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A Day at the Races With Elliott Sadler

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Every race weekend is different for me – and this past weekend was no exception. Follow me behind the scenes on a race day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH.


Saturday, July 21

7 am – Wake up!
It’s race day I usually stay in my motor home, which has all my creature comforts for the race season. When you travel 33+ weeks out of the year, it’s nice to have somewhere to call “home.” This weekend, however, I stayed at the team hotel near the track.

7:30 am – Breakfast
Four eggs over medium, bacon and toast.

8 am – Shower, get ready, connect with the family
My kids, Austyn and Wyatt, stayed home this weekend with my wife, Amanda. We live in Emporia, VA, and it’s right in the heart of baseball season. I try to connect with the family as much as possible to see what is going on at home today.

9 am – Head to the racetrack
I stayed at the team hotel, which is just a short drive to the race track. It’s a beautiful day – and no threat of rain.

9:30 am – Team meeting and strategy talk
Once I arrive at the track, I head to the No. 1 team hauler. This is the 18-wheeler that travels from race to race with all of the tools and supplies, as well as our primary car and backup car. During this time, we go over our strategy for the day and any specific goals for the race.

10:30 am – Prepare for qualifying
Since I don’t have my motorhome at the track, I’ll hang in the hauler lounge with some of the team or head to a friend’s motor home.

11 am – Qualifying
I head out to pit road to prepare for a few rounds of qualifying. We ended up 10th – but I think we have a better car than that for the race.

Noon – Qualifying debrief with No. 1 team and crew chief
This time is important in order to tell Kevin, my crew chief, anything in particular that I felt during qualifying. We are unable to make changes to the car after qualifying is over. This is called “impounding.” We will try to make some adjustments once the race starts.

12:30 pm – Snack: banana and a piece of candy
Since it’s going to be a hot one, I try to keep my blood sugar up while I’m running around to my afternoon activities.

1:30 pm – Driver/crew chief meeting
The driver/crew chief meeting is mandatory each race. This is where the important sponsors of the series and race are introduced and all the rules for the race are presented to the drivers and teams. This is mandatory – and if you are late or do not make it, you must start from the rear of the field at the beginning of the race.

1:40 pm – OneMain Financial hospitality appearance
This is one of my favorite parts of the day. Today, we had a group of employees and investors for our sponsor, OneMain Financial. I was able to meet everyone at their hospitality motor home and spend time answering a few of their questions.

The question I receive the most? What happens when you have to go to the bathroom during the race? (Hint: You either don’t… or you do).

2 pm – Lunch: chicken and rice
I try to eat the same thing before each race because I know how my body is going to react to the food. There’s nothing worse than a stomachache during a 3-hour race in 100+ degree heat. So, chicken and rice it is!

2:30 pm – Relaxation and race preparation
This is the calm before the storm. I really try to just sit in the air conditioning for a bit and relax prior to the race. My team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is in the NBC booth for the weekend, so I’ll text him to see how he’s doing today.

We became friends 20+ years ago, and it’s been a great experience to race for JR Motorsports with him and his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller.

He’s still a fan favorite – so it’s such a cool experience that OneMain is providing fans.

Such a cool opportunity to get to spend time at the racetrack and get in a car with the one and only Dale Jr! Be sure to sign up.* (see details below.)

3:30 pm – Driver introductions and pre-race
The excitement really builds during this time. The drivers are introduced on the main stage, and we head to the car where there are several sponsors ready to take photos. After the prayer and the national anthem, I have one last chat with Kevin Meendering, my crew chief, and strap into the car.

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4 pm – 200-mile race Kevin, my crew chief, made some great strategy calls today. He put us in a position to lead some laps and get a top-three finish, but the yellow flag came out during the green-flag pit cycle, and we just weren’t good enough there at the end on restarts. We wanted to see it go green until the end. We ended up with an eighth-place finish here.

6:30 pm – Post-race media interviews and debrief with team After the race, I make sure to get some water to rehydrate as soon as I get out of the car. I debrief with my team while I’m still on pit road, and there are several media outlets that wait for interviews.

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8:30 pm – Fly home I catch the JR Motorsports team flight back to Charlotte, NC. When I land, I have about a 4-hour ride back to my home in Emporia. Can’t wait to see my family!

Our next race is Saturday, August 4, at Watkins Glen International at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC.


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