News & Media

Sadler 'close' to settling on 2013 plans

September 25, 2012, Joe Menzer,

Nationwide Series points leader says focus remains on 2012 season for now

WELCOME, N.C. -- Elliott Sadler said Tuesday that he is "close" to determining where he will be working next season, but said first he must focus on taking care of unfinished business this season.

Sadler currently drives the No. 2 Chevrolet full-time for Richard Childress Racing in the Nationwide Series, where he is the current points leader by a slim margin. But he already has said he and RCR will be splitting ways at season's end.

Nationwide Series

2.R. Stenhouse1,0104
3.A. Dillon99519
4.S. Hornish96846
5.J. Allgaier911103

He also has said that he would like to make a return to NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series as soon as possible, and reiterated that point Tuesday after an appearance at RCR where he helped promote the Bank of America 500 that will be run Oct. 13 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Sadler raced full-time in the Cup Series from 1999 through the 2010 season, with three wins and eight poles in 430 career starts (including one this season) before returning to the Nationwide Series. His best Cup season came in 2004 when he won two races, made the inaugural Chase for the Sprint Cup and ultimately finished ninth in the point standings.

"My goal as a driver is to be back in the Cup Series and make the Chase as a Cup driver. That's my No. 1 goal," Sadler said.

Asked if he expected to have that chance in 2013, Sadler hedged and replied, "Uh, I don't know. We're working on some different things. But my No. 1 goal is to have that opportunity, to be a part of the Chase again."

Sadler dropped down to the Nationwide Series in 2011 and finished second in points to champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. while driving for Kevin Harvick Inc. Sadler moved over to RCR when KHI closed its doors at the end of last season, and currently leads Stenhouse by four points and RCR teammate Austin Dillon by 19 in a tight Nationwide points race with just six races remaining in the season.

Sadler said he's mainly focused on finishing off this season the right way before worrying much about next season.

"We're just talking to a couple of different teams, hoping to work something out soon," Sadler said. "I don't want to say I don't care, but it's not at the top of my list. It's not my top priority right now. I've got way too much to worry about and focus on with this [Nationwide] championship. This is where I'm at now and this is what I want to do. Next year, to me, doesn't mean anything if I can't finish off this year first. So that's kind of how I'm looking at it."

Sadler enters this weekend's race at Dover with four wins and three poles to go along with 12 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes in 27 races this season. In 191 career Nationwide starts, he has earned nine wins and collected 14 poles.

All of which he said speaks for itself. Sources have confirmed that one of the teams he has been talking with is Joe Gibbs Racing, which appears willing to offer him a full-time Nationwide ride and a limited Cup schedule for 2013 with the possibility of a full-time Cup ride developing by 2014 if full-time sponsorship can be found for a fourth JGR Cup car.

"We're close. We're talking to three teams right now, so we'll see," said Sadler, while declining to offer details on which teams he has been negotiating with. "I'm just kind of late to the party, getting out there and meeting and greeting with everybody."