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“I’m Done”- Retired NASCAR Icon Elliott Sadler Reveals Heartwarming Reality Behind Casting Aside Racing Career

Published 11/20/2023, 6:43 PM EST

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During the height of his career, Elliott Sadler was not just a name in NASCAR but an icon who captivated the masses with his racing style and his down-to-earth persona. But no one saw it coming when he dropped a bomb, announcing his retirement from the sport at the end of the 2018 season, delivering a shocker to the entire fanbase.

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Reflecting on his sudden change of plans to take his time off the sport, ending a career spanning almost two decades, Sadler opened up to his longtime friend, Kenny Wallace. This week’s ‘Kenny Conversation’ had the veteran joining the show where he revealed the actual reason behind his unexpected retirement, exposing the harsh reality of life.

Duties beyond the racetrack called Elliott Sadler back home


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Fatherhood is one aspect of life many overlook. Unlike being a part-timer in NASCAR, being a father requires a full-time commitment, taking care of the family, and the children, and spending time with them is one aspect of life that a man finds out only when he becomes a father.

Elliott Sadler too had this revelation out of the blue while he was accompanying longtime friend, who was at that point, spotting in Mid-Ohio. That day marked a major turning point in Sadler’s life. The sad reality of not being there for his children hit the driver hard. The Xfinity/Cup Series racer, who was in his camper at the time of this well-needed realization, was sad that he had missed his kids’ games taking place in Virginia. To make up for lost time, the veteran scrounged social media circles, scrolling endlessly, to catch a glimpse of their performances but was unable to find any clip at all.


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This harsh reality that he was missing out on seeing his dear children grow up suddenly dawned upon him. The driver promptly decided that he needed to take a break. Elaborating more on the same, he said, “It hit me Kenny(Wallace) like that. I looked at my friend and I said, ‘Dude, I’m done, I missed my kids, I wanna watch them grow up, I want to be a part of their lives, you know. My heart and my love is not here at the race track anymore, it’s at home’.”

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He further added, to his point, saying, “So it just hit me all of a sudden like that. So when I retired I wanted to retire and come home and be a part of my kids’ lives.” However, this is not the only incident that taught Sadler about prioritising family. 

Sadler shares the lesson he learned from a friend on maintaining work-life balance

If we were to divulge into some philosophy, life itself is a balancing act. A graph that is riddled with ups and downs. Fortunately for Sadler, the veteran noticed this and improvised at the right time. He had many friends, inherently family men, who ended up teaching him a good lesson or two. Taking notes from his friend, teammate, and 1999 Winston Cup champion, Dale Jarrett‘s life, Sadler raised his point.


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He said, “ One of my best friends in racing and your’s too, Dale Jarrett, when we were teammates, listening to him talking on the phone every night, getting updates from his wife, Kelly at the time about all the stuff his kids were doing, man you could see it on his face, he wasn’t there to be a part of it and I learned from that.” 

“I Lost the Daytona 500, but Gained a Son”- NASCAR Icon Elliott Sadler Uncovers Heartbreaking Reality Behind 2009 Matt Kenseth Defeat

Furthermore, he added to his point, saying, “Man I needed to be home and when it hit me at that time, I had lived my dream long enough. I had chased my dream to be a NASCAR champion long enough. It was time for me to put my dream aside. I had tried now. It’s my turn to help my kids go after their dreams.” 


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Being a parent is hard, but one could definitely take some lessons from Elliott Sadler on how to be a good one.


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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath