RPM closes in on merger with Yates

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Richard Petty Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler will drive a Yates Racing Ford in next weekend's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Sadler, who drove for Robert Yates Racing before moving to RPM, said it will be for only one race.

RPM and Yates are in the final stages of a merger that will move RPM from Dodge to Ford in 2010. RPM owner Richard Petty said last week at Charlotte he hoped to use a Yates car for at least one race this season.

Officials close to the situation said on Friday at Martinsville Speedway the plan is to put Sadler in the Ford regardless of whether the merger is finalized.

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