At the age when most people retire and most athletes have long retired, Brad Teague will look to make history Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The 65-year-old Johnson City driver plans to race the No. 70 Toyota for Jay Robinson Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jeff Foxworthy’s Grit Chips 300. With Morgan Shepherd not on the entry list, Teague is set to become the only driver to race the inaugural year of the Nationwide Series (formerly Busch Series) in 1982 and still be active in the series.
“I’m always excited to go to Bristol because it’s my favorite track, my local track,” Teague said. “It’s been a struggle the last two or three years with the sponsorship. With the way the economy has been, it’s been tough to get the sponsor money.”
The local SCAG mower dealership has stepped up to help Teague. The business was represented on the Johnny-Davis owned car which Teague raced in both Bristol races a year ago.
“SCAG is going to be on the hood, and I appreciate them for doing it,” Teague said. “Todd Bohon, Freddy Whitson and them have helped me with a lot of races over the years.”
The goal is for Teague to earn as many points as possible. Points earned will count toward the No. 70 in the overall team standings. Johanna Long will drive the No. 70 car in 22 races this season with Teague and others rounding out the remaining 33-race schedule.
Teague was chosen in part because of his 31 career Nationwide Series starts at Bristol, third all-time behind Kenny Wallace with 36 and Jason Keller with 34. Overall, Teague has 53 starts in NASCAR’s three national series at Bristol. Those numbers don’t include a number of late model races, which Teague believes makes him the actual record-holder for races started at BMS.
“If you count all the races, I have as many starts as anybody up there,” he said. “Places like Bristol and Darlington are tough. But the tougher the race track, the more I like it.
“I won at Martinsville and I’ve always loved it too. I’ve always been partial to banked tracks, the short tracks. I love that type of challenge to get around a race track like that. There’s nothing like it.”
n Fans will have many chances to meet drivers and participate in other racing-related activities throughout the week.
Besides Food City Family Race Night at BMS on Friday, several Walmart locations have racing displays, simulators and driver appearances scheduled.
The West Market location will include the Hefty’s Show Car Simulator, Kevin Harvick’s show car and the Kingsford’s Ultimate Tailgate Truck today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Former NASCAR champion Bobby Labonte will make a special appearance at Walmart in Elizabethton from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, while show cars from Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer will be on display.
Nationwide Series driver Eric McClure will visit the Johnson City Browns Mill Road location on Friday from 11 a.m. to noon. There will also be show cars, simulators and a trophy display.
Gray Gaulding, the youngest driver in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series at 15, will make an appearance at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts on Friday at 5 p.m.
Most fans know that 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne is from Knoxville.
Also from Knoxville is Jodi Geschickter, who co-owns the No. 47 Toyota along with her husband, Tad, and former NBA No. 1 draft pick Brad Daugherty.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Jodi is responsible for managing day-to-day operations which include client hospitality, developing licensed products for sponsors, handling team uniforms, coordinating charity events and managing credentials.
The No. 47 car, driven by Bobby Labonte, currently ranks 24th in the Sprint Cup point standings with a 15th-place finish at Daytona, the best in three races this season.