Elliott Sadler has over 19 years of experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, racking up a total of 751 starts, 14 wins and 26 pole awards. Sadler comes from a long line of drivers in his family, including his Uncle Bud Elliott and father Herman Sadler, who competed at short tracks in Virginia. Climbing behind the wheel of his first go-kart at age seven, Sadler captured more than 200 victories before moving onto the heavier stock cars. At the age of 18, Sadler joined the ranks of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, and claimed the track championship title at South Boston (Va.) Speedway in 1995. His success served as a stepping-stone to the NASCAR Xfinity Series when he caught the eye of team owner Gary Bechtel. Bechtel tabbed the young driver to pilot his car in a full-season Xfinity Series effort in 1997. Since then Sadler has been competing and making a name for himself in his sport.
Sadler and his wife Amanda live in Emporia, Va., with their two children, Wyatt and Austyn. Off the track, Sadler enjoys playing softball, hunting and spending time with his family. He also is involved in breast cancer awareness and autism awareness through the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation. The Hermie and Elliott Sadler Charitable Foundation is dedicated to raising autism awareness and promoting research for a cure while also supporting initiatives that improve educational opportunities for children and their families. The Foundation provides support to projects that share the ideals and concerns of the Sadler family.
AE: What were some of the first few thoughts that popped into your mind when you found out that you were going to be a dad?
Elliott Sadler: Oh man responsibility. (Laughs.) That was the first thing. I wanted to provide for my family, be a good dad, and a good role model. Be a loving father figure to my kids. The biggest thing that I would say was the word responsibility.
AE: What are some of the core values you look to instill in your children as they grow up?
ES: Honesty is number one. Work hard, play hard. I am a big sports guy. I played six sports in high school. I want my kids to be active socially. Be involved and really communicate with people. I am from a very small town where honesty is a very big deal. A handshake is what it is all about. So that is what I look to instill in them.
ES: My family is here this weekend. They get to come to some of my summer races. I am very fortunate to bring both of my kids to some of my races. My wife is a school teacher so my kids aren’t really allowed to miss any school. They have to stay in school.
I have a great wife who understands what I do for a living with my travel. She does a good job of making the kids understand where daddy is at. The travel part is by far the hardest part. Having them here with me today makes everything okay. No matter what happens tonight win, lose, or draw I get to go back and spend time with my family.
AE: What advice do you have for new dads?
ES: Enjoy the moment. There is nothing like it. The first time I heard my son cry when he was born was the best day of my life. There will be rough days. There will be great days, but enjoy every single moment of it. Honestly life has sped up since I became a dad.
Life of Dad Quick Five
AE: What is your favorite family movie?
ES: Polar Express. We watch if four thousand times especially with Christmas coming up.
ES: My son and I like Country music. Seeing Red by Dustin Lynch or anything Blake Shelton or Luke Bryan sings. My son and I will sing those. Not well, but we will sing them. My daughter is pretty sassy. She and all of my nieces are into dancing. So anything by Fifth Harmony.
AE: Describe the perfect family vacation.
ES: Nags Head, North Carolina. We love going out there and hanging out on the beach. It is very laid back and down to earth. We just spend time with each other.
AE: What was the first car you purchased?
ES: The first car that I purchases was a Mustang GT when I was sixteen years old.
AE: For NASCAR fans who haven’t been to a race which track would you recommend for them to check out for their first live race?
ES: Oh man, that is a really good question. Bristol. The Bristol night races are hard to beat. You sit so close to the track. There is so much action there. If I had to take somebody there to persuade them to be a NASCAR fan it would definitely be at Bristol.