In the end, Elliott Sadler lost out on substituting for Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Fed Ex Toyota. But the full-time Nationwide Series driver, working for Joe Gibbs Racing is still going to get his shot at the Cup Series – albeit on a limited basis.
The Virginian announced Friday he’ll drive three races for JGR, starting at Kansas in two weeks wheeling a No. 81 car sponsored by Alert Energy Caffeine Gum. The new product, made by Wrigley’s is targeted for adults, ages 25-49 who want to control the amount of energy boost they’re getting “on the go.”
“Wrigley and Mars are proud to continue our partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and look forward to working with veteran driver Elliott Sadler,” said Tim Conlin, one of Wrigley’s Senior Brand Managers in announcing the move. “And we’re especially excited to give NASCAR fans the chance to be among some of the first people to see and try Alert Energy.”
As of now, Sadler will drive the car at Kansas in April and both races at Talladega although the team is hoping to run more if funding can be found. This partnership marks a reunion of sorts, as the former Cup driver drove for a Mars-sponsored car (M&M’s) full-time in the Cup Series from 2003 through 2006 with Robert Yates Racing.
“I’ve been lucky to have a long history with Mars, Inc. and am very excited about working with them again in launching this new product,” Sadler explained. “After trying it, I’m a big fan of Alert Energy gum. With my busy schedule, it helps keep me going from one thing to the next – so it’s a perfect match.”
Sadler, 37, has 430 career Cup starts to his credit, along with three victories. But he has only raced once on that level since the conclusion of the 2010 season, stepping back to drive full-time in Nationwide. That start came in the 2012 Daytona 500, where he ran 27th for Richard Childress Racing.