BRISTOL — Johnson City driver Brad Teague was denied the opportunity to compete in Friday night’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway in a decision that left him and several local sponsors fuming.
Teague went to sign in for practice Thursday and was notified by NASCAR officials they were still waiting the results of a mandatory drug test he took on Monday. While Teague and the team appealed to let the 66-year-old driver in the track, their requests were denied.
“They wouldn’t let me in the race track, period,” Teague said. “They started checking on the drug test and they saw part of it was negative, but they were still waiting on the complete results. The team asked if I could qualify the car and race it once the results came through, and NASCAR said not without practice.”
NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp said it was the decision of Nationwide Series director Wayne Auton whether or not let Teague qualify or race the car.
“Per the entry blank, it’s the series director’s discretion whether or not to approve a driver if that driver does not practice the car and get familar with the track prior to qualifying,” said NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp. “That was the case with Brad Teague. He was not here to practice the car and the decision was made to not let him drive this weekend.”
Teague has 45 starts in NASCAR’s three national series (Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series) at Bristol. Tharp said the decision by the series’ director centered around the fact Teague hadn’t been in a Nationwide Series race since September 2013 at Dover.
It was only half of the story.
Since Teague wasn’t sure there would be an opportunity to race at Bristol until a few days ago, he hadn’t taken the necessary steps with the mandatory drug test and physical.
According to Teague, it was only confirmed Monday by car owner Rick Ware he would be in a white No. 87 Chevrolet. Once he finally got inside the track after the practices were over, his name was on a white and red No. 23 Chevrolet which didn’t match the logos made for several Johnson City companies.
The worst part, Teague said, was that many of those sponsors were asked to pay a fee to get in the track since they had been signed in with the No. 87 car.
“You send in the list for people to get sponsors in,” Teague said. “My brother, they charged him over $100 to get in. He signed in on the 87 car, while evidently Rick Ware knew about the No. 23 the whole time and he hadn’t told me about anything.”
Teague added the local companies had put their names on the car to support him and they weren’t interested in sponsoring another driver. Obviously, some wanted refunds after finding out that Blake Koch would be replacing Teague in the car.
“The sponsors were like, ‘Brad, we gave that money to you to drive at Bristol,’” Teague said. “Now, they want their money back.”comments powered by Disqus