Elliott Sadler: “Let some of these other guys come in here and have some fun. I’m not retiring from racing. I’m retiring to the next chapter of my life.”
In 1995, the Emporia, Virginia native Elliott Sadler ran his first NASCAR Xfinity Series race in a car he fielded himself. He was 20 years old at the time. Since, he spent 23 years following the NASCAR schedule.
853 races later, Elliott Sadler has spent more than half of his life in NASCAR. Since, he’s claimed several wins and he was on the losing end of the closest NASCAR finish in history.
Last night, Sadler ran his final race as a full-time NASCAR driver. Unfortunately, he suffered a vibration late in the event and crossed the line with a 14th place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After the race, the now 43 year old Sadler grabbed some beers and partied with his crew on the pit lane. Similar to what Dale Earnhardt Jr did when he retired in 2017.
Where does Elliott Sadler go from here?
“I’ll never run another cup race,” Elliott Sadler said ahead of his final race as a full time NASCAR driver. “Let some of these other guys come in here and have some fun. I’m not retiring from racing. I’m retiring to the next chapter of my life.”
Why not run the NASCAR Cup Series in a one-off event?
“Cup’s so hard. But, if you’re not in the right situation, at the right time. With all the elements in place [then] why in the world would you punish yourself to ride around for 500 miles in that environment.”
“Then, you’re in the way. Then you’re going to create an issue. You don’t want to be the story, 20 laps down. Cup racing is very hard. Those guys are the best of the best.”
“So, why would you put yourself in that position. Just to go run a race and be in the way of everybody.”
“I wanna drink a beer on Sunday’s and critique all of yalls writing. Sit on my couch, drink beer and do that all day long. ‘Why in the world did Chris Knight write that? That is horrible, that is not what happened. Why has Bob Pockrass tweeted 75 times during this caution?’ ”
“I’m going to watch and tweet. That’s my dream.”
Elliott Sadler is looked up to by the young guns in the Xfinity Series as the veteran driver. Aside from the race track, the now former JR Motorsports driver is heavily involved with his kids. Somehow, between the flights to the race track, he’s also baseball coach.
“I love being called Coach Elliott, so it’s cool that I’ve already got another job,” Sadler said earlier in the year.
“This is the last time I gotta leave and do something that’s not for my kids. It’s just for me. It’s not their dreams,” Sadler concluded.
Do you have any regrets?
Elliott Sadler has 17 NASCAR race wins. At least one race win in was collected in all three NASCAR National Series divisions. That’s a stat that only 31 drivers can claim in the history of the sport.
However, he’s never won a series title. He’s come close, a whole bunch of times. Four times to be exact, each of those came while running for a NASCAR Xfinity Series title, most recently in 2017.
“It’s going to be tough not being a NASCAR champion. It’s always going to be a ‘what if’ in my mind. But, I think over time, my goals will start becoming what my kids goals are.”
“I’m going to use the same words Mark Martin did. I have no regrets for the time and experience I had,” Sadler concluded.