RICHMOND (WTVR) – Elliott Sadler raved about being able to sleep in his own bed and ride to the track again with his brother Hermie, just like they did as kids coming to Richmond International Raceway as fans.
Now, they will both try to make the field for Friday night’s Virginia College 529 Savings 250, albeit from very different perspectives.
“I’ve said it before, I’d much rather win a race here (RIR) than the Daytona 500” Elliott repeated in the media center Thursday. “Holy cow we’ve got a lot of family and friends coming to watch the race. We want to give them something to cheer about.”
Elliott is currently 4th in Nationwide series points with 6 top ten finishes in the last 8 events. Even though he’s never finished worse than 4th in his 3 full seasons in the Nationwide series, he can’t help but feel snakebit in his quest for his first ever championship. He finished 2nd twice to Ricky Stenhouse and 4th last year behind Austin Dillon. This season, a series of back luck events has kept him from gaining significant ground on this year’s leader, Chase Elliott.
“As long as I’ve been racing, we have had the worst luck this year than I can ever remember having” Elliott said. “Running 3rd at Bristol and being taken out by a car that’s 20 laps down, running 2nd at Michigan and a honeybun wrapper gets on the front of (the car), a flat tire at Road America running 3rd with 6 laps to go.”
“The last month has just been crazy with stuff pinning us behind the 8 ball. We’ve been consistent and we’d like to be a little faster but man, we just need to get some breaks to go our way.”
Hermie is celebrating his 15th year working with the Virginia Lottery, and they are on his car for this race to help promote a contest where fans can turn in losing scratcher tickets for a chance to be part of a pit crew at both Friday and Saturday’s races. Hermie himself will draw one winner at the Lottery’s booth Friday at 2:30. He is also hoping for better luck than he had during his first run of the year at Bristol.
“We started the race and blew a tire at Bristol, and that put us behind early” Hermie said. “But I learned a lot, the cars are so much different now, it was a real learning experience for me.”
“I didn’t know when or if I would be racing anymore, and to get this opportunity with the Lottery after all these years….I’d like to think I’m wiser in a lot of ways on and off the race track.”
Both brothers will be pulling for each other and each are grateful for the chance to run together here, each knowing that opportunities like this don’t come that often anymore.
“We don’t take it for granted” Hermie said. “I hope he has better luck than he had when I was on the track with him at Bristol. He (Elliott) ran well here in the spring so I’ve been picking his brain a little bit.”
“He (Hermie) raced Late Models here many years ago” Elliott remembered “and he ran really well here in his Nationwide car. I know he’s honored to be able to race with the Virginia Lottery.”
“It’s always fun to see him get back in a car and compete, because that’s all we’ve ever done.”