News & Media


Sadler mystified by inspection issue at Richmond

April 27, 2012, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

RICHMOND, Va. -- Elliott Sadler said he was mystified about NASCAR's decision to order the nose of his No. 2 Nationwide Series race car cut off and replaced before Friday's Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway.

He also said while he's concerned about the possibility of a penalty being handed down that may adversely affect his position as the series points leader heading into Friday's event, he realizes there is nothing he can do about it now.

""All the templates fit, but I think it was an eye test. They didn't like the way the car looked, so we did what NASCAR asked and cut the nose off.""

--ELLIOTT SADLER

"It was the same car I've run twice already this season," Sadler said Friday before the race. "So it's been through pre-race inspections and it's been through post-race teardowns -- because we won two races with it. When we went through the tech [inspection] line [on Thursday], we got a sticker. We went through the tech line with no issues. Every single template fit the car and we got a sticker. Everybody was back at the trailer, working on the car and scaling it out -- when NASCAR came and said we had to cut the nose off our car.

"We don't really know what's going to happen. We did what they wanted us to do. All the templates fit, but I think it was an eye test. They didn't like the way the car looked, so we did what NASCAR asked and cut the nose off. We really haven't gotten that far as far as getting an explanation as to what might happen Tuesday. We were just a little confused [Thursday] because this is the third time we've raced this car and we haven't really done anything but wipe it down. So I guess we'll see what Tuesday brings us, but we can't do anything about it. NASCAR asked us to cut it off, so we cut it off."

He wasn't alone. Six cars from the Nationwide Series experienced the same issue Thursday, with NASCAR determining they had "modified upper bumper covers."

In addition to Sadler's No. 2 Chevrolet, the cars involved included those of his two Richard Childress Racing teammates and all three of the Turner Motorsports entries in Friday's race. The other RCR cars involved were the No. 3 Chevy of driver Austin Dillon, who sits third in the standings, and the No. 33 Chevy that will be driven Friday by Sprint Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick.

The other three cars determined to have modified bumper covers were the No. 31 Chevy driven by Justin Allgaier, the No. 30 being driven this this week by James Buescher and the No. 38 Chevy set to be driven by Sprint Cup regular Kasey Kahne. Allgaier is ninth in points, while Buescher, though a part-time driver in the Nationwide Series, won the series opener this season at Daytona and also is the most recent winner in the Camping World Truck Series.

Officials from NASCAR said the race teams were given the opportunity to replace the pieces with approved parts in time for Friday's event, and that the modified bumper covers have been confiscated and would be taken back to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.

Any possible penalties that might result from discovery of the modified pieces will be announced this Tuesday after "further discussion" of the matter amongst officials from the governing body, per usual procedure in such matters, spokeswoman Tracey Judd added.

Sadler said he simply was having trouble trying to understand exactly what had happened. He noted that it might have been a manufacturer's issue since the RCR teams don't typically work with the Turner Motorsports teams in any way, even though they both come from the Chevrolet camp.

"We hadn't gotten warned or anything," Sadler said. "We did not know it was all Chevrolets and, no, we do not work with Turner. They're more in an alliance with Hendrick Motorsports with their motors and stuff, so it's not like we were aligned with them or anything.

"We're all looking at it and willing to go whichever way NASCAR tells us to go from here. But back at the shop, we just cut six noses off our cars that we were going to take to the Talladega race [next week]. All our cars had the same noses. We've had to cut the noses off all our primary cars and all our backups. With three teams, that's six cars -- and that's going on right now at RCR to try to get us ready for Talladega."

Any hits he takes in the points as a result of a possible penalty could be damaging to his Nationwide championship hopes. Sadler entered Friday's race just four points in front of Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and 16 in front of Dillon.

"I feel really good about our season so far," Sadler said. "We know it's going to be a dogfight to the end, so we were glad to get two wins early and gain as many points as we could in every race we've run so far."

Sadler also said he was looking forward to running for another win Friday at RIR, the track where he used to attend races as a kid. He said he bought 70 tickets to Friday's event for family and friends.

"It would be one hell of a party if we could pull it off," added Sadler, a native of Emporia, Va.

* Sound Off: Sadler looks forward to racing at Richmond

It also might help him forget what happened Thursday at RIR -- or what might still be to come Tuesday when any possible penalties are announced.

"We have to wait and see. It really caught us by surprise," Sadler said. "We're going to go through the steps they ask us to go through -- and all I ask is that when we get to Talladega, everybody better be right. That's all I ask: that everybody is treated the same, that everybody has to go through the tech line the same way. And if anybody has any issue like what we had [Thursday], where we had to cut our nose off and fix it, I'd like to see the same thing happen to them."