Sadler has deep history with J.D. Gibbs
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Elliott Sadler claimed the Nationwide Series runner-up trophy for the second consecutive season during November’s year-end awards banquet in South Beach.
But it was an earlier meeting in the Homestead-Miami Speedway infield that most affected Sadler's future. He signed a contract to drive a Nationwide entry for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013.
"Saturday at 1:45 p.m. in the Toyota bus, we signed a contract with Gibbs," a smiling Sadler said shortly after his second-place acceptance speech at the banquet.
He said JGR president J.D. Gibbs called him in September once it became apparent that Sadler's tenure at Richard Childress Racing was ending this season.
"To be asked to be part of such a great organization... I was pretty overwhelmed by it."
-- Elliott Sadler
"I've been friends with J.D. a long time. We used to race late models against each other, and he's someone I've called for advice from time to time, business stuff, sponsor stuff, racing stuff. When he made the first phone call to me asking if I had any interest in joining with them, that was a pretty cool phone call to get as a person.
"To be asked to be a part of such a great organization, a winning organization... I was pretty overwhelmed by it."
Sadler said he had an idea of whom his crew chief would be but wasn't comfortable sharing that until the team made a formal announcement.
Brian Vickers, the 2003 Nationwide champion, already has signed with JGR, and 2009 series champion Kyle Busch also is rumored to be with the team in 2013.
OneMain Financial will carry its sponsorship of Sadler's car from RCR to JGR, serving as the primary sponsor on the No. 11. The company also will have associate sponsorship on two additional JGR Nationwide entries.
"We are thrilled to continue our incredibly successful presence in the NASCAR Nationwide Series," said Mary McDowell, president and CEO of OneMain Financial. "Our customers and employees are huge supporters of this great sport, and we could not be happier to continue our relationship with Elliott Sadler and team up with Joe Gibbs Racing in this new partnership. Elliott and our racing program were integral components of the OneMain Financial brand launch last year, and we are looking forward to continuing to leverage this platform to grow our brand and our business in 2013."
Sadler, a three-time Sprint Cup Series winner, indicated that part of the reason he signed with JGR was the possibility of him moving into a Cup ride in the future.
"You guys know my goal, where I want to be before I hang up my helmet," Sadler said. "You know I want another shot at winning some Cup races, another shot at being a part of the Chase, another shot at winning the Nationwide Series championship.
"It hurt finishing second after pretty much leading the entire season, but I really feel like the avenue and position I will be in at JGR is going to lead me down a pretty cool path."