Sadler to leave Yates team after 2006

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Robert Yates Racing will let Elliott Sadler out of his contract at the end of the season.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:35 IST
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Robert Yates Racing will let Elliott Sadler out of his contract at the end of the season. It's another blow for the Yates team, which also will lose long time driver Dale Jarrett and sponsor UPS to Michael Waltrip's new team at the end of the season. "We would like to thank Elliott for his commitment to our organization over the past four seasons and for all the success we've enjoyed together," said team owner Robert Yates on Thursday in a statement. "We are excited about the opportunity to find a new driver who will continue the successful run of the number 38 Ford as we maintain our focus on the future of our organisation." The team said Sadler, who came to RYR from the Wood Brothers team in 2003, asked to be released from the final year of his contract. Top free agent With no other big-name drivers currently available for next year, Sadler immediately becomes the top free agent on the market with at least two of the three new Toyota teams still looking for drivers. Sadler, 31, won two races with the Yates team in 2004, also making the initial chase for the Nextel Cup championship that year. But he struggled last year to a 13th-place points finish with no victories and has only four top 10 finishes this season. Sadler enters Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway 20th in the Cup standings. Search for new driver The team, which already was seeking a replacement for Jarrett, said it has begun searching for a new driver for Sadler's car for 2007. "Our objective this year is to finish the season on a strong note. It is our goal to continue to build this team so we will be better positioned next season to contend for the championship," said Doug Yates, Robert's son and an executive with the team. It's been a difficult season for the Yates team, which also tried to get things turned around by firing general manager Eddie D'Hondt in May. The decision was announced shortly after former series champion Jarrett announced he is vacating the number 88 Ford at the end of the season to drive a Toyota Camry in 2007. Losing the big-dollar UPS sponsorship was yet another blow to the Yates team. Meanwhile, there has been constant speculation that Sadler wanted out of his deal because of frustration over the team's lack of success. Asked about the speculation earlier this year, Sadler said, "I've been reading stuff about contract this and contract that and I haven't looked at my contract. Yes, I do have an out if I want an out, but who cares? (AP)

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