“He’s been so close … so often. He’s almost like the Mark Martin of this series. Mark finished second so many times in the (Cup) championship.”
Martin finished second in the Cup standings five times without winning a championship. Sadler has finished second four times in the Xfinity Series and has not been worse than sixth since rejoining it fulltime in 2011.
Sadler knows the burning question is how he can shed the bridesmaid role. He also has a firm grip on what that is going to take.
“Justin (Allgaier) and Christopher (Bell) have pretty much told us you’re gonna have to win to advance,” Sadler told Marty Snider at Tuesday’s Xfinity Media Day. “They have been extremely fast – especially here lately. They’ve got nine wins between them.”
And with those nine wins, the playoff bonus points that ease their way to the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
To join them in Miami, Sadler has to keep from getting swept into the temptation to make something happen that the handling of the car will not support.
“As a driver, you’ve got to understand not to get too high and not to get too low – to try and stay even tempered because the intensity is definitely ramped up and you can get yourself in trouble here real quick and the next thing you know you’re digging yourself out of a hole,” Sadler said.
Petty agrees. While Sadler’s lack of a championship does not detract from his career any more than it did Martin’s, earning that elusive honor is going to be tough for the very reasons Sadler identified.
“He’s probably mentally in a better place this year, but he’s going up against a couple of guys in Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier … that he believes are already in Homestead,” Petty said. “He’s going up against guys that are having career years.”
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