2009-01-08 / Sports

Elliott Sadler Released, Will Sue

By Gerald Hodges TE RACING REPORTER

Elliott Sadler Elliott Sadler Elliott Sadler is ready, willing and able to continue driving Gillett Evernham's No. 19 Dodge in the Sprint Cup series.

He has a signed contract that stipulates he will be in the driver's seat through the 2010 season.

Sounds pretty simple doesn't it?

Wrong.

ESPN reported last week that Sadler had been replaced for the 2009 season with A.J. Allmendenger.

But Sadler was the last to know about the change and through his attorney, John Buric, has filed an "application and order extending time to file complaint."

In layman's terms, if Gillett Evernham isn't willing to pay Sadler for the remaining two years on his contract, then he is going to sue.

Sadler has until Jan. 20 to file an actual complaint if he and his former team cannot come to terms on their dispute. According to the affidavit, Sadler plans to seek "injunctive relief, declaratory relief/specific performance, consequential and punitive damages as a result of Defendants anticipatory and actual breach of Plaintiffs' Driving Services Agreement." Sadler's lawyers also seek "general, consequential, treble and punitive damages, and attorney fees, as a result of Defendants' tortuous interference."

Sadler said he did not know there had been actual negotiations between the team and Allmendenger until he received phone calls about media reports that Allmendinger was being lined up to replace him.

"Elliott is ready, willing and able to fulfill his contractual obligations," Buric said.

Sadler joined Evernham Motorsports midway through the 2006 season after leaving Robert Yates Racing. He posted a top-10 finish in his first race, but has had only 11 top 10s in the past 85 starts.

He has three wins in 357 starts with 18 top-five finishes and 63 top 10s. His last win came in 2004 at California Speedway while driving the No. 38 Robert Yates Ford.

Barnes wins Polar Bear 150

After practice last Thursday, Brett Hudson made the bold statement that he and Chuck Barnes Sr. were going to be the class of the field come race time.

He was right. The two dominated for most of Thursday afternoon, trading the lead back and forth through a myriad of cautions.

Unfortunately for Hudson, Barnes' luck held as the laps wound down. Hudson's did not. Barnes, who started from the R.A. Jeffrey's Distributing Co. pole, took advantage of a blown engine in Hudson's Chevy Monte Carlo with 10 laps to go to take the checkered flag in the inaugural Polar Bear 150 at the Rockingham Speedway Thursday afternoon.

"We definitely had something for them at the end," said Hudson. "I knew we had a problem on the last caution, the water pressure was up and down. I was hoping it would hold until the end."

Hudson finished 32nd. "We were in second, third or first until the break," said Barnes of Louisville, Ky., in victory lane. "We came in and changed tires and the guys did a little bit of changing on it, and we came back out and got out front and stayed there."

Clinton, Ind.'s Anthony White, the NASCAR Technical Institute's Hard Charger of the race award winner, finished second in his first start on a paved track.

Rounding out the top-five were Clint Watkins of Maggie Valley, N.C. and Bonaire, Ga.'s Tim Jensen and Tony Conway of Louisville, Ky.

The driver called "Pops"

Curtis Turner was one of racing's earliest stars and perhaps its most controversial driver. He won 17 NASCAR races and 17 poles in a career that started in 1949 and ended in 1968.

Perhaps Turner is most remembered because of his suspension from NASCAR competition by Bill France Sr. from 1960 until 1965, after he tried to organize the drivers for the Teamsters Union.

In a storybook comeback in 1965, Turner won a 500-mile race at North Carolina Motor Speedway on October 31.

But what makes him stand out is the way he lived out his life.

He was a racer, party-thrower, moonshine hauler, pilot and timber baron.

He threw parties that lasted all night and sometimes several days. A small party would consist of 250-300 people. Some came for the whiskey, while others came for the dancing, lie swapping and music.

"He could really throw them," said Bobby Allison. "I was just a young, hot shot driver at the time, but he could put on some big shindigs. I remember one time the police coming in about daylight and asking him if he didn't think it was too late to party."

"It didn't bother him, I think he just said something like, 'hell no, it's just beginning.'"

Curtis Morton Turner was born in 1924 on a small farm in Floyd County, Va. Like most early racers, Turner's heritage included moonshine running.

During World War II he served in the U. S. Navy. After the war he went back to running moonshine but now he was getting pursued. After one run he found three bullets embedded in the rear of his 1942 Ford coupe.

Turner was always restless. He threatened to retire from racing after every big timber deal, but he usually wound up broke. This happened several times.

The years in which he started building the Charlotte Motor Speedway were the most tumultuous of his life. The bitter struggle with finances caused him many problems.

The financing of the speedway by Turner and his group of backers was very marginal to begin with. They started out with $2.3 million, but construction costs soared and Turner scratched, begged and borrowed from everyone.

"Turner was one of my early heroes," continued Allison. "But the thing about the man is he could do so much. He could have made it in practically anything he chose. That's how smart he was."

"He had that sixth sense that just told him where he needed to be on the track. That sometimes means more than horsepower or handling. He just had it. That's all I can say."

Turner died in a 1970 plane crash at the age of 46.

To read the complete story go to: www.race500.com.

Next week: The Demise of the "Kings" Kingdom

Racing trivia question: Which NASCAR series does Matt Crafton compete in?

Last week's question: How many wins did Kyle Busch get in 2008? Answer. He had 21 overall wins, including eight in the Cup Series.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@earthlink.net.

Return to top