Thursday, January 15, 2009
Elliott Sadler Talks To The Media At Last
It was NASCAR that arranged to have Elliott Sadler on a teleconference with the media Wednesday afternoon. Sadler's long silence on a wide variety of issues that have been dominating the NASCAR news was finally going to be broken.
It was a little over a week ago that TDP asked if anyone had seen Sadler on TV. You can click here to read that original column.
In addition to Sadler's driving duties, he is a SPEED TV personality who is a panelist on the Trackside program after Darrell Waltrip leaves the show when the Fox portion of the Sprint Cup season is done.
Down the stretch, Sadler is given the weekly opportunity to question his peers while wearing his "TV hat." Trackside host Steve Byrnes allows Sadler to speak freely and interview NASCAR personalities of all types who appear on the program. On this Wednesday, Sadler was going to be on the receiving end of the media questions.
Sadler was upbeat and happy about his situation now that things have sorted themselves out. While he tried to focus on the upcoming season, the media had other ideas.
Claire B. Lang from Sirius XM was very upfront with her question about how a driver can go back to driving for the very team that supposedly fired him only several weeks ago. Sadler said it was wrong to say "the team didn't want him." The source of the problem, according to Sadler, was the team's lack of performance and winning in the Sprint Cup Series.
Jay Hart from Yahoo! Sports followed-up and asked Sadler how he had discovered that he had been released. Sadler was frank in saying that one issue discussed in the post-season was changing the driver of the #19 car. When GEM moved in that direction, Sadler sought legal relief for advice on how to proceed. He still maintains that the team has come together recently and is focused on Daytona and the season.
Sadler constantly told the media he was being honest with them. It was important to him to be thought of as straightforward. "Gut wrenching" were the words he used when describing the moment he heard that GEM was really considering releasing him. Sadler ultimately understood that the GEM management was seeking better performance and that the pressure is now squarely on his shoulders.
It was nice to hear Sadler talk rather openly about both his personal situation and the fact that the new GEM dynamic now includes Robbie Loomis and the former Petty car.
The post-script is that Sadler apologized to the NASCAR media for his lack of communication with them during this time period. Rather than being a legal matter, Sadler said he thought it would just be unprofessional to comment while things were still sorting themselves out.
Now that Sadler is out and speaking about the GEM situation, look for him to be on SPEED's Preseason Thunder very soon. The Trackside TV series begins on Monday, January 19th on SPEED and Sadler will no doubt be returning to his old stomping grounds to continue his campaign of patching things up with the fans.
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