By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Since 1995, Elliott Sadler has been a staple of NASCAR racing, where he’s made a name for himself across all three national series. However, the pilot of the No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet Camaro for JR Motorsports announced Wednesday that he’ll retire from full-time competition at the end of 2018.
In his press release, Sadler, 43, said the tough decision was influenced due in most part to focus spending time with his wife Amanda and becoming a father figure to his two children.
“It’s time for me, as a Dad, to help kids pursue their dreams,” said Sadler. “Wyatt is 8 and Austyn is 6 and both of them are active at school and in extracurricular activities. I want to be with them for all of their special moments.
“I want to be there to hug them when they do well and dust them off and send them back out there when they fall. It’s time for me to be the full-time Dad that I want to be.”
With 12 races left on the Xfinity Series calendar, Sadler is still looking for that elusive series championship, and will not only look to end his career on top, but it’s also his primary sponsorship’s final season being involved at a high capacity.
“We’re going to finish 2018 doing everything we can to go out on top,” said Sadler. “I love my guys and appreciate everything they’ve done for me since I came to JRM. It has been so much fun racing for Dale (Earnhart, Jr.) and Kelley (Earnhardt) because we’ve known each other for such a long time.
“It’s always fun to win and celebrate but it’s even more fun to do so with lifelong friends. I’m going to give everything I have in the playoffs to end my career on a high note.”
Sadler is currently tied in second in the regular season standings, alongside Daniel Hemric, just 17 points behind leader Christopher Bell.
In 383 Xfinity Series starts, he has 13 victories, with his latest being at Kentucky Speedway in September 2016.
He’s also collected 18 poles, 102 top-fives, and 219 top-10s. Sadler has also finished runner-up in points five times, including the last three straight seasons.
Outside of Xfinity, Sadler has had his share of success in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, driving full-time from 1999-2010.
He was responsible of bringing the iconic Wood Brothers back to victory lane at Bristol in March 2001, their first win since Morgan Shepherd at Atlanta in March 1993. Sadler’s performance was unique as he came from 38th to win, and pitted on the treacherous backstretch.
Sadler made the inaugural Cup Series playofs for Robert Yates Racing in 2004, where he won twice at Texas and Fontana. Sadler finished a career-high ninth in points that season.
In 20 Camping World Truck Series starts, he has finished in the top-10 in half of those races, and became the 21st driver to have won in all three series after winning at Pocono in July 2010 for Kevin Harvick Inc.
“As I look back, I’ve had an amazing career thanks to an overwhelming amount of support from so many family members, friends, team members, corporate partners and fans,” said Sadler. “I know I’m going to miss seeing all of ya’ll week in and week out. The people are what make our sport so special.”