Owner: Robert Yates • Team: Robert Yates Racing • Crew Chief: Todd Parrott
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty images
Final Points Standing
After First 26 Races
Lead Lap Finishes
Below is the ranking of the team on each type of
track along with the driver's best finish.
1st, Texas, California
2005 Spin Elliott Sadler finally lived up to the expectations Robert Yates had after hiring him three seasons ago to pilot the M&M’s Ford. Sadler was able to stay in the top 10 all year and qualified for the inaugural Chase for the Championship. We have ranked him 12th for the 2005 season — not because we expect him to backslide, but because other teams are picking up the pace.
Look for Sadler and crew to notch a win or two at the intermediate tracks and record a bundle of top 10s. The experience of competing for a Championship was invaluable for Sadler last season. Another feather in his cap is teammate Dale Jarrett. DJ is the perfect mentor for a young driver, and any improvement for the UPS team should translate into the same for the M&M’s bunch.
For this team to climb to the next level it must improve on the short tracks. The Yates guys have the flats, intermediates and supers figured out. His fifth-place run at Bristol aside, Sadler was a mid-pack car at all six short track events.
We figure if Sadler can keep all four tires on the ground at Talladega, he may sneak in a win there. Robert Yates has an underrated restrictor plate program, and with more experience, Sadler should be a threat in the near future.
The goal for every Nextel Cup team is to make the Chase for the Championship. Both Yates teams had a shot at qualifying for the Chase. Elliott Sadler made the cut — teammate Dale Jarrett did not.
Sadler had success on the intermediate tracks with two wins, six top 5s and seven top 10s. He is now an established winner and should carry that confidence for years to come.
A couple of years ago, some doubted Robert Yates when he tabbed Sadler as his driver for the future. It appears Yates may have the last laugh after all.
Sadler finished the year in disappointment after floundering in the final 10 races. After an impressive run in the first 26 races, it looked as though Sadler would be a great darkhorse pick in the Chase. It was not to be.
Sadler is one of only four drivers to be in the top 10 in points for all 36 races of the 2004 season. This team has nothing to be ashamed of; it had a great year.
• The Good: The wins at California and Texas boosted the confidence of the entire team. It is important for the driver to know that the car can win. Equally important is the crew knowing the driver can do the same.
• The Bad: Outside of one top 5 run, the overall performance on the short tracks was not good. In six starts the M&M’s team had only three lead lap finishes.
• The Ugly:The performance in the Chase races was a huge disappointment — only three top 10s with the other seven finishes being 20th or worse.