Former Xfinity Series driver Brennan Poole has filed a lawsuit against his former Chip Ganassi Racing team.
Poole is suing both CGR and Spire Sports and Entertainment, alleging they conspired against him by terminating his DC Solar sponsorship so the organization could move it onto Kyle Larson’s car in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Larson’s primary sponsorship with Target ended after last season. ESPN.com was the first to report the suit, which was filed in North Carolina Superior Court last week.
Other claims from Poole include Spire telling him that JR Motorsports, whom he was interested in driving for after 2015, wanted $7.5 million for him to fill a seat when the price was really $3.2 million. Poole also alleges that Spire told DC Solar it would cost $15 million to sponsor a car at Richard Childress Racing in 2018 when RCR only wanted $10 million.
The complaint also states that Poole, who competed in 83 Xfinity Series races for CGR from 2015-17, brought DC Solar to the Ganassi organization. Winless in those starts, Poole finished a career-best sixth in the championship standings last season.
Poole has not competed in NASCAR this season.
Cary Davis and James Voyles, lawyers representing Chip Ganassi Racing, released the following statement:
“Brennan Poole’s lawsuit, like so many based on so-called ‘information and belief,’ is long on conspiracy and insinuation and woefully short on the relevant facts. As will be shown by actual evidence, nobody conspired to steal a sponsor away from Brennan Poole.
“First, DC Solar’s 2017 sponsorship agreement for the No. 48 Xfinity car was with Chip Ganassi Racing, not Mr. Poole.
“Second, after three years of generously supporting the No. 48 Xfinity team, DC Solar unilaterally decided it no longer wanted to spend its motorsports sponsorship dollars on a race car driven by Brennan Poole. DC Solar decided to move its sponsorship up to the Monster Energy Cup Series and informed Mr. Poole that its future plans did not include him.
“Third, DC Solar discussed potential sponsorship packages with several Cup Series teams before ultimately deciding – well after deciding to move on from Brennan Poole – to sponsor the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing car driven by one of the sport’s brightest stars, Kyle Larson.
“Finally, throughout the 2017 racing campaign Mr. Poole was kept fully informed of DC Solar’s concerns about his performance and its plans to move up to the Cup Series.
“It is true that Mr. Poole’s driver agreement contains a non-solicitation provision. However, once there was no longer a relationship between Mr. Poole and DC Solar left to protect, Mr. Poole lost any right he arguably may have had to stop DC Solar from continuing its sponsorship of CGR, or for that matter spending its money any place it saw fit.
“CGR regrets that Mr. Poole refuses to accept that his three-year run with CGR and DC Solar came to an end not because of some nefarious plot against him, but because he never won a race despite the advantages of the best equipment in the garage. CGR will vigorously defend against these frivolous claims, and looks forward to presenting evidence that will set the record straight.”