Saturday, September 08, 2007

Elliott Sadler, Were You Watching Trackside on Speed?

One of the most enjoyable, fan-interactive shows on Speed TV is the Friday night "Trackside." During the second half of the year, Good-Old-Boy Elliott Sadler is one of four hosts, along with Steve Byrnes, Larry MacReynolds and Jeff Hammond. The tall Virginian brings a sense of fun to the show.

Many Sadler fans tune in to the show specifically to see him. Many other fans travel to Sadler's version of Mecca, known as Richmond International Raceway, to specifically see him. As the show opened, Steve informed the audience that Sadler was not going to be on the show. It is a pity, because Elliott may have been required to explain a VERY prominent sign in the background audience.

The sign stated: Sadler 19 We Miss the Barn Party. It was viewable during a majority of the program.

For those who are unaware, last year the Sadlers threw a hellacious party on their property, known as The Barn Party. Over a thousand fans were reported to be there, and Sadler brought in his buddy Blake Shelton for extra entertainment. This was actually the second event of the year for Sadler Fan Club fans, as there was a Karting event earlier in May.

This year, the Sadlers are hosting a bowling event in October, in conjunction with the Charlotte race. According to various message boards, this event has caused a bit of ill will with many of the fan club members. It was announced with such late notice, that many of the fans will be unable to attend. Those who will already be in the Charlotte area have already made their flight arrangements, and won't be able to change them without financial pentalties to the airlines.

If you go to Sadler Foundation Webpage you will discover a list of events from the past.

There are many issues hidden amongst those listings. For years, the Sadler boys held a Fan Appreciation Day the week before the Spring Richmond race. Many fans were planning to join the Day in 2004. Plans were made, airplane tickets were purchased, race tickets were purchased, and suddenly it was announced there would be NO Fan Appreciation Day, and there would be a different event in May. There had been repeated requests for more information from the Sadlers, from Elliott's business manager, his PR person, and indeed even from the SFC office. By the time it was announced, the Richmond bound fans could not change their plans. There were no appearances planned by Sadler during the whole weekend. Those fans put a brave face on it, had a wonderful time meeting with each other, but it still rankled. Those fans, myself included, have not forgotten that they did not feel in the least Appreciated.

Look carefully at the list at the Sadler Foundation site, there was NO event in 2005. Nope, none, nada, zip, zilch!

Here comes 2006. Elliott is struggling at Yates. He already knows he is going to leave for Evernham, and plans two events to bolster his popularity. Both events in 2006 were by all reports, awesome!

Then, 2007, there is no announced event until the end of August. Again, it left fans scrambling, as many fans plans were already formulated for the rest of the season.

One wonders how long the Sadler fans will tolerate this total lack of caring. When you look at the opposite extreme, the fans of Kevin Harvick can look forward to an awesome event every fall. The date for the fall event is always announced very early in the year. Fans of Kevin prepare for it, plan around it and talk it up even before the event is announced.

Another comparison is due here, also. Kevin's fan club event attendees take part in a meet n greet, and a signing. EVERY Fan Club member gets this. They do not pay for the event, nor the autograph. Sadler, long ago, abandoned the free events along with his Fan Appreciation day. Now, the events require payment to enter. For some of them, he even requires more money to have the privilege of getting an autograph. It is couched in Fund-raising, but at the same time, why must all events be fund-raisers?

If you step away from the fan events, and look at the treatment of his fans as a whole, it is apparent that his fan base is not quite as large as he would like. He has been signing souvenirs in closed haulers. I have reports of at least three signings this year where his fans were able to go through his line at various appearances 2 to 3 times. Three years ago, if you did not arrive 3 or 4 hours before and stake out your spot in line, you were not even assured of being able to see him. In addition, his fans are now being asked to participate in his on-line poker venture (currently free, but payment requirement is expected soon), and his online football/racing fantasy betting venture.

One hopes that Sadler will reevaluate his priorities. His fans are becoming more aware of how he feels about them. I am sure that the fans who spent an hour holding the sign at Speed TV's Trackside show are certainly more aware!


Anonymous said...

I saw the sign last night and just laughed as I was at his party last year too. I was pretty disappointed that he was not at Trackside. That is usually my only sighting of him these days because the TV broadcasters & cameras do not bother to show him or interview him during the pre-race or after. If he continues to fall in the points, he may get some mention, but we don't want that and neither does he.

I understand that many of Elliott's fans were planning on going to some events which were cancelled, but that may not have been up to Elliott. It's sad, but what can you do? Unless you know the true facts about why they were cancelled, people need to stop bad mouthing him. Elliott does have family, sponsers & other obligations that may have had a factor in that. I would hope that the fan club would have sent an apology though. If there are concerns, get it from the source first before broadcasting your opinions. I'm sure his fan club mgr (mom) or his business manager could give some sort of explanation. I, however, am a HARDCORE Sadler fan and always will be no matter what. Elliott is very special to me as is his family.

Go Sadler!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure folks would LOVE to know the "true facts" about recent events, and MANY have attempted to contact fan club and staff to get them! Sadly, most currently disgruntled fans (if not all) would have been more than satisfied with a single paragraph posted on the official message board letting folks know the game plan in ample time. That takes VERY little time, almost NO effort, and ZERO cost. It would also make blogs like this and others expressing the same sentiments totally moot! Nowadays, being a "hardcore" Sadler fan seems to involve way too much lip-zipping, teeth grinding, and suffering in silence. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Now that was an eye opener..I had no idea..I'm not a hardcore fan of Sadler but I liked him..He came across as a straight forward country boy..I wonder if the problems at Evernham have something to do with it..any way keep us posted...

Anonymous said...

When I look at what the blogger wrote, I wonder if she forgot about the SFC Fan packs this year. Didn't Sadler raise the price of the packs, promise something special in them, and then sent them out late? And weren't those packs stuffed full with a sticker, a hero card, and some expired Tylenol?

It sounds to me that Sadler is working towards a career in broadcasting. His career in driving in sure not going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Paradise Lost !

Please see:
texasadlerfan (

Her take on Sadler is adorable and kind of touching. Looks like he lost a big time fan there....

Could it be that Elliott Sadler is not the handsome prince he is thought to be? He make be a wolf in sheep's clothing or more likely a great looking snake with a few less brain cells than the average reptile.

Too bad.... he had something really wonderful going before it all went to his spoiled, little head.

Your writing is very enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

I guess I fail to see why Elliott Sadler owes you anything. Aren't fan events a bonus, not a right? His job is to race cars. It's nice of him and Hermie to host parties and such for the fans, but he is not obligated to do so.

Sure, if you join the fan club then you should get something for it (even if it is just a picture), but that would be more of a beef with the fan club organizer, I would think for failing THEIR job.

No one should ever ASSUME anything is going to happen...especially when it comes to celebrities.

Anonymous said...

Well 'Anonymous'.....There are many things, but the latest is now the man who used to do speedpark for free...well he is actually $80.00 now. They say a portion goes to his charity??? Well that is not the way to get charity funds. "I will give you an autograph, gotta give my "charity money""...aint telling you how much but... If you want charity funds the way to do this is a charity drive. Not to mention behavior that has been reported from some signings and such. (and I know SFC members who have personally experienced his behavior)When was the last time he or Brett, visited the SFC? Nope don't go there anymore, but am a member and word gets back...remember the promises made??? They still have people who have paid but can't access the board which is supposed to be a part of the deal. They have been contacted over and over but???? Where is their pride?? A site that is sloppy and mismatched, only slightly repaired after we contacted them several times about it, and still the response was quite flipant. Basically, they don't care what their fans think they can take it or leave it. Now this is not coming from all, I assure you, but some of the major players who should care the most.Where are all of the activities, the fun things promised on infield parking???? Have you seen anything??? What about the fan pack. Now I actually went down there packed them and sent them out, but... do your homework. We have a lot of kid fans...What in there was for them??? Better yet...what was in them period. Look at other clubs who pay the same, a little more or even less... you will be disappointed. Now I don't join for a pack, but the items you find in there are a show of respect and appreciation of your fans...I won't say more. I was just it me or is it tacky to advertise your other businesses on an "official" fan club website? I don't go there to buy a car...Yet... the message board rules do not allow the selling of even so much as un-used race ticket. So....hummm...rules are rules??This is just a little background for you... there is more oh so much more.But thinking about it gives me a headache.Does this change my loyalty to the; will I still be there for them...always; am I disappointed...very.

dawnphillips said...

I heard Sadler's mom (Belle) has breast cancer which led to the barn party being cancelled. I haven't "read" any news regarding this, but someone at the Martinsville Race last weekend was talking about it. So maybe we all ought to chill out as far as badmouthing Elliott until we know the truth of why he might be not so bubbly lately. I met him, he's awesome. But give the guy a break if this is true!

Anonymous said...

I hope you feel bad for posting this. The Sadlers have had a very rough time with their mom going through breast cancer. I pray something like this doesn't happen to your family someday, but if it does then I hope those around you have more sensitivity than you have shown this family.

Snafam said...

I usually don't respond to any of the comments to my blog. But it was pretty obvious that you have been searching for information about Bell Sadler's illness. (Yes, I have a hit tracker) No, I do not feel bad for posting this. But do note, I posted this last September. And yes, I did know that Bell Sadler was ill.
The actual subject of my blog was the way that fans were feeling mistreated. And from what I have read on other blogs AND in the comments on this blog, I am not the only one feeling this way. While the illness of a family member may require canceling an event, then it should have been announced that it was canceled. I do believe that Sadler has employees that could take care of a simple announcement.

However, go back an reread this. This is a pattern of activities starting years ago. While the illness of Miss Bell is a great reason for one event, it is not a reason or an excuse for the rest of the events.

Even now, the Sadler Fans are being jerked around on the next Barn Party. Check out the blogs of OneLugnutShort, as he is linked on my page. You will see the discontent is continuing.

And by the way, as far as having 'something like this' happening in my family, it has in the past, and is indeed happening today. But I did remember some basics, I found a way to cancel my appointments, and was able to inform the people who were depending on me, that I would be unable to fulfill my obligations. Something that over the course of several weeks, the Sadler business group found unable to do.

But, thank you for commenting.