested in running in the Daytona 500. It was a really good phone call to get."
Event Preview Fact Sheet
No. 33 General Mills/Kroger Chevrolet
February 26, 2012
Daytona International Speedway
Race Notes and Quotes:
This Week’s General Mills/Kroger Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway … Elliott Sadler will pilot Chassis No. 238 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This former No. 31 racer received a new body over the season after competing in the 2010 and 2011 Budweiser Shootouts with driver Jeff Burton, posting 12th and eighth-place finishes, respectively.
Start Your Engine … The 54th Daytona 500 will mark Sadler’s 430th career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Of his 429 starts in NASCAR’s premier division, Sadler has competed 24 times at Daytona International Speedway, accumulating four top-five and nine top-10 finishes, leading a total of 58 laps and completing 97 percent of the laps contested.
Daytona 500 Details … After competing in the ‘Great American Race’ 12 consecutive times from 1999 – 2010, the Emporia, Va., native returns to Sprint Cup Series competition for the 2012 Daytona 500. With a secured a starting spot in the 43-car field at the ‘World Center of Racing,’ Sadler will look to add to his three top-five and six top-10 Daytona 500 finishes. His best finish of second came in 2002 before posting four consecutive top-six results from 2006 – 2009.
Calling the Shots … Long-time RCR crew chief and Nationwide Series General Manager Gil Martin will call the shots for Sadler and the No. 33 General Mills/Kroger Chevrolet team in this weekend’s 500-mile showdown. Martin has three restrictor-plate victories on his Sprint Cup Series resume with all of them coming in 2010 – Budweiser Shootout in February, Talladega Superspeedway in April and Daytona International Speedway in July.
Seeing Pink… Sadler will have a little more color to his outfit on race days. The Emporia, Va., native will sport pink driving shoes throughout the 2012 season, showing support for Breast Cancer Awareness. Sadler’s mother, Bell, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and is now a survivor.
And, Now a Word From Our Sponsors … Kroger, the nation's largest traditional grocery retailer, employs more than 338,000 associates who serve customers in 2,439 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 796 convenience stores, 363 fine jewelry stores, 1,067 supermarket fuel centers and 40 food processing plants in the U.S. Kroger was recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in the U.S. The company focuses its charitable efforts on supporting hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations in the communities it serves. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 125 million meals a year through its partnership with more than 80 Feeding America food banks. General Mills, who is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., is one of the world's leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries. Its consumer brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant and Old El Paso. And, lastly, HendrickCars.com is the fastest way to research and purchase nearly 20,000 new and used cars, classic cars, commercial vehicles and motorcycles from the inventory of Hendrick Automotive Group's more than 100 franchises.
Honoring a Friend … The Nos. 31 and 33 Chevrolets being driven in this week’s events by Jeff Burton and Sadler will carry a special decal honoring Donald E. Becker, an executive vice president of The Kroger Co. and friend of the General Mills motorsports family who passed away last year during Speedweeks. During Becker’s career, he held a number of leadership positions at Kroger, including Vice President of the Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio Division and President of the Central Division. Becker joined Kroger in 1969 as a clerk in the Cincinnati/Dayton Ohio Division. He helped Kroger strengthen relationships with customers and suppliers alike and was also an avid supporter of the Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program at the University of Cincinnati, the Greater Cincinnati Boy Scouts of America, Crayons to Computers, the Easter Seals Work Resource Center and St. Michael’s Center. He earned an undergraduate degree from Central State University, graduating first in his Army ROTC Honors program and retired from his military service with the rank of Captain.
Elliott Sadler Live … Fans can see Sadler live on Saturday, February 25 from 9:30 – 9:45 a.m. on the Sprint Fan Zone stage, located in the infield between the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series garages and again on Sunday, February 26 from 9:40 – 9:55 a.m. at the same location. Sadler will be part of a question-and-answer session each day.
ELLIOTT SADLER QUOTES:
During the offseason, Richard Childress offered you the opportunity to run the Daytona 500. What were your thoughts?
“Richard calls me all the time. That’s one thing I have learned – that he communicates and keeps everyone up to speed on what’s going on. So, he called to see if I was interested in running in the Daytona 500. It was a really good phone call to get. I was excited but we knew we had to go to work and find partnership to make this work. I feel fortunate that everything came together.”
As with all restrictor-plate races, tandem racing and the draft requires assistance from others. Will you be gearing up with a teammate?
“A big reason we’re putting this car in the Daytona 500 is to have an even number of RCR cars in the race in case the tandem racing works out, especially in the closing laps of the race. My fellow Virginia native teammate Jeff Burton will most likely be my partner. We’ve already talked and discussed a plan so we’ll see how it goes.”
You have a pretty good average finish at Daytona International Speedway. Do you go into this race thinking that this track owes you a win?
“A track doesn’t owe you anything. But, I do feel like I let one slip away in 2009 when I should’ve won the (Daytona) 500. I led almost the entire last half of the race before losing the lead in turn one when the rain started coming down on the backstretch. That’s hard to swallow sometimes. I feel like I’ve been good there. I’m an under-the-radar restrictor-plate racer which is probably why my stats are good there. We’re taking a fast car to Daytona this weekend and with the ECR engine, good package and good team, I think we’ll be very competitive and my hope is finish strong.”