Despite four victories and sitting atop the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings, Elliott Sadler confirmed he will not be returning to Richard Childress Racing in 2013.
"We'll probably go our separate ways at the end of the season," Sadler said Friday at Richmond. "...It looks like I will not be a part of RCR next year."
Sadler cited the "stars not being able to line up" as the reason for his decision to leave RCR, but wouldn't go into specifics when asked.
As for which team Sadler lands with for next year, that has not yet been decided – at least officially – as the points leader said he has yet to sign "anything with any team." The rumor mill, however, has him headed to Joe Gibbs Racing to drive one of its Nationwide Series cars full-time, along with making limited starts in the Sprint Cup Series.
Sadler's services being in high demand is a far cry from how different things were the last time he was a free agent following the 2010 season. Then, few teams were willing to take a chance on the veteran driver who had struggled badly on the track after a disappointing and frustrating stint at Richard Petty Motorsports.
But now, after having successfully resurrected his career, Sadler says he has options – and plenty of them.
"I was at the bottom of the barrel when all this stuff happened at RPM," Sadler said. "... My stock and what people think of me as a race car driver is way different than it was two or three years ago. It's back to how it was when I drove the 38 car and we were successful being a part of the Chase and winning races."
Despite his uncertain future, Sadler is intently focused on winning his first NASCAR championship of any kind. And he is unconcerned his status as a lame duck will affect the chemistry within his current team.
"Richard promised me anything and everything to get this deal (championship) done," Sadler said. "... We both made a helluva commitment to each other for these last nine weeks to do everything we can to put our best foot forward and try and win this championship.
"We both want it and we both have the same common goal."
In a perfect world, Sadler knows exactly how he would like to see his tenure at RCR come to an end.
"I would love nothing more than to bring a championship to Richard," Sadler said. "He's a good man who has been great to me.
"... If I can look into Richard Childress' eyes at Homestead and give him that trophy, that will be the coolest."