AJ Allmendinger to Replace Elliot Sadler

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IDecember 28, 2008

It looks like the merger between Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Enterprises is going to cost one driver his job—Elliot Sadler.

Sadler piloted the No. 19 Dodge in 2008, but according to ESPN.com, multiple sources close to the organization have confirmed the change…

AJ Allmendinger has limited experience at the Cup level, but he really stepped it up after being taken out of his No. 84 Toyota for multiple races during the past season.

In 2008, Allmendinger made 29 starts with two top-10s, including a career best of ninth at Kansas in September. He also won the Sprint Showdown in Charlotte to make the All-Star Race…

Sadler, on the other hand, finished 24th in the driver points and had 8 top-10s and 2 top-5s in 2008, including a fourth place showing at The Brickyard in July. 

Sadler has three career wins in 10 seasons, but has not visited Victory Lane since 2004.

According to the article on ESPN: “GEM CEO Tom Reddin told team employees and sponsors the news just before Christmas, causing some sponsors to consider leaving, according to team sources.”

The article continues to say, “Sources also said Ray Evernham, who founded the team and sold majority ownership to George Gillett, cleared out all personal possessions from the team’s shop, including the 2002 Brickyard 400 trophy he won as owner of Bill Elliott’s No. 9 Dodge.”

With Allmendinger’s addition to the driving stable, GEM will field at least three cars—No. 9 Kasey Kahne, No. 43 Reed Sorenson [who was originally set to drive the No. 10] and the No. 19 for Allemendinger. No mention was made of who—if anyone—would drive the #10.

According to Fox Sports, Sadler is rumored to the No. 41 Chevrolet at Earnhardt-Ganassi or the No. 77 Dodge at Penske Racing.

The site says Sam Hornish Jr. may be headed back to the Indy Racing League after current driver Helio Castroneves faces trial and possible jail time over IRS charges.

The same article on Fox Sports said that former DEI driver and reigning Rookie of the Year Regan Smith, will drive the No. 78 for Furniture Row Racing in 2009.