Car number: 19 • Manufacturer: Dodge • Sponsor: Dodge Dealers
Owner: Ray Evernham
• Team: Evernham Motorsports
• Team Director: Josh Browne
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images
Final Points Standing
After First 26 Races
Lead Lap Finishes
2007 Spin Of all the teams in the top 30, this one may be the toughest to figure. Elliott Sadler is without question a talented driver, and Evernham Motorsports is one of the better teams on a weekly basis. So how could this pairing produce mediocre results in its 14 races together in 2006?
The answer could be one of two things. First, what was Ray Evernham's agenda concerning the 19 team once Jeremy Mayfield was shown the door? Was this an R&D team, running only to stay in the top 35 in Owner's Points and aid Kasey Kahne's title quest?
Or was it simply a case of a team and a driver finding common ground? Language, feedback and priorities change when a driver lands at a new team. Was this the case with Sadler and the 19 team?
Whatever the case may be, it is safe to say Sadler should enjoy more success in 2007 than he has over the past year and a half. EMS is obviously in better health than his former Robert Yates team, and one can't help but think Ray Evernham is willing to give the team whatever it takes to be successful.
Sadler must not let his confidence take a hit if the season gets off to a rocky start. He is known to hold himself too accountable when things aren't going right. If he keeps his chin up, shrugs off the bad outings and allows the team to take on its own identity with him as the driver, he could prosper at EMS.
While he hasn't yet fit into his new Dodge skin, it is hard to imagine that a driver with Sadler's talent won't prosper. The COT will be a challenge for this team, but Sadler has grown to become quite a versatile pilot. He'll need to lead the team through the phasing-in process, learning to better relay what he feels in the seat.
A win here is possible but not assumed. Let's work on top 5s first and let the wins come as they may.
2006 Recap Elliott Sadler was championship material until the 2005 Pepsi 400. That's when the slide that landed him at Evernham Motorsports began. At the time, he was fourth in the point standings, but a 21st-place run started a free fall that would land him 13th in the '05 season standings.
The 2006 season was supposed to be a year of redemption. His Robert Yates Racing team had proven it could run up front in the past, but Sadler just never got back on track.
Following a good showing at Daytona - an annual occurrence for Sadler - the team went back into free-fall mode, bottoming out at 22nd in the standings following the Brickyard weekend.
Two weeks later Sadler had new duds, donning an Evernham Motorsports uniform in place of outgoing pilot Jeremy Mayfield. A top 10 that began the new association was topped only by a sixth in Loudon four weeks later.
Sadler never seemed to adapt well to the Dodge setups, which was reflected in his 22nd-place points finish.
• The Good: In his first race for Ray Evernham, Elliott Sadler qualified second and finished 10th at Michigan. Not bad for the first day on the job and in a uniform that did not fit.
• The Bad: Sadler had a great car in the spring Talladega event but got hung out to dry late in the race. He went from the front to 16th when it counted.
• The Ugly: Sadler started with a provisional at the Brickyard and wrecked by himself on lap three before he even broke a sweat. He already was a lame-duck driver, but it was an ugly way to end his association with Robert Yates Racing.