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Teague moves forward in final race

Jeff Birchfield • Aug 21, 2015 at 11:04 PM

BRISTOL — Brad Teague made his final career start in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in Friday’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Driving the No. 13 Toyota with local sponsors ABS building systems on the hood, JD Metals on the side and SCAG on the back bumper, the Johnson City driver started last in the 40-driver field.

However, he picked up 10 spots over the first 100 laps and finished 26th despite cutting a tire with five laps to go to bring out the race’s final caution.

After nearly five decades behind the wheel, the 67-year-old racer talked about how hard it was to walk away from the sport he loves.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Teague, who made 294 starts in NASCAR’s three national series. “I love racing and if I could afford it, I would love to do it longer. But, the situation won’t let me. But, I’ve been able to do it 48 years and I’ve loved it. It really surprises me that I’ve been able to do it as long as I have.”

Earlier in the day, Kyle Petty waxed nostalgic about watching Teague race in the old Late Model Sportsman Series and even in the Sprint Cup Series in the No. 31 Oldsmobile.

“Back in the 70s, I remember him racing guys like Sam Ard, Jack Ingram, L.D. Ottinger and Tommy Houston,” Petty said.

The Sportsman Series, that’s where Dale Earnhardt learned to race, and Brad was one of the mainstays. Just like he said, I hate to give it up. He drove the Slender You car, that pink car back in the Cup Series. But, Brad Teague has been part of this series from the very beginning. He is one of the cornerstones of the Xfinity Series, giving guys like Ryan Blaney an opportunity to race.”

Dale Jarrett, a former Cup Series champion and a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, finished second to Teague in the Johnson City driver’s lone Xfinity Series win in 1987. He also paid a a compliment to Teague.

“A great short track racer,” Jarrett said about Teague. “When it came to racing in this Xfinity Series on these short tracks, there weren’t many better than him.”

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Denny Hamlin became the first driver in Bristol Motor Speedway history to win pole positions for both Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series races on the same day.

Hamlin won the pole for the Food City 300 by touring the .533-mile oval at 126.896 mph in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He later captured the pole for the IRWIN Tools Night Race with a track-record run of 131.407 mph

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Sponsors at this week’s races ranged from the familiar names like Lowe’s, McDonald’s and Dollar General to a Hollywood production, a presidental campaign and a few local companies.

The No. 34 Ford driven by Brett Moffitt has images of the new film, No Escape, starring Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosan and Lake Bell, featured on the car.

Those who would like to watch a trailer of the film described as an international thriller can visit the website noescapefilm.com

In Wednesday’s UNOH 200 for the Truck Series, the No. 08 Chevrolet for Korbin Forrester had Trump for President on the hood with the Republican presidental candidate’s slogan of “Make American Great Again” and a picture of a bald eagle plastered on the side.

One Johnson City company nearly experienced the thrill of victory Wednesday night.

Great Lakes Flooring, a brand of Johnson City-based Mullican Flooring, was on the No. 88 Chevrolet driven by two-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton.

Crafton was leading the UNOH 200 when the race was stopped for rain after 166 laps. Crafton finished seventh after a wild restart at the end of the race.

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Big sponsor news from Friday involved an announcement that Newport-based Bush’s Beans would renew its longtime partnership on the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet driven by AJ Allmendinger.

“It’s one of the best sponsors that we have,” Allmendinger said. “To be able to announce another multi-year deal in this day and age of sponsorship... To have them come back for more years, it’s great for us.”

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Volunteer Speedway postponed its biggest race of the season, the 12th annual “Scorcher,” after rains turned the 4/‚Äč10-mile dirt track into a muddy mess .

Normally held on the Thursday of the August night race, it’s usually the best attended race of the season at the Bulls Gap track. Now, the $10,000-to-win race for the Lucas Oil Super Late Model Series will be a Saturday night show with a date to be determined.

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