“They Pushed Me Out”- Elliott Sadler Reveals NASCAR’s Blatant Hypocrisy Amidst Promotion of the Sport

Published 11/20/2023, 5:37 AM EST

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In NASCAR history, only 31 drivers have won races in all three of its national competitions. Elliott Sadler has taken his rightful place among the elites by joining this exclusive list. The 48-year-old was one of the longest-serving stalwarts in the Xfinity Series and was a regular name on the grid for a long time. The former JR Motorsports driver was a consistent championship contender even in the dusk of his career andearned his place among legends of the Xfinity Series.

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The fans have always loved Sadler. A great racing talent, entertaining, and a positive presence in the garage, Elliott had all the right tools to be a fan favorite, which he was. However, in a recent revelation on ‘Kenny Conversation’, Sadler revealed that despite the love from the masses, it was NASCAR who tried to keep his influence away from the growth of future stars of the sport.

Elliott Sadler finds it hard to relate to drivers these days

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With time, a communication gap was evident between drivers of different generations. The changing times have brought forth a change in how the sport has worked. The contrast has not just been superficial with other cars, rules, competitions, or even different racing styles. For Elliott Sadler, it is hard for another driver of the newer generation to relate to the problems he encountered in his younger days.

Speaking to Kenny Wallace, the former JR Motorsports veteran said, I don’t see a racecar driver every day to talk to, that has the same feelings and thoughts that maybe I went through. All of my good friends, I don’t see them all the time.”

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“So when I see a lot of you guys doing these podcasts with different drivers, and they start saying things, I’m thinking, ‘Hey, I’m thinking the same thing, or I was thinking it, or I didn’t know he was going through that’. The reason I’m leading up to this is being a popular guy, being a part of a certain group, my last four years in the Xfinity Series, the last three I won the most popular driver. That gave me the record for most popular driver awards in Xfinity Series history.

Sadler was named the Xfinity Series’ ‘Most Popular Driver’ four times. He is also the winningest driver for the award in Xfinity Series history. His records include a three-year run where he successfully racked up the award which ended in 2018 with his retirement from full-time racing. However, despite accumulating such accolades, Sadler feels that NASCAR didn’t really want him to win, which he recently revealed.

NASCAR’s promotion of young talent overlooked Sadler

With new and popular names joining the fray every day, the sports’ dynamic has undergone a massive shift. Perhaps, owing to this, NASCAR has been concentrating more on the younger talent pool, eventually phasing out older drivers. It seems the auto-racing body doesn’t really back them for their consistent popularity anymore, and Elliott Sadler was one of them. He spoke about how his ‘Most Popular Driver’ wins didn’t exactly satisfy NASCAR.

“The funniest part about being a part of that age in my group was that NASCAR hated it. NASCAR and Xfinity hated it because I was old. I was too freaking old to win it, and they had these ‘names made here,’ right? I just sc**wed the whole thing up, Kenny.”

NASCAR hosts the award ceremonies at the end of the year and commemorates the award winners and notable performers from the season. Having won three Most Popular Driver awards on the trot, Sadler had to visit the banquet regularly. Speaking about how NASCAR used this opportunity to portray him as a fading personality in the sport, Elliott said,

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“So look, we go to the first banquet in the first year I won it. They let me talk during the banquet. The second year, I won it, ‘Don’t think we got time for you this year at the banquet, Elliott. We might let you talk after the banquet, but you won’t be on TV,’ and I said, ‘That’s the only reason we went. Damn, I didn’t have the championship trophy. At least let me talk’.”

“The last year I won it, they’re like, ‘No we’re not even going to bring it up this year at the award ceremony’. So I’m going. If I’ve ever felt like being pushed out of something, not by my team. I get to NASCAR and Xfinity, and they’re trying to do all these promotions; they want these young kids coming up, but the freaking fans love me. I can’t help it that these young kids are coming in, and all they got to do is play freaking phone. They pushed me out pretty good.

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NASCAR’s interest in transitioning younger stars into stardom has worked out in the past. The process has given rise to superstars like Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, among many notable names. However, perhaps they can be more respectful towards drivers like Sadler, who have contributed so much to the sport in their careers.

 

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Written by:

Ansuman Abhisek

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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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