Elliott Sadler is as ‘happy as I’ve ever been’

DARLINGTON, SC - AUGUST 31: Elliott Sadler, driver of the #1 Armour Chili Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway on August 31, 2018 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

Until he got behind the wheel of the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet on Friday morning, Elliott Sadler hadn’t sat in a race car since his exit from JR Motorsports at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November.

But that doesn’t mean Sadler hasn’t been enjoying the radical change to his life retirement from full-time racing has brought. And even though he’s returning for two races this season—at his home track of Richmond and at Las Vegas—Sadler has no regrets about his decision to step away from the weekly routine.

“I’m as happy as I’ve ever been in my life,” Sadler said on Friday at Richmond Raceway. “I definitely made the right decision stepping away full-time. I was worried when Daytona came. I really was. Wondering how I was going to feel – how I was going to take it. But it was right on my son’s birthday, and we had a cool birthday party.

“This cures kinda a little bit of the itch to come back here to my home track, and we’ll come back to Vegas in the fall – but I don’t regret my decision at all. I love being a fan of the sport at home. Been very happy with this decision.”

Even though he’s not running for points, Sadler nevertheless felt butterflies as Friday night’s ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race approached.

“I was nervous this week—I’m not going to lie,” Sadler said. “It’s got a way different feel to it, coming to run one race as compared to each and every week knowing what’s going on and everything going inside the garage. It had a pretty good feel.

“I didn’t sleep much this week wanting to come here, excited and nervous and all of that good stuff to come back to my home track. It was a little different. Different team, different car, the switches are in a different spot and gas, brake and clutch all work a little different – steering wheel a little different. It was good to be back in the office for a little while.”

Sadler finished 12th Friday night.