Herta claims Integrity owes him more than $1.5 million, according to TMZ Sports.
It's a story we've heard too many times before: A racer takes on a sponsor, gives the sponsor publicity, then doesn't get paid.
That is what racer-turned-team owner Bryan Herta is claiming in a lawsuit reported on by TMZ Sports, which says: "An IndyCar team owner, whose driver won the Indy 500 in 2011 [that would be the late Dan Wheldon] claims he's being hosed by his biggest sponsor, who bailed on a $2 million deal AFTER he covered his car in their logo."
The TMZ story continues: "Herta claims he struck a $2 million deal with the people behind Integrity Energy Drink back in April and immediately plastered the company logo all over the team's car, complete with a fluorescent green paint job to match the Integrity colors. But according to a lawsuit filed in L.A. County Superior Court and obtained by TMZ Sports, Integrity failed to live up to its name, and only forked over $470,000 in payments."
Lack of Energee
Actually, it is Integrity Energee Drink, and the car was raced by Jack Hawksworth to a 13th-place start, and a 20th-place finish. He also drove the Energee Honda to a seventh-place finish at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
At the signing of Integrity, Herta said this: “Integrity Energee Drink has tapped into the high demand energy drinks marketplace with an exciting product designed to taste great and promote well being in the human body. Indycar provides Integrity the perfect platform to promote and launch their Energee Drink and we are proud they have joined our current partners Castrol Edge, LegalShield, Curb Records and the Collection Auto Group as primary sponsor for the balance of the season. I look forward to celebrating in Victory Lane with Energee.”
Apparently Herta got an apology from the company CEO, but no money, leaving $1.53 million unpaid. "A lawyer for Integrity tells TMZ Sports, 'Any allegations made against my client should be viewed with high scrutiny. There is more to this situation than just a simple allegation. There exists evidence to counter any claim made by the claimant.'"
According to TMZ Sports, Herta is claiming the alledged non-payment is crippling his racing operation. Herta has already said he plans to run two cars in the 2015 Indianapolis 500, one being driven by Jay Howard, the other car, previously driven by Hawksworth, who bailed for A.J. Foyt's team, is awaiting a driver announcement. Herta is also helping out with the career of his son, Colton, who will race in the British MSA Formula series in 2015.