From the Roanoke Times… Sadler can relax — f…

From the Roanoke Times…

Sadler can relax — for now

The deal: Dustin Long of the Roanoke Times says Elliott Sadler has started nearly every Nextel Cup race during the past two months the same way as he attempted to make the championship chase. Face pale. Stomach churning. After each race, he would calculate and contemplate what he would need to do in the next race to remain in the top 10 in the season standings. Over and over the cycle repeated itself for the 29-year-old Emporia, Va., native and worrywart.

“I’ve wanted this so much,” Sadler said about challenging for a championship.

Last week at Bristol, his anxiety triggered a wardrobe malfunction. He couldn’t zip up his uniform before the race, so he sealed it with duct tape.

Sadler can relax. His victory in Sunday night’s Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway all but clinches a spot in the season-ending title chase.

Why we care: Sadler, sixth in the standings, needs only to start this Saturday night at Richmond to assure his eligibility. While Sadler can laugh about his recent angst, others can’t relax. Nine drivers are competing for four spots in the title chase. Those drivers are within 76 points of each other, heading into the season’s next-to-last short-track race.

:: Post Race Interview from California ::

HOW DO YOU BLOW OUT YOUR UNIFORM?

“Look, I was so doggone nervous before Bristol. I don’t even know. I was trying to zip it up and it didn’t zip. I had to race the whole Bristol race with my uniform open. I had to duct tape it up. I had a big mess. Todd’s trying to calm me down because he’s been there, done that. That’s what helps me. He’s been in this championship race and won one and won races, and I’m over here about to cry every week because I’m so nervous. So he’s keeping me calm and it works out good.”

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE YOU CLINCHED?

“I have to start. I think we can get a battery in there that will start the race. That’s showing that this is a strong race team and we’ve come a long way this year. I’ve never been to New York on stage. Everybody asks you every year. Are you going to New York? I’m not going to New York unless I get an award on stage. So I’m gonna go buy my tuxedo next week while I’m in Richmond because I’m back at home, and get all fitted up so I look all nice and snazzy when I get to New York.”

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