Published July 09, 2010
JOLIET, Ill – Elliott Sadler is a free agent.
The current driver of the No. 19 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford said on Friday that he "has no future plans with this race team" beyond this season.
Sadler, who joined Evernham Motorsports for the final 14 races in 2006 and has remained in the No. 19 car throughout the transitions of Gillett Evernham Motorsports and now Richard Petty Motorsports, is currently 28th in the point standings. Despite leading four times at Daytona last weekend for a total of 11 laps, Sadler finished 22nd after Sam Hornish Jr. triggered a wreck late in the event. Sadler's best finish this season was 17th at Infineon Raceway last month.
This week, RPM hired veteran crew chief Todd Parrott to get the No. 19 team and Sadler up to speed.
"We need to run good," Sadler said. "I need to run good to further my career next year. They need to run good because they have great sponsors that they're trying to land and drivers that need to come back. Richard Petty needs to be a part of this sport, I think. So it benefits both of us for this car to run good the rest of this season. I think (team owner) Foster Gillett made a great commitment to me and this race team to go out and get Todd Parrott.
"We have a very inexperienced race team -- the No. 19 team. We've got a lot of young guys that have been in positions they've never been in before. We needed some type of experience and I need it on the other side of the radio. I'm a driver that needs a dominant voice on the other side of the radio to keep me in line and Todd definitely offers that."
With Kasey Kahne announcing his departure in April and Sadler's recent decision, that leaves RPM with drivers AJ Allmendinger and Paul Menard in the stable. Currently, both drivers have yet to solidify their 2011 plans.
Robbie Loomis, RPM's Vice President of Competition, would not offer the status of Allmendinger or Menard. Loomis said the team was "working on everything."
"We're trying to stay focussed on the performance of the race teams," Loomis said. "If we do that, then everything else will fall into place."
Although there are just 18 races remaining in the 2010 schedule, Sadler believes Parrott will bring stability to the team. Sadler, 35, is hoping that putting Parrott back on the pit box can rekindle some of the success the pair shared at Robert Yates Racing. Two of Sadler's three career Cup wins came behind the wheel of the No. 38 Yates Racing Ford.
"Drivers and crew chiefs fight for that chemistry all the time," Sadler said. "They're always looking for it. I think Todd and I have had some magic in the past. I called him and asked him, 'what do you think? Do you still want to be a crew chief? Would you like to work with me again?' I think he needs it just like I need it.
"Will we see immediate results? I don't know because he hasn't had his hands on this car like this week at Chicago. But you will see immediate results with my reactions in the car. He makes me feel so much calmer in the car. I understand what he's thinking. We've been on the same page today. I think we can be good week in and week out."