News & Media

Sadler aims for title as time with RCR nears end

September 07, 2012, David Caraviello,

RICHMOND, Va. -- Elliott Sadler's father is a longtime Chevrolet dealer, and the driver grew up a fan of Dale Earnhardt. So when Sadler moved to Richard Childress Racing prior to this season, nothing gave him a bigger thrill than walking through the shop seeing all the reminders of the Intimidator, and hoping to add a little something to the organization's legacy himself.

Sadler in the NNS

Since full-time return
Lead-Lap Fin.2722
Laps Led181251
Avg. Start8.76.8
Avg. Finish9.87.2

"I would love nothing more than to bring a championship to Richard," the Nationwide Series points leader said. "He's a good man, and he's been great to me. He's helped resurrect my career, to be honest with you. It would be an honor to be able to put something on the wall before we leave for the man that was on the car of your hero growing up."

This season may prove his only chance. Sadler confirmed Friday at Richmond International Raceway that he's likely to part ways after this year with RCR, which has two younger drivers in the Camping World Truck Series waiting to move up. Sadler, who has won four races this season and led the Nationwide Series standings for 13 consecutive weeks, moved to RCR this year after his program at the former Kevin Harvick Inc. was merged into the Childress franchise.

He doesn't believe his likely departure will affect his title hopes. "It's not every day you get a chance to win a championship or win races week in and week out," Sadler said. "I saw Tony Stewart and Darian Grubb win a championship knowing they were going to be somewhere different the following year. I've seen Matt Kenseth compete at a very high level all summer long, and I think is a legitimate threat to win the championship on the Cup side. We're going to do the same thing. Me and my guys are very focused."

Stewart's former crew chief Grubb was released after last season despite winning the title, and Kenseth stands third in Sprint Cup points despite his looming move from Roush Fenway to Joe Gibbs Racing. Sadler said he and RCR are "probably going to go our separate ways," at the end of the season. RCR has young, race-winning drivers Joey Coulter and Ty Dillon -- the latter also Childress' grandson -- in the Truck Series waiting to move up to the Nationwide level.

Sadler said he's speaking to other teams about potential rides in the Nationwide and Cup tours. He believes his stock has increased during the past two seasons on the Nationwide circuit, which followed a tumultuous stint with Richard Petty Motorsports at the Cup level. He said his phone is ringing more than it once did, although he doesn't yet have anything lined up for 2013.

"Right now I don't have anything with any team," he said. "I don't know. That day will come. We're working on some things and we are talking to some different teams, and I believe something will come together. But I made a promise to myself this week. I'm going to worry about controlling the things I can control. I'm not going to worry about anything else."

* Sound Off: Sadler ponders his racing future