In some corners, news of Elliott Sadler’s sacking at Gillett Evernham Motorsports came as something of a shock. Apparently, to Sadler himself – understandable, given that he’d signed a two-year contract extension earlier this year.
Still, is being shoved aside in favor of AJ Allmendinger all that surprising? Since winning twice in 2004, the 33-year-old Sadler has managed just four other top-five finishes in the subsequent four seasons. And while fully 50% of those occurred in 2008, it’s safe to say GEM and its sponsors expected a bit more in the way of performance from the personable Sadler.
Enter Allmendinger, a just-turned 27-year-old who performed well in limited duty with Red Bull Racing in 2008. But, worse for Sadler, Allmendinger performed very well in the final five races of the year for GEM, with an average finish of 16.4. And Sadler? His average finish over the same stretch was 31.8.