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Sadler may sue GEM for No. 19 rights

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Elliott Sadler plans to sue Gillett Evernham Motorsports for the right to remain in the No. 19 Dodge through the end of his contract in 2010, his attorney said on Monday.

"Our objective is to get in the car and race for them," said John Buric, who represents the Sprint Cup driver. "We have a contract with them. We intend to enforce the contract."

Buric said he is in the process of drafting paperwork for the lawsuit that he expects to file in Iredell Superior Court within the next week to 10 days unless an out-of-court agreement can be reached. He has until Jan. 20 to do so.

Buric recently filed a notice of intent to sue for breach of contract shortly after Sadler learned that he would be replaced by A.J. Allmendinger. Buric said Sadler heard of the decision through one his sponsors, not the organization.

He said the organization still hasn't informed him of the plans.

"We got a phone call that says basically they want to buy him out of his contract," Buric said. "We said we don't want to be bought out. Elliott has a contract that doesn't expire until the end of 2010. He intends to race in 2009 and 2010."

Sadler, whose wedding is scheduled for next week, did not return phone calls. Officials at GEM, who also are negotiating a merger with Petty Enterprises, also declined to comment.

Buric said he expects a resolution before the February Cup opener at Daytona International Speedway. He added that Sadler has done nothing to warrant being released from his contract, which was extended for two years this past season.

"If you look at the contract and the terms, there's nothing anybody could raise on the other side that says you've done a, b, c or d and therefore you're terminated," he said. "They have not put us on notice for any violations or anything.

"There's no basis that they should contend we breached our contract."

Buric added that Sadler has shot all of his sponsorship ads for 2009 except one. Should an agreement not be reached and the court rules against Sadler, those ads would have to be re-shot with Allmendinger.

"That's what's so screwy about this," Buric said. "It puts [Sadler] in a really difficult position with sponsors. He's out there working for them, and all of a sudden we hear third hand they put another driver in the car and he's not going to be with the team next year.

"That's not the way you conduct business as far as I'm concerned. I don't know what their game is. I don't know what the ultimate objective is, other than to suggest reading between the lines they do not intend him to race."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.