Tag:Tommy Baldwin Racing
Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:39 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 3:36 pm
 

Points manipulation a blow to NASCAR credibility

By Pete Pistone

Image Detail
(Patrick is already locked into the 2012 Daytona 500 thanks to a deal between SHR and TBR)

You most likely already know Danica Patrick is making her full-time move to NASCAR in 2012. 

But without yet even turning one competitive lap in a Sprint Cup car, Patrick has already locked herself into a starting spot for the season-opening Daytona 500. 

How is this possible you ask? 

Just chalk it up to NASCAR math. 

The annual ritual of swapping points, creating alliances and trumping up partnerships to manipulate the rule allowing teams finishing in the Top 35 of the point standings last season a guaranteed start in the first five races of the new campaign has once again reared its ugly head. 

Only this time it’s not just a simple transaction between owners swapping points accrued by one to allow another to field a car in the biggest race of the season.  The latest maneuvering is a shell game of epic proportions that somehow puts Patrick in car technically owned by Tommy Baldwin Racing while still employed by Stewart-Haas Racing. 

A room full of Philadelphia lawyers would take days to figure out the legal machinations that created this “collaborative partnership” between SHR and TBR. But at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how things ended up but rather the path that allows this ridiculous practice to happen in the first place. 

When NASCAR first instituted the Top 35 rule a few years ago the intent was to provide a guarantee for teams and sponsors that support the entire series. Basically if a team stays inside the first thirty five of the standings they are locked into the next race and don’t have to worry about qualifying to make the field. 

While NASCAR contends the rule “protects” teams and sponsors as well as fans, who are ensured the “stars” of the sport will compete in every event, it has done so at the expense of competition and credibility. 

By trying to serve the business side of the sport, all NASCAR has done is compromised the competitive element and its own integrity. 

Qualifying has been reduced to a simple placement of cars into the starting line-up with none of the drama remaining that used to draw sizeable crowds to some tracks in anticipation of the racing weekend. 

The popular Gatorade Duel qualifying races at Daytona, once one of the most exciting days of the season and certainly of Speedweeks, is now only a shell of its former self. The inclusion of the Top 35 policy into the equation of who already has made the race and what drivers have their Daytona 500 lives on the line with a bad finish – all part of what made the Thursday before the 500 so special – is now a convoluted mess that requires a slide rule and a calculator to help decipher. 

The easy solution is to allow the fastest 36 cars in qualifying into every race and then seed the remaining seven spots with provisionals based on the point standings. That system worked for decades before the dollar signs from potential upset sponsors blurred NASCAR’s vision. 

The world would also continue to rotate on its axis if Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson or Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed a race. Other sports have proven they can survive should a star not be up to the necessary level of performance on a particular weekend. 

Should Tiger Woods fail to make the cut on a Friday (a scenario that has lately happened plenty of times by the way), oh well the PGA Tour goes on. The legendary John Force has missed qualifying for NHRA events before and drag racing has somehow found a way to survive. 

Then to make matters even worse there is the blatant bending of the rules to shift around owner points every January. 

To be fair to Stewart and Baldwin, they have not done anything “wrong” or that several other owners haven't executed in the last few years. Richard Petty, Richard Childress and Roger Penske are just a few of the names that massaged the rules to their advantage in order to lock in new entries in their stables. 

Just last season both Steven Wallace and even Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne were beneficiaries of their owners working out deals to get them into the biggest race of the year. 

However having the lightning rod Patrick involved this time around has certainly taken the practice to a much greater level of awareness. 

Quite frankly it doesn’t do much for Patrick in terms of trying to prove herself as a stock car driver when she literally gets handed a coveted spot at Daytona. In many eyes, she’s done nothing to earn the position except to work for a team owner who obviously has a creative business mind. 

Last week NASCAR took a major step forward by announcing it was outlawing “secret fines” and making all penalties toward drivers who made derogatory comments about the sport public. It was the right move and one that brings more transparency to a sport that sometimes desperately needs to show skeptical fans all is on the up and up. 

Now NASCAR needs to eradicate the Top 35 rule or at the very least enforce teams follow a "use ‘em or lose ‘em" policy the following season. No buying, selling, swapping or other game of smoke and mirrors allowed.

If not just save your money. Perhaps with a large enough checkbook even you can buy your way into starting the 2013 Daytona 500.

As is the case with Patrick, no experience is necessary.

For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @PPistone on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed    

 
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Posted on: January 31, 2012 4:52 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 5:15 pm
 

Official: Danica in 500 on points acquisition

Posted by Pete Pistone

Danica Patrick will begin her Sprint Cup career with a guaranteed starting spot in the Daytona 500.

Thanks to a "collaborative partnership" between Stewart-Haas Racing and Tommy Baldwin Racing, Patrick gets a starting berth in next month's Daytona 500.

The No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet will now technically be fielded out of the TBR stable. TBR’s No. 36 car, which finished the 2011 season thirty-third in points, becomes the No. 10 for 2012.

For the 26 races where Patrick is not scheduled to drive, David Reutimann will pilot the No. 10 car. 

“Tommy Baldwin Racing has proven to be a very strong organization and it’s a good fit with Stewart-Haas Racing,” said Matt Borland, vice president of competition, SHR. “It’s a Chevrolet team led by a racer who knows every inch of a racecar. That kind of technical expertise, along with a company mindset that is similar to ours, provides the ideal environment for Danica to learn and succeed.”

TBR will field two cars in 2012 with Dave Blaney joining the No. 10 entry this coming season.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve established at Tommy Baldwin Racing, and the opportunity to partner with Stewart-Haas Racing and aid in the development of Danica Patrick is a testament to all the hard work we’ve put in over the years,” Baldwin said. “Danica will have a great teammate in Dave Blaney, who has been instrumental in getting our race team to where it is today. And with David Reutimann driving the No. 10 car in the races where Danica is not, the team will remain in a strong and competitive position throughout the year.”

Greg Zipadelli, who came to SHR this season to serve as the team's Director of Competition, will serve as Patrick's crew chief in her ten race schedule.

“Working with Tommy will be like old times,” Zipadelli said. “We both grew up together and competed against each other in Modifieds and we did the same thing when we got to Sprint Cup. To finally be able to work with each other and help Danica Patrick make a successful transition from Indy cars to stock cars is a challenge we’re both looking forward to.

“Partnering with Tommy and his team provides Danica with the foundation she needs to succeed. With a guaranteed starting spot, we can go into each weekend and simply learn. It’s all about getting her comfortable in the car, and with the variety of tracks she’s running, seat time will be incredibly valuable. A guaranteed spot in the race ensures that she’ll have the opportunity to make as many laps as possible.”

Patrick, who will also run a full Nationwide Series program for JR Motorsports in 2012, will run nine more Cup races in addition to Daytona this season.

“Our goal with Danica’s schedule is to try and maximize her 10 races so that she’s as prepared as she can possibly be for a full-time Sprint Cup schedule in 2013,” said Tony Stewart, co-owner of SHR. “There are short tracks, intermediate 1.5-mile ovals, and some unique tracks like Darlington and Phoenix. The point is to expose her to as many challenges as possible so that she’ll know what to expect in 2013.”


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Posted on: January 18, 2012 7:37 pm
 

Tommy Baldwin Racing adds Dave Blaney's son

By Pete Pistone

It will be a Blaney family affair at Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2012.

The team has added Ryan Blaney, son of TBR Sprint Cup driver Dave, to pilot a Nationwide Series entry this coming season.

The younger Blaney will run six NWS events for the Baldwin operation beginning with the April 27 date at Richmond International Raceway.

In addition there will be a six race NASCAR K&N Pro Series East slate for the young driver, which wil kick off at Bristol Motor Speedway on St. Patrick's Day.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to run a mix of K&N and Nationwide races this season,” Blaney commented. “We were really competitive in the K&N Series last year, and I think we will be even more competitive this year. Hopefully, we will have an opportunity to win all six races. We will have good equipment racing with TBR. It will be great to race with and learn from the Nationwide guys. To be able to race on bigger tracks will be a good learning experience too."

Blaney made a combined three starts last season in the NKNPS East and West, winning in his third start and capturing his first NASCAR victory at Phoenix International Raceway. Blaney also won the 2011 PASS South Championship and found success in the ARCA Racing Series where he finished in the top-10 in his two starts.

The addition gives TBR a pair of Blaneys in its stable this season and Dave is looking forward to the opportunity of teaming up with his son.

“I’m proud that Ryan is making the next step in his racing career,” Dave Blaney said. “I think it is a great opportunity for him to run with TBR and still run some races in the K&N Series. He has learned very quickly in every series he has driven, so I am anticipating what competing in the Nationwide series brings. Thanks to SealWrap and Heavy Duty who have stepped up their programs as Ryan has moved through the ranks. It’s really refreshing to build a relationship with companies at this level and be able to grow together.”

Team owner Baldwin sees the expansion into a Nationwide Series effort as a natural evolution for his race team.

“We are really looking forward to restarting our Nationwide program as we have had much success in the past in that series,” explained Tommy Baldwin. “Watching Ryan the last few years, we are excited to get to the track and see him perform. As we look to the future, this Nationwide program is a stepping-stone for the Cup program, and we are excited to start with Ryan.”


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Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:41 am
Edited on: January 3, 2012 3:56 pm
 

Tommy Baldwin Racing signs David Reutimann

Posted by Pete Pistone

From News Release

Tommy Baldwin Racing added David Reutimann to the team’s 2012 driver Sprint Cup lineup alongside Dave Blaney. Still seeking sponsorship for both Reutimann and Blaney, details regarding car number, sponsors and team members will follow in the upcoming weeks.

Reutimann, a Zephyrhills, Fla., native, made his first NSCS start in 2005. He competed in four full NSCS seasons with Michael Waltrip Racing and compiled two wins, 12 top-fives, 26 top-10s and four poles. The 41-year-old racer also competed in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series where he captured two wins.

“Tommy has built a really good organization from the ground up in a really short amount of time,” said Reutimann. “One of the things I like about Tommy and what’s refreshing about him is that he is just a racer. There are lots of things he could be doing but instead he is at the shop every day working hard to build the organization from the ground up. There are not a lot of true racers in the garage, and he is one of them. It’s the way I was raised with my Dad, so we are on the same page. I’m just really looking forward to the season and see what we can do.”

TBR competed in every event in the 36-race NSCS schedule in 2011 and raced into the top-35 in NSCS Owner Points, meeting the team’s 2011 season goals. Blaney drove to the team’s best finish of third in the October event at Talladega Superspeedway. The team also fielded a second car for five events in the second half of the season.

“Reutimann will be a great addition to our program and to Dave Blaney,” commented team owner Tommy Baldwin. “Last season, we met our goal of running the entire schedule and making the top-35 in points. This season, our goals is to continue our progress on the competition side. Having two veteran drivers in Reutimann and Blaney is a very important step in our program’s growth.”

“We are still working on finding funding for next year, but having a car guaranteed in the first five races, including the Daytona 500, is a big step for our team,” Baldwin continued. “We had success last year with our partners. Although Golden Corral will not return in 2012, they were very happy with the exposure they received. We hope they have shown other companies the value of our program and that our program will once again align with their business objectives.”

 
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Posted on: August 9, 2011 3:36 pm
 

Road racing ace Ron Fellows joins Baldwin

Posted by Pete Pistone

From Team News Release

Road course racing veteran Ron Fellows will get behind the wheel of the #36 Golden Corral Chevy for Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) at Watkins Glen International August 14th.

Dave Blaney will pilot the #35 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen.

Fellows, a three-time American Le Mans Series GT Drivers Champion, spent most of his career driving for the Corvette Racing team. He made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start in 1995 at Watkins Glen International. Since his NASCAR debut, the Canadian native made 56 starts in NASCAR's top-three series, including 22 starts in the NSCS, and talliedfour NASCAR Nationwide Series and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins. Fellows collected two second-place finishes and five top-10 finishes in his 22 NSCS starts.

"I am excited to pick up where we left off last year," commented Fellows. "It is always great to be a part of the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen. We had a decent qualifying run last year at the Glen, but then didn't finish the race after we were running inside the top-15. Although it is a year later, we are just looking to build on that."We had pretty good success last year until we were wreced halfway through the race," explained TBR owner Tommy Baldwin. "We want to finish what we started last year. It's always good to have a road course ringer, and Ron is the best of them. Dave has done a great job for us this season, so we are excited to field the 35 car for him as well."


 
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Posted on: June 8, 2011 11:16 am
Edited on: June 8, 2011 11:16 am
 

Geoff Bodine returns to Sprint Cup Series

Posted by Pete Pistone


From Team News Release

Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) will field a second car for five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) races this season. Geoffrey Bodine will pilot the #35 Luke Associates, Inc. Chevy for all five events, starting with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) July 2nd. He will return to the Luke Associates, Inc.-sponsored Chevy at Charlotte (Oct), Talladega (Oct), Texas (Nov) and the season finale at Homestead.

Luke Associates, Inc. (Luke) is one of the largest providers of healthcare for the U.S. military and is rapidly expanding into national and local healthcare systems. Headquartered on the Space Coast of Florida, Luke formed in 2004 and has grown exponentially in the last six years. The company now has more than 1,300 medical and support personnel worldwide. Luke is responsible for recruiting, qualifying, hiring and retaining healthcare workers for positions that include physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses and ancillary personnel in addition to all dental positions. The company's primary focus is the company values, which include integrity, innovation, communication, community and a focus on the employees.

Geoffrey Bodine made his NSCS debut in 1979. Over his 26-year NASCAR career, the Chemung, N.Y., native collected 18 wins, 100 top-fives and led over 8,600 laps. At age 62, Bodine ranks 16th all-time with 37 career poles. TBR, formed in 2009, began the team's first full season of competition in 2011. Running all the races in 2011, TBR moved into the top-35 in NSCS Owner Points early in the year guaranteeing the team a spot in the race for the first time in the team's history.

The #35 Luke & Associates, Inc. Chevy will make its debut with Bodine behind the wheel of the Luke Chevy at DIS for the Coke Zero 400 on Saturday, July 2nd. More details about the #35 TBR Chevy to follow. Tommy Baldwin Racing currently fields the #36 Chevy for Dave Blaney full time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

 

 
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Posted on: August 25, 2010 9:29 am
 

Blaney to split time between Baldwin, Front Row


Dave Blaney , who recently left Prism Motorsports, has found a new home (two new homes to be exact) for the remainder of the season.

Blaney qualified for 17 of 22 events in the 66 car for Prism, which operated as nothing more than a start-and-park operation. That fact wasn't a surprise to Blaney, but eventually it wore on him and he quit the team prior to the Aug. 15 race at Michigan.

"We just never seemed to put enough [money] together to race [full distance] at all," said Blaney in a report for vindy.com.

"I just didn’t want to finish the year out like that. I knew what it was going in - I knew it was mostly start and park, so it wasn’t a surprise, but I’d hoped that we would have raced a few more times. I just thought it was time for something different - whether it was Sprint car racing or watching my kid. But now these other cars have come up, so I’ll do that."

Those other two cars Blaney speaks of are the 36 car for Tommy Baldwin Racing and the 38 car for Front Row Motorsports. He'll drive six races with each team, though which races he drives for which teams have not yet been announced.

With Front Row, Blaney will get the chance to actually complete races. He'll help fill the seat recently vacated by rookie Kevin Conway.

With Baldwin, he expects he'll get the chance to go the full distance in at least three of the races he participates in with the team and is hopeful more funding will come around to do them all.


Posted on: May 30, 2010 5:41 pm
 

Geoff Bodine, 61, will try to qualify at Pocono


Tommy Baldwin is grasping at every straw possible, turning to Geoff Bodine, 61, to fill the seat of his No. 36 car at Pocono.

Bodine hasn't qualified for a Cup race since 2004. He finished 26th in a Truck Series race last March. Harry Gant holds the record for oldest Cup winner (52). Even if Bodine qualifies for the race at Pocono, it's unlikely he'll top the record as Baldwin's team has been mostly a start-and-park operation.

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