By Cory Mccartney
May 24, 2010

Fans think they know their favorite NASCAR drivers, but what do they really know beyond what they see on the track? I've made it my mission to ask the questions that matter. OK, they probably don't matter but they should give fans a new perspective on some of today's top drivers.

This week we go Inside The Helmet with Sprint Cup driver Elliott Sadler.

Cory McCartney: You had a hoops scholarship at James Madison. Which position did you play?

Elliott Sadler: I was a [shooting] guard and I was about 6-3 in high school and I could jump out the gym and I was very athletic. My arms are way longer than my body; my [wingspread] is like 6-6 ... I was really good at defending the ball. I could really shoot off the dribble.

CM: Who would you have equated your game to?

ES: Wow. That's a hard question. I liked Kenny Smith, from the University of North Carolina. I also like [Jameer] Nelson, who plays for the Orlando Magic right now. Both of them can really push the ball off the court, they always handle the ball with their head up all the time and they're great passers. One thing I always did my whole senior year in my conference was I led everybody in assists and in scoring and I was second in steals. I always felt like I kept all players in the game and could see the floor very well.

CM: I saw you on the preview to the Racing Chef. Is the fried bologna your speciality?

ES: I think that's what I'm known the most for because I ate so many at South Boston Speedway that night -- I ate 16 of them. They named the grandstand after me, not only because of what I did on the racetrack, but because of how many bologna burgers I ate there in one night.

I have a few different things, but I feel like I can compete with anybody cooking-wise. I love cooking, it's kind of a release for me.

CM: You've been in two Blake Shelton videos, Ol' Red and Some Beach. Is that the dream; if you weren't driving, would you be in country music?

ES: I'm a huge music lover, I probably have 12 or 13 guitars. I love just following different artists from different genres. Yes, I would love to be some type of entertainer, whether it be a comedian or a country music singer. I've gotten on stage with my buddy Blake Shelton at a couple of his concerts and I've been in a couple of videos which were a ton of fun to be around and be a part of. I love the lifestyle that they live; to be able to go on stage and do something that's very fun and people just hanging on to every song and every lyric that you sing.

CM: As a music lover, if you had to pick one album you couldn't live without, what would it be?

ES: It would have to New Jersey by Bon Jovi.

CM: What's your favorite track off that?

ES: There's five or six [songs] on that album, as soon as I hear that first beat, I can just sing at the top of my lungs. [Jon Bon Jovi] just has so much good music. I have a guitar in my office signed by Bon Jovi and that's one of the coolest pieces of memorabilia that I have.

CM: You've been known to raise Walker Hounds. How many do you have these days?

ES: I only have 40 right now. I've been raising dogs for a long time. We have about 60 behind the house; 40 of them are mine and 20 of them belong to my buddy who came into business with me about five years ago.

CM: Do you name all of them, or can you even keep that straight?

ES: Definitely, every one of them is named. What we try and do is when we have a litter of puppies, we try and name them all a certain thing. Perfect example: The last litter of puppies that we named last year were all named after the Transformers movie. We had some of them that were Autobots and we had some that were Decepticons.

When I was driving the M&Ms car, they were named after the different kinds of candies that Mars made, like Starburst and Skittles, and of course M&Ms and Snickers and stuff like that, Twix. I've had a batch named after steaks.

That helps me keep up with who's who, because when you have 40 dogs to take care of, it's easier to keep them straight when you can keep them all named the same like that.

CM: As a new dad [son Wyatt is 12 weeks old], what is the one thing that you wish people would have told you going into it?

ES: That's a good question. People try to tell you all this advice before you become a dad, but the biggest thing is that when he's hungry, he's hungry like right then. You can't communicate with them, you have to go off him crying and you have to learn how to read each individual cry.

Sometimes he'll be eating and everything will be going fine and he'll start screaming at the top of his lungs. I'm like 'what did I do and how do I fix it?' It's never three in the afternoon when you have plenty of time to figure it out. It's always at night when you're like 'OK, I just woke up. Make yourself feel better so we can all go back to bed.' That's how it seems to work out most of the time.

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