Elliott Sadler didn’t have to leave mom behind this time.
In September, Sadler had a hard time leaving Bell Sadler’s hospital room in order to travel to Kentucky Speedway for the first race in the Xfinity Series inaugural Chase. After being reassured she would be OK and to focus on the playoffs, Sadler went out and won the Chase opener.
Having made it to the final round, Sadler will compete for his first NASCAR title in today’s Ford EcoBoost 300. Even better, Bell will be on hand.
“My mom and dad are coming down,” Sadler said during Championship 4 Media Day. “They’re looking forward to this opportunity. They’re coming to hopefully share a good moment. But to see her travel and be here is definitely going to give me some inspiration on Saturday.”
Bell will travel with her doctor, Sadler’s best friend, in case something should happen. There will be plenty of other friends and family making the journey as well.
But Sadler’s mother is “definitely at the top of the list.”
Sadler has always been close to his family, particularly his mother. When his son, Wyatt, was born in 2010 and had to have surgery, it was Bell who Elliott leaned on.
A breast cancer survivor, Bell was rushed to the hospital a week before the Kentucky race following complications from gallbladder surgery. Sadler said she also has some septic issues. The mental toughness Bell has shown through everything she’s experienced has left Sadler developing a strength of his own behind the wheel.
“She has been in the hospital now for a couple of weeks and got her energy back up and her strength back up,” Sadler said. “She was fired up this week. She wanted me to stay focused and make sure I had my head on straight when I came to Miami.
“She came by to visit me to send me off on my way before I came down (here). She’s back to her old ways. She wants her son to be focused. That’s her text message I get before every race: Stay focused. That was the word I got (Wednesday) before I left. So she’s back to her old self.”
Sadler would become the fifth oldest Xfinity Series champion in history (41 years, 6 months, 20 days) should he win the title, something that would mean the world to the NASCAR veteran.
“The title will mean a lot,” Sadler said. “I have been through a lot of ups and downs. Lucky to be here. Went through a time in my career I could have easily got pushed to the side and never been able to race again. To kind of battle back, put ourselves in this position again means a lot to me and my family. We want to go make the most of it.”