Sadler (pictured last season) will start his third full season in NASCAR Winston Cup for Wood Brothers racing this season, and has spoken of his hopes for the year ahead, the changes in his team and the relationship with Roush Racing.
Q: How do you think the new season will go for your team?

Sadler: "We've got pretty high expectations this year. We've got a lot of new faces on our race team, our travelling crew and a new sponsor in Motorcraft. They have given us the resources and backing that we need to change our race team and go out and get the right people we need to do the job. And it shows already."

"We had a successful test at Daytona. We were at the top of chart, or pretty close, every single day. We tested the new Goodyears at Kentucky in December and ran very fast there also. I was very comfortable in the car. They've done their part by stepping up and helping our program. We feel like we've got the right core group we need to have a good season."

Q: Have you lost any critical personnel?

Sadler: "No. I think we're twice as strong as we've ever been and so do Eddie and Len Wood, the two owners. Pat (Tryson - new crew chief) came in and never skipped a beat. I'm glad that we got to work together some last year preparing for the Atlanta and
Homestead races. Our guys got used to him and that got me used to what he wants. And he got used to the kind of language and lingo that I use so that helps a lot."

"Plus going to Kentucky for three days in the beginning of December was really good. We learned a lot about each other and things went well. So we've got a lot of high expectations and we've got a lot of brand new racecars that are from Roush. I guess everyone knows that we've got all Roush chassis and Roush bodies and pretty much a Roush team. And that's where Pat really fit hand in hand because he was used to working on these cars for a long time. He knows exactly what to do to make these things run and I think it's showed so far."

Q: Will you have the same over-the-wall guys?

Sadler: "No, we've got two or three new over-the-wall guys. They've been practicing two or three times a week and for the first time in a long time we've got a big workout program and exercise program that they need to do. They're real happy with it."

"They're a lot faster than we were last year and they know that. We're going to try to give the guys bonuses as we can for certain pit stops in certain second brackets. I think our pit crew is a lot better too. Pat brought some guys over with some experience and we put them together with the good group of guys that we had and we think we've got us a good crew now."

Q: With everything that is happening off the track, are you now prepared to put the #21 in the victory circle?

Sadler: "I felt like the last two years if we did it, maybe it was going to be on a pit stop or beat everybody on gas mileage or something like that. But with these new cars the way they feel to me and the testing time with them and the help we're getting from Roush and Jeff Burton, especially on his type of chassis, why not."

"I've got more experience and I'm definitely more comfortable and more relaxed than I've ever been in my racing career, especially in Winston Cup. Pat Tryson has really got the guys feeling good about themselves. We've got a lot of momentum. That means a lot in a race team. I really didn't think it did until I saw that if you get down in NASCAR Winston Cup racing it's not the easiest thing in the world and it's hard to get back to really feeling good about yourself and the job that you're doing."

"Now we've got a good core group put together and we've got a lot of high expectations. With Ford Motor Company and Motorcraft behind us, they want their car to run well. They have the last five years in Winston Cup racing and they've showed their support of us in the wind tunnel time that we've already gotten from them and the support and backing for the resources that we need."

"They want their name on a good race team. They want to bring us from a sub-par team to a good race team. They've enabled us to go out and get the good people that we need to run good and I think it's going to pay off."

Q: What have you done in the off-season to turn that around?

Sadler: "This is not even the same race team we had last year. Motorcraft has come on board and enabled us to go out and get the right people that we need to make this a great race team. The guys have got a lot of momentum and high hopes on their side. They are really working well together."

"The resources that we have are so much greater than what we've had in the past. We are just so much further ahead this year than what we were the last two years. We've had a great speedway test and a really good down-force test at Kentucky with the Goodyears."

"I think we are going to surprise a lot of people and run very well. I'm really pumped up about it. I'm a realist when it comes to racing and this is the most comfortable I've felt in a long time about a race team and the people surrounding me as a driver."

Q: The last couple of years you have blamed yourself for the teams lack of success. How much has it helped to get more laps under your belt?

Sadler: "You cannot explain how much laps do. When I first started in Busch racing, Sandy Jones was a veteran crew chief and tried to explain how much laps meant. I was a young kid, and you know we're all hardheaded and we know everything or so we think."

"You feel like you should go out there and run as good as Earnhardt or Labonte, somebody that has been doing it for so long. And you can't. You just have to take your time and do your seat thing, especially if you don't have a teammate to rely on who has the notes and setups and can say this is how the car is supposed to feel so get used
to driving it like that."

"I didn't have anybody like that and that made it tough. I've learned a lot about what it takes to have a good car on Sunday and that's the main deal. Now we'll have to see if Pat and I can put it together and get a good rhythm going and see what happens."

Q: Are you and Pat (Tryson) developing a good chemistry?

Sadler: "I think so. We've worked well together so far on the tests we've had, but not until we're in a real racing situation will we find out a lot about each other. We worked together at the Atlanta race, and we only had one pit stop to make decisions. (The team did not finish the race because of an engine failure.) We didn't get to run
a whole race."

"That was just kind of like a little test of what's to come. We got along pretty well then. But we're not going to know until we run a race. We're really optimistic about it. We get along really well and we have the same beliefs. It's hard to find someone who has the same beliefs, but we definitely believe the same in what it takes to make a car run."

Q: Regarding Jack Roush and Jeff Burton, what have they already done that has made a difference?

Sadler: "We tried to relate to these guys last year, but it was like apples to oranges. One week I'd run a full Hopkins car. The next week it was a Steve Leavitt's front clip with a Laughlin middle section. And that's the way we ran each and every week. I had a different car."

"I could not go to Mark Martin and Jeff Burton and say my car is doing this and this and this and get an honest answer. They were trying to help me but it's not the same thing. This year going totally Roush, and we did that a couple races last year and run very well with them; now we can go to them for help."

"A lot of the test sessions this year will be with all the Roush teams so we can help each other. I think that's going to be a big difference. If a driver is driving the same exact car every single week you've got to get more comfortable and learn what makes that car run and that's going to help us."

"Every single car we run this year will be Roush stuff. The car I had at Atlanta that we really liked and that we tested at Kentucky really well with; I begged them to build five cars just like that and we will surprise people this year if we can get five cars like that."

"We've got three of them built and we're building the other two as the season goes. I tell you, I'm ready to go. I've never really been geared up this much for a season like I am. To be able to go to Daytona and run as well as we did each and every day in the draft and in qualifying trim we're just looking forward for the season to start."

Q: Are these used cars?

Sadler: "These are brand new cars. Pat, myself, the Wood Brothers, Motorcraft, we don't want any used stuff. We want brand new stuff built as lightweight as we can with the newest and latest bodies on them."

"We'll be able to carry each and every car to the wind tunnel this year and make sure it is the way it's supposed to be. That's something we were not able to do in the past. We want to have brand new stuff and find three or four cars that I really like and run them to death."

"A couple of years ago Mark Martin ran six or seven races with the same car - Bristol or Atlanta. He got a car he liked. That's what we're trying to do, find a couple cars that I like and run them every week. Hopefully we'll be able to do that."

Q: How many cars do you have in the inventory?

Sadler: "We only have four or five, I think we have five total Roush cars. We're trying to weed out the stuff that I ran last year and the year before that were a little bit of mix of this and a mix of that. As soon as Roush puts the bodies on them, we're starting to build them. We just want to have five or six primary full Roush cars ready to go and a bunch of back-ups."

Q: Will you keep some of the cars you had?

Sadler: "We will. We're going to keep some of the cars I had success with like the car I ran so well with at Bristol. We're going to keep them around just in case we get into a bind. Roush has really bent over backward for us, Dave Dunlap and his whole crew, to build us cars and make sure we'll have cars ready to run with each and every week."

Q: Do you feel that you need to go out at Daytona, Rockingham, Vegas or somewhere early to really showcase the new team?

Sadler: "I think that we do. I'm feeling the pressure that we should. I have not had a good Daytona 500 yet. I've wrecked the last two years. The first year I wrecked with Dale Jarrett and last year I t-boned Michael Waltrip with about 20 laps to go."

"We've started the season in a hole both years. Forty-second and forty-first was where we finished, I think. We think it is important to go to the Daytona 500 and run well and finish the race. I like Las Vegas and Atlanta and Texas, some of the racetracks coming up. But we've just got to go to Daytona and get off on the right foot. If you get yourself in a hole in this series, it's hard to come out of."

"We've been digging ourselves out of a hole the last two years at the beginning of the season, and we don't want to do that again. This year we feel it is very important to come out with a good finish at Daytona. We would really like to. We've got two really good racecars and we're in better shape than we ever have been at Daytona with the testing that we did. We just need to go back and run well. We ran very well at Talladega with these new rules. I think they fit my driving style and what I try to do in the draft."

Q: Is the mental aspect and decision-making aspect of it all almost more important than getting the car set up?

Sadler: "I think it is for the race. I learned a big lesson my first Daytona 500. Coming down to the last one or two pits stops people really start jockeying for position, getting themselves in the right situation that they feel they need to be in and man, did I get taught a lesson my very first one. So I know more what to expect. I'm going to do a
better job on decision making this year."

"That just comes with experience and seat time. You don't know how to prepare for something until it happens to you. And some of the stuff that's happened to me in the races I know what to look for now and use that to my advantage."

Q: Is this a make or break year for you?

Sadler: "I feel it is to me personally because we feel like we've got the right resources we need to have a good year. We'll see what happens. Motorcraft has done everything they know how to do to make sure we run well and they're behind us 100 percent."

"They probably surprised a lot of people coming with the Wood Brothers. We haven't run that well the last few years. They want to make us a good race team and that's what we want to have happen. Things have changed a lot in that program at the Wood Brothers shop so hopefully we can make the most of it. We'll have to see what happens."