An Associated Press report published today suggests that Best Buy, Elliott Sadler's sponsor on the No. 19 Richard Petty Motorsports car for the past couple of years, will move to its teammate, the No. 43 car, which A.J. Allmendinger will drive for the 2010 season.
Best Buy began its relationship with Allmendinger this season at Darlington, when they sponsored his No. 44 car as he finished 17th. Allmendinger also finished seventh at Sonoma and 23rd two weeks ago at Charlotte with Best Buy on the hood.
Best Buy sponsored Sadler in 19 races this season, including the Sprint All-Star Challenge, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Sadler's best finish this season was a fifth place in the Daytona 500.
The move is one of marginal elevation for the Richfield, Minn.-based company: Allmendinger sits one spot ahead of Sadler in points, although their records this season are virtually identical: 32 starts, no wins, a top-5 and four top-10s apiece.
The move leaves the No. 19 with one primary sponsor, Stanley Tools, which has covered 22 races over the course of this season (19 with Sadler and 3 with Allmendinger).
However, the move also strengthens Richard Petty Motorsports as a whole; instead of putting together a multi-million dollar sponsorship package for Allmendinger, they only need to patch holes for both Sadler and Allmendinger, a much easier task. RPM also has experience with this method, having utilized it all year with Allmendinger's car and the No. 43 of Reed Sorenson.
Thus far, the biggest supporters of those two teams have been McDonald's and Valvoline, with 10 races apiece. Hunt Brothers Pizza sponsored eight races for Allmendinger this season, with the last one this weekend at Talladega. Charter Communications covered seven races, but none since Phoenix in April. Super 8 Motels, the Air Force, and PVA.org have also sponsored RPM cars this year.
Ideally, RPM will fill its sponsorship gaps with the companies that have already appeared on its cars this year, giving them three fully-sponsored and factory-supported teams for next year.
Pending the potential addition of Paul Menard and his family sponsorship, RPM could finally have a financially stable four-car team for the 2010 season.