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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Glenn said...

Elliott is on Sirius Speedway now saying the same things in your column.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Yep, I expect the media tour to continue and am very glad he came out right now and handled the situation.


Anonymous said...

I did not get a chance to see Preseason Thunder last night, but found it interesting with the "lack" of interest in NASCAR that WLW radio last night had a minute or so explanation of the Labonte-Yates situation.

Anonymous said...

Sadler can say all he wants now, but your attorney doesn't file a notice of intent to sue for breach of contract if everything was always all just peachy-keen and it was just a "family disagreement."

Anonymous said...

Rather than candid, Sadler is just being pc. Like we are to ignore the fact that he legally scared GEM into letting him drive.

Dot said...

I'm glad ESad is speaking. Keeps us from speculating.

It does sadden me though, these lawsuits and everything. Never in a million years did I think this would happen in our sport. Maybe I'm just naive. I would like to sue Brian France for messing up our sport though.

Vicky D said...

I agree with Anon at 5:40 there was something very fishy about this story. And I don't think I would want to be involved with a team that didn't want me around either.

Anonymous said...

I agree with both of the anons before me - I heard him on Sirius and I thought he was doing damage control and spin rather than being candid, and I agree that one doesn't threaten to file a lawsuit over a simple "family disagreement." Elliott made it seem as if he was just seeking legal advice but filing an intent to sue is a lot different than getting advice. That said, it's to be expected that Elliott is going to be PC - he has to race for GEM and he has to keep any lingering ill will under wraps.

Sophia said...

Did ANYBODY see the video of Elliott speaking?

I agree that something smells fishy here, but I have been so out of touch with things about NASCAR in recent months.

Dot, I do agree with you. I wish we could all sue BF for ruining the sport, too. ;-)


Anonymous said...

I'm glad ESad is speaking. Keeps us from speculating.

It doesn't help one bit if he doesn't tell the truth, and I don't believe he is. Claiming he talked to his lawyer because he needed some "legal guidance" or whatever when his attonrey actually filed an intent to sue GEM is lying, plain and simple.

If you can't talk about it, then don't--but don't lie.

majorshouse said...

It is quite possible that he cannot really speak about what really went on for legal reasons. It is a shame that we have to talk legal action in our sport, but it is also a huge business, and these things are going to happen. Personally I would not want to drive for a team that really did not want me, but look at the current climate of teams and there really aren't any out there where he really could have driven with full sponsorship.

Anonymous said...

"It was nice to hear Sadler talk rather openly about both his personal situation..."

I think it was just the opposite. You talk about not clearing the air. I thinn he can be given a medal for trying to squalsh negative media reports.

If it was a "family" situation, how is it that he and his lawyer named AJ in the suit? You talk about a low blow. Sadler, by his action forced AJ to probably spend money seeking legal defense. To be part of a suit just because a team wants to hire you!

So after Sadler threatens AJ with a suit, Sadler admits he has not talked to AJ. You would think an apology would be in place.

Sadler admits that GEM told him that he could talk to other teams. Did he? Maybe part of this is that Sadler found out there was no market for him. Sure would have been open of him to tell if he or his agent tried to find a better deal out there?

I would have way more respect for Sadler if he said, "hey I sued because I was fighting for my racing career."

Anonymous said...

Sadler said: ... I don't think it's fair to sit here today and say that the team didn't want me."

And folks, he said that with a stright face! Sadler failed to explain why AJ was posed to replace him in the 19, if they wanted him. Strange explanation.

Anonymous said...

Sadler is saying what he is supposed to (has to) say. What we are hearing is the usual public relations that happens anytime there is a disagreement between two parties. He isn't telling us the truth about anything all he's doing is trying to minimize the damage.

Apply this same scenario to your own life. If your employer fired you and you took legal action to get your job back, how great would your work life be? How would you like to know that someone in a high position didn't want you there? How suspicious would you be of every little event that happens?

Anonymous said...

Here is my perspective on Sadler. Of course he knows they don't want him at GEM. He is also smart enough to realize that losing that ride at this time would probably cost him any decent ride for 2009. He is banking on having a much better season this year, when he will be negotiating in secret for a ride next year, and not with GEM. If he does have a good year, he will have a good ride for next season, ask to be released from his contract fron GEM, and go about his merry way. It seems to me that GEM has a problem blaming drivers for their team's poor performances on the track, when in fact they are'nt even as far along as Penske with the COT's setups. Take the easy way out & blame the driver is their motto. Don't see Roger Penske doing that, do you?