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There is only ONE Oklahoma
SOONERS
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Monday, July 28, 2008

ELLIOTT SADLER @ INDY

Sadler's weekend would have made a good spaghetti western!


The Good:
I am not really going to go off on a TIRE-ade concerning the obvious problem with yesterday’s race, but will touch on the exceptional performance of the 19 team. “Team” being at an utmost importance.

In a race that in all honesty was about a dozen or so ‘heat races’, the 19 team’s success started near the end of the first practice on Friday. Stuck deep in the speed charts, the 19 team made some significant changes near the end of first practice and by the time the 2nd practice before qualifying was over, the 19 looked to be a pretty fast car. Sadler did indeed back up those practice runs with a solid qualifying effort, something that would prove to be beneficial on Sunday.

Come race day, after the first 10 laps, it became painfully obvious that this race was going to require a unique strategy. Like Sadler said in his post race interviews, track position was key. Now I don’t 100% agree with this statement (see the 88’s ability to move up through the field), I think for the 19 it was imperative to stay in touch with the leaders. The car simply was not ‘good enough’ to make wholesale passes ‘on the track’ with the exception of one 10 lap segment in the later stages of the race, but it was good enough to ‘maintain’ positions even when others behind had four fresh tires as opposed to the 19’s two.

The driver made few mistakes on the track (maybe once when the 19 get hung out and lost a half dozen spots, but Sadler later in the same run was able to make those spots back). The over the wall gang seemed to be flawless as well. The crew chief had a plan, and stuck to it for the most part (aside from going with Sadler on a wedge change, only to ‘change it back’ the next stop. TAKE A DRINK!!!)

All in all, it was a great team effort for the 19. Something that could fuel the flames of optimism for the remainder of the season, and build to 2009. It was an impressive day.

The Bad:
A while back I mention about the demise of the ‘Victory Lane Players’ (VLP) with no warning to the paying fans. It has been over two weeks since Sadler fans were cut off, and even though they have raised questions, not a peep from either Sadler, or PR dude, Brett Griffin. (In fact, neither have even logged into the fan club since the beginning of June) Leaving room for much speculation and even animosity. But what really happened to VLP? We may never know, but at the very least an explanation should be in order from the ones that pitched this deal to their fans in the first place.

I don’t lay blame on Sadler, Griffin or even VLP for this fiasco, but maybe it was just a deal that went bad. Or just making poor choices from the very beginning when VLP announced that they would be partnering with Power Play Development. Power Play Development’s stability (or lack there of) is well documented by simply tracking their stock value. That value started the downward trend at the beginning of 2008, and ended a few weeks ago with a value of zero. Thus the shutdown of VLP.

But for the ones that had their names imprinted on this deal, I would be very surprised if they had no knowledge of what was about to transpire. If they did know, that’s fine, but at least let your paying fans know after the fact of the circumstances. If they didn’t know, well that is just poor business and would lead to skepticism for any other deals. (See Sheridan Ridge?) I am not saying the Sheridan Ridge is a bad investment, but what I am implying is that there seems to be a long list of ‘its going to be great’ plugs from Sadler that after a year or so, simply get swept under the rug. Compound this with the fact that both VLP and Sheridan Ridge are represented by the Cox Group. If that name rings a bell with long time Sadler fans, it is because Cox represented Sadler when he was with the Wood Brothers and how Sadler and Brett Griffin met each other in the first place. Rumor has it that at the very least, Cox has been stepping up to the plate attempting to honor complaints from disgruntled paying members for their prizes and/or refunds. Too bad you had hear that from me, and not from Sadler himself. It is the least he can do, but enjoy the silence.

The Ugly:
Elliott Sadler, if you have a beef with Jack Roush, why don’t you just come out and say it?

Sadler on Yates Racing this past week;

"When I was there, they never helped us," said Sadler, who drove for the Yates organization from 2003 until the middle of the 2006 season. "And [RFR] still doesn't help them. I really feel for those guys [at Yates Racing].”

Be careful Elliott when using such extremes as ‘never’ as one can just flashback to the 2006 season to see the beginning of the Roush/Yates partnership in it’s infancy. Roush began providing chassis to Yates that spring, and it was at Chicago where Sadler drove a Roush chassis. You should remember that weekend Elliott, as you complained about the car from the moment you climb in it. Complaints from the pedal configuration to the seat height to lack of handling. The Roush-Yates engine alliance was formed during Sadler's tenure at Yates as well. In early 2006, he whined alot, about how bad the Yates built chassis's were, and how good the Roush ones were. So Robert got him a Roush chassis, and Sadler couldn't drive it for whatever reasons.

Was the real reason for the split with Yates and the ‘difference in philosophy’, the impending merger with Roush racing? The Sadler animosity towards Roush could be seen as far back is his Wood Brothers days when he also voiced concern about the lack of Roush support. Even though his lone win with the Wood Brothers was with a Roush motor and chassis.

The timing of Sadler’s statement is interesting and comes on the heels of Roush’s comments concerning next-door neighbor, Jamie McMurray’s lack of production, and Jamie’s future status with Roush. This could fall in line with the rumors of Jamie either leaving the Roush stable, or that he is the candidate of being the team that goes to Yates when the 4-team rule is in effect. Remember, even Robert said that once Sadler heard how much money Jamie was making, that Sadler lost his focus while at Yates.

I really think that Doug Yates and Max Jones are getting exactly what they are paying for. They are buying chassis, and with that purchase they receive the engineering help. I wonder though, because Doug owns part of the engine deal, we rarely see Yates cars getting sub-par powerplants, when compared to Jack's cars.

Roush also has helped in the marketing for both the 28 and 38 this year and been instrumental in many of the sponsorships seen on the Yates cars.

Do I think that the 28 and 38 are getting top of the line equipment from Roush? I think the obvious answer is NO, and frankly, that is not the deal. But I do think that Roush's second level equipment, if that is indeed what Yates is getting, is still far better than what many of the teams out there have in their stable, and especially better than what equipment we seem to see with other teams get with their ‘alliances’. I also have to wonder how Robby Gordon feels about the equipment he is getting from GEM these days.

It also should be noted the Sadler comment after the '600' at Lowes this past spring where Sadler was even questioning the equality of equipment compared to his team mate in the 9 car. CC Rodney Childers explained to him that he is "getting exactly the same stuff, except for the front end stuff that you (Sadler) don't like." Sadler then requested to 'forget the stuff I like, just give me the same stuff as the 9". Whether that has happened or not has never been clear. But it is safe to say that the problem may not always be equal equipment, but what Sadler likes and dislikes.

Glass houses Elliott, glass houses.

4 comments:

Forrest Gump said...

This is a great post, very informative lots of insight into the situation.
Thanks

Snafam said...

ROFL! We need to coordinate our blogs better!

As far as Sadler's comments about Jack Roush, don't forget that he also was very nasty in the Oilcover-gate discussions after Las Vegas. I do think he has a giant hate-on for Jack. I guess it is a good thing he is signed with GEM for a few years, as he certainly would not be on Jack's short list for anything, up to and including garage floor sweeper.

Anonymous said...

I have received no response to my emails to Infield Parking about the prizes I won on VLP, let alone VLP themselves.....guess they are gonna shaft us as well. I am very surprised that the drivers arent saying anything about all this.....not a good way to treat your fans.

Anonymous said...

I got e-mails repeatedly from VLP. I'm glad now that I never took the bait.