Elliott Sadler has decided to call it a career. The 3-time Cup winner, 13-time Xfinity winner and 4-time Xfinity championship runner-up will leave full time driving with JR Motorsports at the end of 2018.
Earlier in the season, Sadler learned that longtime sponsor One Main Financial would not return in 2019. That left Sadler searching for sponsorship and ultimately this statement was a product of that.
After much consideration and many conversations with my family, I’ve decided this will be my last season racing full time in NASCAR. (Full Statement: https://t.co/iLQnNG215o) pic.twitter.com/cKEclUt55F
— Elliott Sadler (@Elliott_Sadler) August 15, 2018
With Sadler now leaving JR Motorsports that opens up a coveted seat at one of the Xfinity Series top teams. Three out of their four cars will compete for a championship this season and in 2019 they have said they want four cars to compete. Meaning they’ll have to add two more cars to run five in total for that to happen.
With Sadler out, who replaces him in the #1 car?
T-Bayne has been rumored to join JRM since Matt Kenseth came back to split the #6 Cup car with him against his wishes. Bayne has a few million dollars in sponsorship with Advocare that he could use to land in the #1 car.
Bayne has two career Xfinity wins with the most recent coming in 2013 at Texas. Bayne also won the 2011 Daytona 500 as he appeared to be on the fast track to the Cup series. Some medical setbacks and underperformance held him back from joining the Cup ranks until 2015.
Trevor Bayne can drive a race car but ultimately the Roush spin cycle has set him back and made everyone question his abilities. Getting away from RFR could be the career rebirth he needs.
The current driver of the #18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra could be searching for an Xfinity ride. Gragson isn’t TRD’s top choice on the development ladder and he and his team likely know that. Meaning he could be looking for a new home.
Insert JRM who operates off funded drivers. Gragson brings sponsorship with him and could very well land in the #1 or potentially convince the team to field a 5th car for the 2019 season.
Gragson has two truck series wins and has started three Xfinity races this season with Joe Gibbs Racing recording two Top 5’s and three Top 10’s. Granted he was in the best equipment money can buy but this season Gragson has appeared more focused than he was in 2017.
Drivers who won’t be in the #1
JRM operates off funded drivers, that’s how they field cars. The team doesn’t have a plethora of sponsors coming in because if they did Josh Berry would be in a truck or xfinity car. Here are drivers that won’t be in a JRM car;
Ryan Preece, people keep tossing his name around but he doesn’t have the sponsorship package for it.
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