Brad Teague photo by Randall Perry
Johnson City driver Brad Teague will race for veteran car owner Rick Ware in this Friday’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Teague, 66, looks to join the 72-year-old Morgan Shepherd as the only drivers to race in both the NASCAR Nationwide Series’ inaugural season of 1982 and the current season.
However, keeping the longevity mark alive isn’t a goal of the veteran racer.
“I’m not trying to keep any streak going or anything like that,” Teague said. “I just like to race and that’s the reason I’m doing it.”
It’s what Teague has done for decades since moving from his native Buladean, North Carolina, to Johnson City. He is a former six-cylinder champion at the old Sportsman Speedway dirt track and also a former track champion at Lonesome Pine (Va.) Raceway.
Teague has raced at NASCAR’s highest levels since the 1970’s with 293 starts in the three national touring series.
It’s allowed him to race NASCAR Hall of Famers like Richard Petty, David Pearson and Dale Earnhardt as well as today’s biggest stars like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. He feels fortunate this Friday to be on the track with the next generation of stars like Chase Elliott, Trevor Bayne and Ty Dillon.
“I’ve thought about that more the last few years,” Teague said. “I’m glad I’ve got to race all the years with all the different drivers. There aren’t many people who’ve been able to do that. It’s pretty neat that I’ve got to race so long and with so many different people.”
When asked about some of the drivers who stood out, Teague brought up a pair of seven-time Cup Series champions as well as a few other Hall of Famers.
“Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt had a lot of talent,” Teague said. “I’ve been around it so long and drove with people so much, I can easily pick talent out. Those guys and people like Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough, they all had a ton of talent. Of course, I’ve run with A.J. Foyt quite a bit and he’s a lot like Tony Stewart being able to drive anything. There are a lot of the drivers out there now who have talent.”
There is always a talent at getting around Bristol, and Teague has always liked the challenge of the high-banked oval. Although his lone Nationwide Series win came by holding off future NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett at the flat Martinsville oval, Teague has always had affinity for the higher-banked ovals like Bristol, Dover and Rockingham.
At Bristol, Teague has 45 career starts in the three national series and quite a few more on the other short-track circuits. While the speedway doesn’t have all the races documented, Teague believes he actually has more Bristol starts than Petty’s record number of 60 in the Cup Series.
“If you count everything, I’ve probably raced there more than anybody,” he said. “Then you count all the testing I’ve done, testing late models for people and I probably have as many laps as anybody there.”
He hopes to complete quite a few more laps Friday night. He is grateful to many of the local people, particularly some of the local sponsors, who helped make it happen.
“I’m really glad for the opportunity to do this again,” he said. “You have to have sponsors to do it and I’ve got the support of JD Metals and the SCAG people. This time, ABS Building Systems is helping me too. I couldn’t do it without all those people.”comments powered by Disqus