LONG POND, Pa. - Elliott Sadler's rookie season hard knocks took another difficult blow Saturday.
The driver who enjoyed limited success on the NASCAR Busch Series before making the fulltime jump into the Wood Brothers Ford on the Winston Cup Series, crashed in the first turn at the Pocono Raceway during second round qualifying for the Pennsylvania 500.
His car was demolished and the driver was sent to Penn State Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital 20 miles away for x-rays on his left foot.
"I was trying to get all that I could out of the car," Sadler said. "The car drove great. I just jumped on the gas just a little too early and it wiggled on me a little bit and came around. I hit nose-end first. It's just a shame. This probably been the worst weekend of racing I've every had. I don't know why, but everything seems to be going wrong so far."
The Wood Brothers blew two engines before first round qualifying Friday. Counting the engine and car that was lost in qualifying Saturday, the team is more than $150,000 in the hole. And there's still 500 miles to race today.
Morgan Shepherd practiced in the backup car Saturday afternoon. That will allow him to jump in the car in relief if Sadler's too sore to finish the race. It also allowed the team to get a second opinion on the car's setup.
X-rays showed no break in his left foot. Sadler was back at the raceway Saturday afternoon, but he watched the final hour-long practice session from the garage area.
Sadler's Ford will start 40th. The team had to use one of its provisional exemptions to make the starting lineup.
BARRETT PACES SECOND ROUND:
Former stunt driver Stanton Barrett was the fastest second round qualifier Saturday of those who elected to not stand on their first round speeds. Barrett ran 167.532 mph to earn the 30th spot in the starting lineup. Four other drivers - Brett Bodine, Bobby Hamilton, Kenny Wallace and Hut Stricklin - stood on their first round speeds and maintained their starting spots, 26th-through-29th, respectively. The two drivers who weren't fast enough to make the starting grid were Derrike Cope and Morgan Shepherd. Drivers who had to rely on provisional exemptions were: Bill Elliott, Chad Little, Kyle Petty, Elliott Sadler, Jerry Nadeau, Geoffrey Bodine and Darrell Waltrip. Provisionals are alloted to the six highest-ranking teams in the points race who aren't among the fastest 37 qualifiers. A seventh provisional is allowed for a former Winston Cup Series champion.
Teams made dramatic changes to their cars following the qualifying session, and that's why many teams starting at the back of the pack are faster in the final practice session and the cars up front are much slower. Pole sitter Mike Skinner, who qualified at 170.451 mph on Friday, was more than 6 mph slower in the final practice session. In fact, his Chevrolet was 13th-quickest in Happy Hour. The fastest car in the final session was Ward Burton's Pontiac at 165.502 mph, followed by Mark Martin at 165.444, Jeremy Mayfield at 165.338, Sterling Marlin at 165.259 and John Andretti at 165.244.
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