News & Media

In the Draft: Darlington a bright spot on schedule

May 03, 2011, Elliott Sadler, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Historic Darlington brings back plenty of good memories

This weekend we're getting ready to head to one the most historic tracks on the Nationwide Series circuit, Darlington Raceway. Darlington is one of the oldest race tracks on the circuit and it's a place that lots of guys will spend their entire careers trying to master. It's place with a lot of history and a special energy to it.

Darlington is a track that's close to my heart for a lot of reasons. It's the site of my first Sprint Cup Series pole, which was a major milestone in my career, and I also have a Nationwide pole there. Going into a track where you have a good record and have achieved those major goals always makes you feel more confident going into the weekend.

The track is also special because it's just a short drive down I-95 from my home in Emporia, Va. Because it was close to me growing up, I went to a lot of races at the track as a fan, so it always brings back a lot of memories for me. With the track being so close to home, it also means that I'll have a lot of family and friends at the race this weekend, which always makes an event more fun and more special.

In addition to getting ready for this weekend in Darlington, I also had the opportunity to visit a track I'd never been to before, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. To help promote the upcoming Montreal race, I got to meet with a lot of the key media members in the Montreal market and talk to them about KHI, my season so far, and the Nationwide Series in general. The best part of the trip was the tour I received of the facility and the opportunity I had to take some of the media members for a few laps around the track in a big 16-passenger van.

Getting to take just a few laps around the road course taught me so much about the track for when we return in August. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a track that TV definitely doesn't do justice to. I never realized just how narrow the track is, and how high the curbing around the track is. The walls are also very close to the racing groove and there's really no runoff in between, so there's no room for error.

After the tour of the track, we went to a few radio stations in the city, which gave me a chance to see some of downtown Montreal. I've always heard from the guys who have raced there before what a great city it is and how much fun they've had in the past, and now I can definitely see why. I can't wait to head back there in August.


In the Draft with Elliott Sadler is a twice-monthly blog and the opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. Follow him and the No. 2 KHI team on Twitter: @Elliott_Sadler, @OneMainRacing or @KHI_NNS.