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IndyCar Owner My Crappy Sponsor Crippled My Racing Team

12/24/2014 12:45 AM PST

IndyCar Owner -- My Crappy Sponsor CRIPPLED My Racing Team

EXCLUSIVE
An IndyCar team owner -- whose driver won the Indy500 in 2011 -- 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 man behind the suit is Bryan Herta -- a former racer who owns the Bryan Herta Autosport racing team which competes in the Verizon IndyCar series. 

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 $470k in payments. 

Herta claims he went after company honchos for the money -- and got an email from the CEO apologizing for the payment problems ... but NEVER got the remaining $1.53 mil. 

In the suit, Herta claims the lack of funding put his squad at a "severe competitive disadvantage" -- forcing the team to scale back important race prep to save money. 

Herta is demanding the remaining $1.53 mil -- plus damages. 

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." Watch TMZ Sports on FS1 Get the new TMZ Sports app!

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