Sponsors have always rewarded one of three things in NASCAR.
A good driver, a driver with prevalent potential; or a marketable face (Cue Danica Patrick, or Dale Earnhardt Jr.).
So how did Elliott Sadler get so lucky?
If you do not follow the series, or you are one of those people that when someone new takes the lead at Daytona you ask, "Is this the Sprint Cup Series?", then I will explain.
Sadler is 28th in points so far this year, with a top finish of 17th, but yet he has fairly major sponsors in the series: Stanley Tools, The United States Air Force, and Hunts Brothers Pizza.
Sadler drives for Richard Petty Motorsports, a prestigious team in the sport, with teammates Kasey Kahne, A.J. Allmendinger, and Paul Menard.
Sadler is the lowest in the standing in his team, and with his contract running out at the end of this year, who really expects him to be back at RPM next year?
Some Sadler fans will tell you his troubles branched from RPM swapping over from a Dodge, to a Ford. But as you may remember Sadler drove a Ford most of his career. Including in 2004 when he finished 9th in the standings, and had a career best 2 wins while driving for Robert Yates.
Now don't get me wrong, 28th is a respectable position to be mid-way through the year, but he has finished in the mid-20's for the last 4 years in the points.
So back to my original point. How did Sadler manage to take those amazing sponsors away from so many other deserving drivers? Such as Regan Smith, Bobby Labonte, or Travis Kvapil who are in critical need of sponsors. If they had the equipment of Sadler could they out-run him? I think so.
What Stanley Tools, the Air Force, or Hunts Brothers are thinking, I do not know. Maybe they are wanting out this year, maybe they'll move on to better teams.
We'll just have to wait and see.
This is solely my opinion, and Elliott could come back from his drought, but at this point of the 2010 season, I personally do not think so. I may be proven wrong, which I hope I will be, because I do not "hate" Elliott as some has stated, I want success for everyone; including Elliott.