ELLIOTT SADLER Driver, Father, Husband
About ElliottElliott Sadler joins JR Motorsports in 2016, ready to vie for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship in the No. 1 OneMain Chevrolet.
The Emporia, Va., driver has more than 19 years of experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, racking up a total of 751 starts, 14 wins and 26 pole awards. And he’s ready for more.
Sadler comes from a long line of drivers in his family, including his uncle Bud Elliott and father Herman Sadler, who competed at short tracks in Virginia. Climbing behind the wheel of his first go-kart at age seven, Sadler captured more than 200 victories before moving onto the heavier stock cars. At the age of 18, Sadler joined the ranks of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, and claimed the track championship title at South Boston (Va.) Speedway in 1995. His success served as a stepping-stone to the NASCAR Xfinity Series when he caught the eye of team owner Gary Bechtel. Bechtel tabbed the young driver to pilot his car in a full-season Xfinity Series effort in 1997.
Sadler wasted little time in proving his ability, capturing the pole for the season-opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. He rounded out his rookie year with three more pole awards, his first-career Xfinity Series win at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway and two additional victories finishing fifth in the point standings.
In 1999, the Wood Brothers, fellow Virginians, signed Sadler to his first fulltime NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride in the No. 21 entry. In his 75th start, Sadler earned his first-career Sprint Cup Series win in 2001 at Bristol Motor Speedway after starting from the 38th position, the farthest starting position any driver won from at Bristol.
After four seasons, Sadler moved to Robert Yates Racing. He completed the year with two pole awards, two top-five and nine top-10 finishes which earned him a 22nd-place finish in the point standings. The 2004 season proved to be a breakout year, striking early at the season opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway by winning the outside pole for the Daytona 500. Later in Speedweeks, he won one of the Twin 125 qualifying events, giving primary sponsor M&M's their first ever trip to Victory Lane. Success continued throughout the season as he clinched a position in the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Sadler was one of four drivers to remain in the top 10 in the driver championship point standings the entire season and rounded out the year with two wins, eight top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. He finished ninth in the final standings.
In 2005, Sadler was strong out of the gate, remaining in the top five in the point standings throughout the first half of the season. Late-season difficulties, however, plagued the No. 38 team as they narrowly missed qualifying for their second-consecutive Chase. After three seasons with Robert Yates Racing, Sadler joined forces with Gillett Evernham Motorsports as the driver of the No. 19 Sprint Cup Series entry. He took the wheel of his new ride at Michigan International Speedway in August 2006 for the final 14 races with his new team posting two top-10 finishes. In 2007, Sadler led 62 laps, posted two top-10 finishes and finished 25th in the driver point standings. He finished a season-best sixth at the Daytona 500. Sadler went longer than any other driver (29 races) before failing to finish a race in 2007. The 2008 season saw several highlights including a fifth-place finish at New Hampshire and a fourth-place finish at Indianapolis while leading 21 laps during the season.
In 2009, Gillett Evernham Motorsports teamed up with Petty Enterprises to create Richard Petty Motorsports. Sadler closed out the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season with one top-five and five top-10 finishes.
Upon entering the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup series season, RPM changed manufacturers and served as a tumultuous year for Sadler and RPM. Sadler recorded only one top-10 finish, but the highlight of his season was his eighth-career pole at Texas Motor Speedway in November. Branching out from the Sprint Cup Series in 2010, Sadler took the opportunity to jump behind the wheel of a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series entry for Kevin Harvick Inc.,(KHI) for the first time in seven years. In only his fifth start, Sadler earned his first-career Truck Series pole and win at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The win marked an emotional turning point for Sadler as he visited victory lane for the first time since 2004.
2011 served as a season of rejuvenation as Sadler joined KHI in the Xfinity Series in efforts to win the series championship. In his first fulltime Xfinity Series schedule since 1998, Sadler drove the No. 2 OneMain Financial entry to five pole awards, 12 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes, earning the runner-up position in the point standings. His return to the Xfinity Series proved to be a hit with the fans, who voted Sadler the 2011 Xfinity Series Most Popular Driver.
KHI merged with Richard Childress Racing in 2012, with Sadler continuing his pursuit of the Xfinity Series championship. In the best season of his career, he earned four wins, five pole awards, 15 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes, but fell just shy of the championship scoring a second-place position in the Xfinity Series driver championship points standings.
Sadler moved to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013 and 2014, along with OneMain Financial. In two seasons, he garnered one win, one pole award, 16 top five and 45 top-10 finishes. Sadler finished in the fourth position in 2013 and third in 2014 in the run for the Xfinity Series championship.
In 2015, Sadler joined Roush Fenway Racing in the Xfinity Series for one season, notching four top-five and 17 top-10 finishes with crew chief Phil Gould. The team earned a sixth-place finish in the Xfinity Series championship.
The 2016 season will be one of reunion and continued determination. With old friend and team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., Sadler has his eye set on the Xfinity Series championship moving to JR Motorsports.
“It’s an honor to be in the position to represent JR Motorsports and OneMain on and off the track next season,” Sadler said. “I’ve known Kelley and Dale Jr. a long time, and I respect their passion and desire to win in this business. I’m proud to partner with OneMain and continue our longstanding relationship.”
Although 2016 marks Sadler’s debut as a full-time JRM driver, he’s certainly familiar with competing under the company’s banner. In 2010, Sadler made four starts for JRM in NXS competition, earning a best finish of seventh at Michigan International Speedway.
Sadler and his wife Amanda live in Emporia, Va., with their two children, Wyatt and Austyn. Off the track, Sadler enjoys playing softball, hunting and spending time with his family. He also is involved in breast cancer awareness and autism awareness through the Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation.