File this in the "not surprising" category: Elliott Sadler says he doesn't expect to be back with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2011.
"I don't fit into their future plans. We haven't talked about anything 2011 at all. Me as far as what they're doing and what we're doing. So we're definitely going on our different ways, but we need to end up this season as strong as we can. I think it will help me try to find something, land something for next year and I think it will help them land a driver that I think fits into what they're trying to do in the future."
However, despite the differences between himself and the organization formerly known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports, Sadler insists that there aren't any hard feelings between himself and Richard Petty.
"At this moment I do not expect at all to be back with this organization. You know what? I'm OK with that because I'm a huge fan of Richard Petty's. He deserves to be a part of this sport for a long time and he brings a lot to this sport as far as from the fans are concerned. If I'm not a part of their plans, that's OK, as long as they can get something figured out and stay healthy and stay a part of the sport because this sport needs people like Richard Petty to be a part of it. We need good sponsors like Stanley and Best Buy and the sponsors that they have. Good luck to them on the direction that they're taking."
Stanley is sponsoring Sadler this weekend -- his first race with new crew chief Todd Parrott -- and has promised a $1 million donation to the Children's Miracle Network if Sadler wins the race. Of course, some will argue that it would take a miracle for Sadler to win Saturday night, but hey, stranger things have happened, right?
Now RPM has two drivers not returning for 2011, and it's no guarantee that AJ Allmendinger and Paul Menard will renew their contracts at the end of the season as well. While Sadler has struggled this season -- his highest finish is 17th -- his expected departure signals the beginning of a period that could decide the future existence of RPM.