Former NASCAR Driver Brennan Poole Sues Chip Ganassi Racing, Spire Sports
NASCAR team Chip Ganassi Racing faces lawsuit from one of its former drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Former NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brennan Poole is suing his former team, Chip Ganassi Racing, and his former management agency, Spire Sports and Entertainment, claiming that they conspired to take away his DC Solar sponsorship and moving it to CGR’s No. 42 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team of driver Kyle Larson.
"Spire unfairly, illegally and fraudulently procured the diversion and misappropriation of Brennan Poole's primary sponsor, DC Solar, from Brennan Poole to CGR, also a client of Spire,” a document relating to the suit said, according to an ESPN report.
Poole drove a No. 48 entry for Chip Ganassi Racing fulltime in the Xfinity Series in 2016 and 2017. In 2015, he ran a partial series schedule for the now-defunct HScott Motorsports through a partnership with CGR. All 83 of his Xfinity Series-career starts came with sponsorship backing from DC Solar. When Poole was released from Chip Ganassi Racing at the end of the 2017 season, the DC Solar sponsorship was moved to the No. 42 in the Cup Series for 2018. According to the complaint Poole filed in North Carolina Superior Court, he brought the DC Solar sponsorship to Chip Ganassi Racing.
Poole claims Chip Ganassi Racing received a total of $13.2 million to field an Xfinity Series car for him between 2015 and 2017. He also claims clauses in his contract with the race team prevented DC Solar from remaining with CGR without his consent. The amount in damages sought by Poole in his suit are not specified in the court documents.
Poole claims he paid Spire a total of $67,416 between September 2014 through December 2017, but his potential deals to race elsewhere were sabotaged by Spire’s misrepresentation of potential deals with other race teams. For example, after expressing a desire to move from Chip Ganassi Racing to JR Motorsports after the 2015 season, Poole said he was told by Spire that JR Motorsports wanted $7.5 million in sponsorship to provide a ride for him in 2016, but the actual price was less than half the amount. Poole also claimed he was led by Spire to believe that if he stayed with Chip Ganassi Racing, he would inherit the No. 1 Cup Series car, also fielded by CGR, in 2017, upon driver Jamie McMurray’s retirement. McMurray has not retired; he still drives the No. 1 CGR entry in the Cup Series in 2018.
Poole also accused Spire of misleading DC Solar to keep its sponsorship investments with Chip Ganassi Racing by telling DC Solar a 2018 sponsorship deal with Richard Childress Racing in the Cup Series would cost $15 million, even though that team only asked for $10 million. Another claim by Poole related to RCR is that Richard Childress Racing expressed interest in Poole driving an RCR-fielded Cup car in 2018, but according to Poole, he was told by Spire that no Cup Series team showed interest in hiring him.
Poole also alleges a conflict of interest when Spire signed on as a consultant for Chip Ganassi Racing’s sponsorship search for Larson’s No. 42 Cup Series entry.
Chip Ganassi Racing and Spire Sports and Entertainment declined The Drive’s request for comment. His career stats in the Xfinity Series include eight top-fives and 36 top-10 finishes.
Poole has not competed in any of NASCAR’s three national series since the 2017 Xfinity Series season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.