Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas, Elliott Sadler! Santa Claus, or Out Clause?

There are times when humor and irony are so overwhelming, that one cannot help but laugh. So it was today, for me, as I returned from a day of shopping, to discover an article by Marty Smith at, blaring out the title of "Sources: Gillett Evernham putting Allmendinger in Sadler's No. 19 Dodge" In this article, Smith reports that multiple sources have reported that Sadler was given notice before Christmas that he was being replaced by AJ Allmendinger, in the #19 Dodge at Gillett-Evernham Motorsports.

There were many, who after seeing AJ's performance in the last few races of 2008, commented that AJ was doing better than both Sadler, and the latest Budweiser poster boy, Kasey Kahne. Out of five races at the end of the year, "The Dinger" scored 3 Top 15's, with a 4th finish at 16th. Sadler, in the same 5 races, in equipment that was considered to be better than the 10 car, and with a familiar crew and team, scored his highest position at 25th!

Now really, it is easy to see that GEM would be courting AJ with everything up to and including Roses and Chocolate! AJ took a car, crew and equipment that have had a history of spotty finishes, and started giving CONSISTENT results. AND he was finishing better than the supposed stars of the GEM stable!

Where does the humor and irony come in? Check it out, and decide for yourself!

  • May 2008, AJ and Sadler had an on-track incident at the All-Star Race at Lowes Motor Speedway, leaving a frustrated Sadler to refuse to use AJ's name and referred to him as "Whatever his name is!" (Later, after Elliott and AJ supposedly made up, AJ's puppy bit Sadler. Smart Puppy!)
  • Sadler's Technical Director Rodney Childers, has scampered away to join Micheal Waltrip Racing, joining former Sadler TD Josh Brown!Sadler, over the last few years, has run through several TDs/Crew Chiefs. Regular listeners to the Sadler Scanner report consistent whining about the car, with the TD always placating Sadler to make him feel better. This has been a pattern stretching back into the Pre-Yates days, when Michael McSwain reportedly left Yates after his first test with Sadler, saying they would never get along. (Check out 'Witch Hunt' by fellow blogger One Lugnut Short, for the 'Sadler Crew Chief Report!)
  • Sadler himself invoked an 'out clause' from his contract to leave Robert Yates Racing mid-season 2006. He left for the 'greener pastures' of Ray Evernham's team, leaving Yates scrambling. When it became known at about the same time that Dale Jarrett was leaving Yates also, taking his UPS sponsorship with him, it left RYR in disarray, with Robert never able to recover and retiring at the end of 2007.
  • The above linked article states that some of Sadler's sponsors were reported to being shocked and wanting to leave with Sadler. Really tiresome! We heard the same thing when Sadler abandoned M&M's! For some reason, Sadler has a reputation of being a "Sponsor Favorite!" Yet in 2006, M&Ms/Mars, who was widely reported to being ready to leave with Sadler, exhibited great loyalty in staying with Yates, and indeed sponsoring both Yates cars in 2007. M&M's likely never regretted that, not only because of poor results from Sadler in 2007, but because it left them open to sponsoring the 18 car of Kyle Busch, who won 8 times for the Mars company in 2008. I don't really think any of Sadler's current sponsors, once over the shock, will regret this move anymore than M&M's/Mars.
  • Sadler is reported to be a 'fan favorite' also. Yet, during 2006 and 2007, his fan club members were reporting heavy-handed restrictions on his fan forum, a sparse fan pack that included expired Tylenol, and very little of the promised Driver interaction on the payed fan club forum. It didn't get much better in 2008, at there have been no updates to the site since the off-season. Indeed, it is a few short days away from the New Year, and there is yet any information on Fan Club membership for 2009. Many former fans are still feeling disgust over previous shenanigans of Sadler and his entourage.
  • And one more irony on this whole 'rumor?' Marty Smith, the writer of the 'sources said' article is the same one that released the information early in the 2006 season, that Sadler was bolting to Ray's team. Marty knew about it months before Sadler made his proclamation of I am leaving Yates, but I have not personally talked to anyone about a job' (paraphrased) and yet a week later he was driving the 19. Marty seems to have an 'in' with Sadler.
  • AND, for regular listeners of Sirius radio, we know that Sadler has been a no-show quite often for his weekly radio interview slot. AJ makes it on time, every time! And, he is far more enjoyable to listen to, in my humble opinion!
With all that I type, I find that I still have to remind myself that this is still a rumor only. However, Marty Smith has a lot of 'Credibility Points' and I think this will be interesting to watch as it unfolds. But with every sober reminder, I then find myself giggling hysterically, as I mutter about grass being greener, and 'Out Clause is the cousin of Santa Claus!'

Jeremy Mayfield is probably giggling hysterically, too!