RICHMOND, Va. - Wood Brothers Racing confirmed Friday that driver Elliott Sadler has asked to be released from his contract at the end of the season, which immediately prompted speculation where he would land.
Speculation around the Richmond International Raceway garage area had Elliott driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2003, in either Michael Waltrip's No. 15 or Steve Park's No. 1 Chevrolets.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he hasn't thought about replacing either driver, but he left the door open by saying if anything changed, word would come from either him or Sadler.
Eddie Wood, the second generation owner of the Stuart, Va.-based racing team, said Sadler hasn't asked for or would receive a release during the current campaign.
"Yes, Elliott Sadler did ask for release from his contract beginning with the 2003 racing season," he said. "First of all we want to clear up one thing: Elliott Sadler will be in the No. 21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus for the entire 2002 Winston Cup racing season as planned. It was rumored that he was being released or wanted the release immediately. Both of these statements were false.
"As far as the issue of the release is concerned, we are working toward a solution that will satisfy both Elliott Sadler and Wood Brothers Racing. We're going to try to work things out and if it works out, then we got to figure out who is going to be our next guy."
Fifteen different drivers, including Sadler, have won races for the Wood Brothers, which started on the NASCAR circuit in 1953.
PETREE, JONES AND FORD: Andy Petree Racing, which has dropped one of its two racing teams to a part-time effort while it looks for sponsorship, apparently will switch from Chevrolet to Ford next year.
The deal is being orchestrated by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who is buying a piece of Petree's operation.
Ford and Jones have talked about Petree receiving help from the factory. That could mean about $7.5 million in parts, pieces and technology.
I WANT MY MTV: A new television show on MTV called All Access will feature stock car driver Kyle Petty.
The show will portray celebrities in their daily routine. What makes Petty's episode so unusual, he's the only person being featured who doesn't have musical ties.
"I did offer to sign a little bit for them," Petty said.
Petty aspired to be a singer 20 years ago. In fact, he once opened for Hank Williams Jr.
MTV crews were at the California Speedway last week filming highlights of Petty's racing weekend.
"It's a little bit different deal because of who they are but it's pretty much the kind of thing we've seen in this sport, too," Petty said of the sport's overflowing popularity. "Getting our race team and Sprint in front of the MTV audience is a good deal and it's important. This is something that's good for the sport, just like it's good for Petty Enterprises."
All Access will debut in July.
PIT STOPS: A new rumor circulating around the garage area is a plan by International Speedway Corp. to move both of its races from the North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham to give California and either Texas or Las Vegas a second racing date. ISC owns the North Carolina and California speedways, as well as 10 other raceways on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series circuits. The track in Rockingham has become increasingly more difficult to sell out since it's less than 90 miles away from the Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and only 40 miles away from the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. ... Larry Hicks, the man who saved and revived car owner Jack Roush following an airplane crash in southern Alabama last month, will be a guest at Richmond tonight. He will watch the race from a suite.
Reach Don Coble at email@example.com.