Race Weekend Central

Sadler Top Choice To Replace Hamlin

Elliott Sadler will get an extended audition at the Sprint Cup level, pending approval from sponsor Fed Ex as the substitute for Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 car.

Sources have told the Frontstretch Elliott Sadler has been chosen as the primary sub for Denny Hamlin. All that’s preventing an official announcement, as of Wednesday AM is a few details to work out with sponsor Fed Ex. Sadler, who was long pegged as the likely choice is driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series and was scheduled to drive a fourth Cup car in a limited schedule later this season. That Cup announcement has been put on hold due to Hamlin’s injury; ironically, Sadler’s expected fill-in role will serve as an extended audition.

Sadler has been runner-up in the Nationwide Series championship the last two seasons after taking a step away from Cup competition. In 430 career Cup starts, beginning in 1998 he’s won three times, collected 19 top-5 finishes, 69 top 10s and eight pole positions. His last start was in the 2012 Daytona 500, running 27th after being at the epicenter of a multi-car wreck early on that wiped out several contenders. Michael Waltrip Racing had hired him for a limited schedule after that, but Richard Childress and Chevrolet, his employers at the time blocked his deal with the No. 55 car due to manufacturer conflicts. That put current teammate Brian Vickers in that seat, which now opens the door for Sadler on this side (Vickers will drive for MWR in Martinsville in two weeks).

There are no conflicts on the Nationwide schedule that would affect Sadler until early June.

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