Elliott Sadler says he is keen to put the past behind him after a troubled off-season with rumours over his future in the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Despite inking a deal to remain with Gillett Evernham Motorsports into 2009 mid-way through the 2008 campaign, Sadler looked set to be replaced at the wheel of the #19 Dodge with reports suggesting that former open-wheel racer AJ Allmendinger was to step into the car after impressing in five races at the wheel of the team's #10 entry.

The threat of legal proceedings saw Sadler ultimately retain his drive as the confirmation was made of the expected merger between GEM and Petty Holdings and he said he was now keen to put the past firmly behind him and enjoy a successful start to 2009.

"We're professionals, and when we show up to play, we should be ready to play," he said. "When we're on the field, we should give it our all 100 per cent, whether it's me and the race car or the guys doing the pit stops or the guys bolting the shocks on, whoever it may be and whatever it may be.

"As far as the team is concerned and myself is concerned, it's in the past. You know, I've been to the shop the last two days - not one conversation about what happened a week ago. All the conversations were about how can we go to Daytona, be competitive; how can we go to California, the next race, and be competitive, and things like that. That is the mentality we have right now, Gillett and Evernham Motorsports; we feel like we're moving ahead.

"My focus and all my energy right now is going to Daytona and being successful."

Sadler admitted that he understood the reasoning behind the discussions with Allmendinger held over the off-season, stating that it had been 'gut-wrenching' to discover' he could be replaced but said that discussions with his legal team had simply been focused on protecting his own interests.

"As far as the legal part of it and stuff like that, I think there comes a time in everybody's life where you're seeking some kind of legal guidance," he said, "and I can sit here and tell you and be very honest with you, when it comes to contracts and the language and stuff that are on them, I'm not the smartest guy in the world. When you're dealing with as many people as we're dealing with, it became bigger than Elliott Sadler. It was bigger than just Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

"My legal team did what they thought they had to do to protect me and to protect some of the sponsors and stuff that we have. But between me and the team, I never wanted the legal stuff to come between me and them. I had to trust my advisors and my attorneys to be able to handle this stuff the way they would handle it.

"As far as me and the team, I think we had some debates and we had some disagreements, but I think at the end of the day, we have figured out how to work through this. We all have the same goal. We feel like we're pulling in the same direction."

 

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