FOX NASCAR reporter and veteran NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler, who covers pit road for FS1 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series, is back behind the wheel this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Two days after covering Wednesday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Bristol, Sadler will jump behind the wheel of the No. 14 TriStar Motorsports Toyota for Friday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race.
Between his FOX NASCAR duties and racing schedule, Sadler, who lives 75 miles from Richmond, still finds time to own and operate a restaurant; serve on the board of directors for a professional wrestling organization; manage the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation, which raises funds for various charitable organizations for the advancement of autism research; and be a father to three daughters, one of whom is autistic, and a husband to their mother.
Sadler recently talked about his life, his job and his return to competitive racing this weekend in this Q&A.
Question: You’ve spent the past week-and-a-half with your mother, Bell, at the hospital in Richmond. She has had a tough road. How is she doing now?
Sadler: “She was very ill and was diagnosed with septic shock, and her infection was traced back to her gall bladder. It caught us off guard a bit, but fortunately, between the doctors in Emporia (Va., hometown) and in Richmond, they’ve done a great job of caring for her. The experience has brought our family closer because Elliott (Sadler, brother), Missi (Sadler, sister) and I have pulled together to support our mom through this and also help our dad, who isn’t in the best health. We’re hoping she will be out of the ICU by Wednesday and home by the weekend.”
Question: Your oldest daughter, Cora, just went back to UNC-Chapel Hill last weekend for the fall semester of her sophomore year. You’re a UNC grad. How much did the fact you graduated from UNC influence her decision to enroll there last year?
Sadler: “Cora grew up going to sporting events at UNC with me and knows of the friendships I have with UNC folks and how special they are to me. But we never discussed any of that while she was making her decision. She’s really excited about being back this week with her cheerleading friends and in her apartment. We found out a couple of weeks ago that she made Varsity Cheerleading this year as a sophomore, so she will be traveling to cheer the Tar Heels on versus Georgia on Labor Day Weekend. I will be in Canada for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, but hopefully, I will be able to catch it on TV. But I should be able to make three home football games this season, weather permitting on the NASCAR circuit.”
Question: You and your wife have a house full of girls. What are your three daughters’ ages?
Sadler: “I’m seriously outnumbered in my house by 4-1. Cora is 19, Halie is 18 and Naomi is 13.”
Question: When you announced you were driving the No. 14 TriStar Motorsports Toyota in the NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Bristol and Richmond, you tweeted you needed to “delete 30 pounds” before Bristol. How much of a joke was that and are you on a diet?
Sadler: “I poke fun at myself because I’m concerned about being able to zip my uniform all the way up. I don’t want to be Jimmy Spencer with my firesuit zipped only halfway up. Although I’d like to lose a few pounds, the main thing I’ve been focusing on is hydrating better. I don’t race often anymore, and the cars are hotter inside than they used to be. I am down about 10 pounds from three weeks ago. I’ve cut out a daily ritual. For years, every single night at 4:15 a.m., my internal clock wakes me up, sends me to the kitchen and makes me get a Rice Krispie treat and a glass of milk. That had to stop. I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll get to drive a race car, so I want to make sure I’m in the best condition I can be and not fall out of the seat.”
Question: Back in June, you tweeted out a picture of a driving lesson gone awry with your daughter, Halie, complete with a car stuck between some trees. What happened?
Sadler: “Halie is my 18-year-old autistic daughter. Although she’ll probably never drive, we have been trying to push her outside her comfort zone on some things. So, we’re working on the components of a learner’s permit. I usually am the one giving Halie driving lessons, but Cora (19-year-old daughter) was with her on our property. Halie was in the driver’s seat with Cora outside the car, leaning into the driver’s window showing her turn signals and so forth. Halie got a little mixed up, put the car in reverse and then hit the gas instead of the brake. She backed Cora’s car all the way down our backyard and into the creek. If you ask Halie what happened to Cora’s car, she says, ‘It fell in the creek.’ We all got a huge laugh out of it, but fortunately, no one was hurt. Halie’s not the only one in our family who has ever torn up a vehicle.”