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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

2009 Season Review: Elliott Sadler

2009 Ride: No. 19 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge (35 races) and Ford (one race)
2009 Primary Sponsors: Best Buy, Stanley
2009 Owner: George N. Gillett Jr., Ray Evernham, Richard Petty
2009 Crew Chief: Kevin Buskirk (Feb. – Aug.), Wally Rogers (Aug. – Nov.)

Stats: 36 starts, 0 wins, 1 top fives, 5 top 10s, 0 poles, 26th in points
Best Finish: 5th – Daytona 500
Average Finish: 23.9

High Point: Elliott Sadler was just a lap away from being crowned the 2009 Daytona 500 champion. With no drafting help from behind, Sadler opened up too big of a gap in turn 4 on what would be the next to last lap, which allowed eventual winner Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick to draft past him on the frontstretch. The rain came soon after and so did the yellow flag, which was soon replaced by the red and then the checkered. When the race was called, Sadler was in the fifth position for his best and only top-five finish of the season.

Low Point: It’s hard to race with oil coming out the bottom of your car. That was the case for Sadler in the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard. His 40th-place finish at Indianapolis was his worst when he was still running at the end of the race.

Summary: The 2009 season was similar to those Sadler has experienced since moving to what was then Gillett-Evernham Motorsports midway through the 2006 season. The good news? Sadler only had two DNFs this season, crashing out at Fontana and Homestead. The bad news? He equaled that number in top-10 qualifying positions. With six starts of 40th place or worse, it makes it nearly impossible to fight back for top finishes.

Off-Track News: Sadler and his wife Amanda are expecting their first child in early March 2010. He also continues his very close involvement in the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation, helping kids affected by autism.

Team Ranking: Third out of four drivers/teams at Richard Petty Motorsports.

2010 Outlook: RPM merges with Yates Racing and will run Fords with drivers Kasey Kahne, Sadler, AJ Allmendinger and Paul Menard. Another year, another bucket list of changes, so expect another season of mediocrity for the Emporia, Va. native.

2006 Frontstretch Grade: D
2007 Grade: B-
2008 Grade: D
2009 Grade: D