Sadler to drive No. 19 Dodge

Updated: January 9, 2009, 2:40 PM ET
By Marty Smith | ESPN.com

Gillett Evernham Motorsports and driver Elliott Sadler have reached an agreement that enables Sadler to retain his position as driver of the team's No. 19 Dodge, thereby moving AJ Allmendinger to a part-time ride.

"We are a family. Sometimes in a family you have differences," GEM's CEO, Tom Reddin, said in a prepared statement. "We have resolved all differences. We are moving on and excited about heading to Daytona."

ESPN.com first reported Dec. 27 that GEM intended to replace Sadler with Allmendinger for the 2009 Sprint Cup season in the No. 19, despite the fact that Sadler had signed a multiyear contract extension in May.

The following day, Allmendinger's agent, Tara Ragan, confirmed to NASCAR.com that her client was in final negotiations with GEM. Ragan did not specify that those negotiations centered on the No. 19.

As a result, Sadler felt compelled to take legal action. On Dec. 31, John Buric, Sadler's attorney, filed notice in Iredell County (N.C.) court saying the driver intended to claim that GEM had breached his contract, which ran through the end of the 2010 Sprint Cup season.

Sources said the team was left with two choices: buy out Sadler's existing contract or let him drive.

Sadler said his desire to race prompted him to take action.

"I want to drive. I'm a racer and that's what I do," he said in the statement issued by GEM. "We are all on the same page now and I think you will see that show on the track."

As for Allmendinger, it seems he will drive a fourth GEM Dodge on a limited basis.

GEM issued a news release Thursday announcing its merger with Petty Enterprises, in which it was stated that the three-car team plans to field a fourth entry in eight races during the 2009 season.

Marty Smith covers NASCAR for ESPN.com.

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