*Editor’s Note: If you or anyone you know have physically abused or have been physically abused by an intimate partner, please scroll to the bottom of this interview for some incredible resources that may help change someone’s life that has been affected by domestic violence.
*Also, it is worth noting that Jennifer Brown has a pending charge of Domestic Criminal Trespassing with a scheduled court date of July 10th, which she was up front about at the time of the interview. Teddy Brown is the plaintiff in that particular case.
At the time of publishing this story, TobyChristie.com was unaware that this crime fit under the category of “Domestic Violence Crimes” in the state of North Carolina. However, according to Statelaws.com, it does indeed.
While it is important to note that Jennifer Brown has not been convicted of the crime, it is also worth noting that she has been charged in a potential domestic violence crime in fairness to the story.
“Complete disbelief. Absolute denial. There’s no way this could be happening to me. He loves me, we’ve loved each other since High School. Why me?”
This is how Jennifer Brown recalls her mindset after being abused for the first time by her now estranged husband Teddy Brown, who is a NASCAR Xfinity Series crew chief for Mike Harmon Racing. After hearing of his latest assault charges, Jennifer Brown felt it was time to bring awareness to the severity of domestic abuse.
“Domestic violence is an epidemic,” Jennifer Brown said in an exclusive interview with TobyChristie.com. “It’s a nationwide epidemic. It affects all races, all cultures, everybody across all socioeconomic groups, religion. It’s something that there needs to be awareness for.”
On June 8th, Teddy Brown was arrested in Iredell County, North Carolina for habitual misdemeanor assault of another female, which is classified as a Class H Felony if convicted in the State of North Carolina. Nearly three weeks later, he was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR.
Once the news broke of the suspension, Twitter became a firestorm of keyboard warriors looking to poke fun at the ultra-sensitive topic of domestic abuse. In the age of memes and gifs, Jennifer Brown urges people to think before they tweet.
“I was looking at all of these tweets the other night, and I’m not a big Twitter person, but I was looking at them and I’m thinking, people are missing the point,” Brown explains. “The point is not to call people out or degrade them or humiliate them, it’s to take action and make awareness. For people to not feel like they have to be silenced.”
Brown makes a very valid point. It’s almost sobering to see how many react to domestic abuse stories with a cavalier attitude. It’s as if it’s no big deal. In reality, it’s a huge deal.
In fact, according to NCDav.org, during an entire year more than 10-million women and men in the United States are physically abused by an intimate partner. Overall, one in every three women and one in every four men have experienced some form of physical abuse by an intimate partner.
Before speaking with Brown, I was unaware of these staggering figures. If you were unaware as well, you aren’t any longer. This is a serious threat to our society.
“This is something that happens every day,” Brown states. “It happens across all classes. It’s something communities need to come together and stop. Millions are affected by it.”
Jennifer Brown states that her abuse from her husband Teddy Brown began nearly from the moment they got back together in 2010. Chillingly, she recalls attending court with him in a domestic violence case of another of his victims upon first getting back together.
“When Ted and I got back together it was 2010, and it was right around November — around mid-November — [the abuse] started almost immediately,” Brown stated. “I went to court with him — mind you, we’ve known each other since we were 15 [years old] — I ended up going with him to court in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was convicted of misdemeanor assault on a female. And that was in December of 2010, and into 2011, and by that time it had already happened to me.”
Jennifer Brown finally snapped out of the daze following a November 2017 arrest of Teddy Brown stemming from two misdemeanor strangulation charges with intent of harming her and one of her sons. During the court case for these charges, Teddy Brown was convicted with two years of supervised probation and was required to take stay calm classes.
Following this court case, Jennifer Brown and her children broke the abuse cycle and decided enough was enough by leaving Teddy Brown.
After hearing details of Teddy Brown’s latest assault charge, she decided it was time to bring to light the details of what happened behind closed doors in an effort to educate the public and possibly empower others, like Teddy Brown’s latest victim, so they can break free from this.
“This is why it brings back such heightened emotional responses from me when this young lady — it happened to her. Because I feel I was in her shoes 10 years ago,” Brown explained. “Because she has come to court with him for my domestic violence stuff. So, I feel it’s just that cycle that needs to be broken.”
Teddy Brown is scheduled to return to court to face his latest assault charges on July 28th. He has had five assault charges on his record with one conviction coming in November of 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland and two convictions coming in May of 2018 in Iredell County, North Carolina.
While Teddy Brown’s actions have drastically impacted Jennifer Brown’s life, her child’s life and his other victim’s lives, Jennifer Brown reiterates that her speaking out is not meant to be taken as a personal shot on Teddy Brown himself.
“This is not a personal vendetta,” Brown said. “I want him to find some sort of peace. He has a long record. The DA contacted me and [NASCAR Vice President, Racing Operations] John Bobo [contacted me] as well. This is a felony charge, this is a felony habitual assault charge. This will be his fifth [assault charge] if he’s actually charged with it. The priors were misdemeanors, two of those were on my son and myself two years ago for strangulation.
“With [Teddy], I love him. He was my highschool sweetheart. He was my best friend. I protected him. But at this point, when you look at moving forward, he’s continuing to hurt innocent people and it made me sick when I found out that he assaulted this other woman.”
While empowering those who are being abused is what Jennifer Brown feels to be the most important piece of solving the domestic violence problem in the United States, she also feels focus should be placed on aiding the offenders who truly want to change their lives.
“It’s hard. People don’t understand until they go through it,” Brown explained. “People say, ‘Well, why did you stay after what he did to you and your son?’ Well, you know, [Teddy] was ordered to take these classes. They’re called Stay Calm in the county of Iredell, and he took his classes and it was a joke to him. It’s one of those things where I think if you want to discuss the victims, we also need to discuss the offenders so they can reach out for help if they’re willing to accept responsibility for what they’re doing.
“I’m hypersensitive to some of the verbiage and how it’s presented to people. It’s not — I don’t want it to be dehumanizing by any means — it needs to create awareness. This is happening everywhere. This may be one incident that is identified, but this happens all the time. There is anonymity, people can report that. I know for a fact that people knew for years this was going on with him and I, and I was terrified. But nobody said, ‘hey,’ or even reported it anonymously. There are hotlines for this and I don’t think people know that, or they don’t recognize it.”
Jennifer Brown, as someone who has lived through domestic violence, has a unique perspective. Although she doesn’t want offenders to be dehumanized, she fully believes they need to be punished for their heinous acts.
“I am by no means perfect, but domestic violence should not be allowed and the system needs to hold perpetrators accountable,” Jennifer Brown said.
While Teddy Brown has numerous assault charges on his record, when asked if there were many other assaults that he perpetrated that weren’t recorded, Jennifer Brown didn’t hesitate.
“Oh, absolutely. I have doctor’s visits and I was called out of work. I had to be out of work for two weeks at one point,” Brown explained. “There were people who know and doctors that know and things that — I wasn’t a person to call the cops — I was terrified. I was afraid of the system not working. I mean, it doesn’t work all the time. He already has three offences that are misdemeanors. And he did it again, and he was on probation. This was supervised probation. The system is broken.”
Brown applauds NASCAR for the recent changes they have been making to the sanctioning body in recent years, and even more so in recent weeks for inclusion into the sport. While she is excited to see change, she also feels a bit apprehensive as she feels NASCAR culture is how team members throughout the years like Teddy Brown have slipped through the cracks without many suspensions in the past.
“I absolutely do. This goes back to culture and the way people think and the way they — their points of view. It’s kind of the good old boys club, you know?” Brown said. “[It’s that thought of] She must’ve done something to deserve it. I think it goes back to that type of culture, and it’s unfortunate. I think society is turning around because of awareness, but again I think the more we speak out about it, the more people are going to feel comfortable coming forward. How many excuses can you come up with because you have bruises on your face or your neck or your arms?”
While NASCAR continues to change, there are still a lot of areas that need to be addressed including the sponsorship process. Brown felt a sad hypocritical irony when she saw the team that Teddy works for — Mike Harmon Racing — decking out one of their cars in Back the Blue logos on race weekends, knowing her husband’s checkered past.
“What I thought was really an eye opener is the team that he works for and identifying those types of behaviors that are with that team, and they’re running Back the Blue, and how ironic is that?” Brown stated. “Wouldn’t these people that are sponsoring the Back the Blue, wouldn’t they look into backgrounds? I just don’t understand that either. That baffles me, and then you’re in the back of a police car. These are significant crimes.”
Brown truly believes that domestic violence is something that is ingrained into society. It’s a trait that is passed down from generation to generation. That needs to end.
“When you look at statistics and how it affects emotionally, physically, psychologically — it affects across all generations,” Brown explained. “If it’s not addressed, it goes to the next generation because boys grow up in domestic violence and they think it’s okay because mom stayed and there were no consequences for the dad or step dad. And girls the same way. Young females — I work with them every single day — they think well, it’s okay, it’s my fault. No, it’s not.”
It’s time that we all stand up together in an effort to end the stigma of domestic violence.
TobyChristie.com thanks Jennifer Brown for gathering the incredible strength to talk about what is obviously not an easy subject matter, and it’s certainly something NASCAR journalists don’t usually expect to be writing about.
However, the strength she displayed in this interview showcases exactly how she successfully made it out of a relationship where abuse was the daily norm. Brown fully understands how difficult that journey is and she truly seems to have a deep passion for making sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else.
If you or anyone you know have physically abused or have been physically abused by an intimate partner, please refer to these incredible resources. They really may help change someone’s life that has been affected by domestic violence.
- National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: https://ncadv.org/
- North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence: https://nccadv.org/
- National Domestic Violence Hotline/Tools: https://www.thehotline.org/help/
- Help Guide, tools, precautions: https://www.helpguide.org/
- National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Safe Alliance: https://www.nrcdv.org/ https://secure.safealliance.org/programs/
- Legal Aid Of North Carolina: www.legalaidnc.org
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
- Notice of correction: This article had Brown’s upcoming court date incorrectly listed as June 28th, it has been corrected and now reads July 28th.
- Notice of correction: Have added a disclaimer to the top of story that explains Jennifer Brown has a pending charge of Domestic Criminal Trespass, with a scheduled court date of July 10th. Brown was up front about this charge at the time of the interview, but it wasn’t until after publishing of the story that TobyChristie.com became aware that this alleged crime fits under the Domestic Violence Crimes umbrella in the state of North Carolina.
Teddy Brown’s past charges for assault (source: public records and Statesville.com)
- May 2, 2010 Second Degree Assault in Baltimore, Maryland — Served probation before judgement
- May 18, 2018 One charge of Assault on a female, and one charge of simple assault in Iredell County, North Carolina — Convicted and sentenced to two years of supervised probation for each charge, according to statesville.com.
- June 8, 2020 One charge of Habitual midemeanor assault and one charge of assault on a female in Iredell County, North Carolina. Court date scheduled for July 28, 2020
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.