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Sadler to Run Daytona 500 for Tommy Baldwin Racing

NASCAR fans will be seeing plenty of Elliott Sadler during speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway this season.

In addition to his full-time XFINITY Series effort with JR Motorsports, Tommy Baldwin Racing announced today that Sadler will drive the No. 7 Golden Corral Chevrolet in the 59th Daytona 500 next month.

Sadler is excited to be reunited with Baldwin as they worked together back in 2006 at Robert Yates Racing.

“This is a great opportunity for me and everyone affiliated with Tommy Baldwin Racing,” said Sadler. “I love the Daytona 500 and to have Tommy and Golden Corral offer me this opportunity is awesome. Tommy and I have known each other a long time. We actually won a qualifying race for the Daytona 500 together back in 2006. We’re gonna rekindle some of that magic and work our tails off to get our car in the race. I know Tommy is putting a lot of effort into this and we’re gonna go out and get the best result we possibly can for him and TBR’s partners.”

“We look forward to having Elliott join TBR and Golden Corral for the upcoming Daytona 500,” said team owner Tommy Baldwin. “Elliott has always been a strong restrictor plate racer which makes this a great opportunity for everyone involved. We know our fans look forward to the ‘Top10 Kids Eat Free’ promotion every year so we want to capitalize on that and finish the Daytona 500 strong.”

In 435 career starts in NASCAR’s top series, Sadler has won three times (Bristol 2001, Texas and Fontana 2004), scored 19 top-fives and 69 top-10 finishes. Sadler’s career best Daytona 500 finish was second coming in 2002 as part of the Wood Brothers.

Golden Corral returns in its seventh season as primary sponsor at TBR and will once again run their popular “Top 10 Kids Eat Free” promotion. If Sadler finishes inside the top 10 at Daytona, children 10 and under will eat for free at all Golden Corrals nationwide.

“We are excited to be working with Tommy Baldwin Racing for the seventh season,” said Shelley Wolford, Vice President of National Marketing and Media at Golden Corral. “We will be cheering Elliott on to qualify at Daytona and then race for a Top 10 Kids Eat Free finish.”

 EMAIL JUSTIN at tuckerjustin65@yahoo.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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NASCAR Cup Series

Strong Finish Fuels Smith’s Optimism

Regan Smith and his team put it all on the line at Pocono Raceway — and it paid off for single-car team Tommy Baldwin Racing.

Smith netted a third-place finish at Monday afternoon, capturing just the second top-five finish in the history of TBR. After starting 30th, pit strategy played a vital role in the top three result. As pit stops cycled through, Smith’s No. 7 was a few laps from pitting when heavy fog rolled over the Tricky Triangle. As a result, NASCAR was unable to restart the race and for the first time in a long time, Smith found himself in the right place at the right time.

“The cloud kind of came at just the right time for us. We were within five or six laps of having to pit, but it’s a credit to my guys for seeing the opportunity to do that strategy,” Smith said. “When you’re a small team working hard to try and go up against some of the bigger teams that we do, you’ve got to take the opportunities when they present themselves. Today and this weekend in general, just kind of had that feeling to it with the rain on and off all weekend long, and we were able to make the most out of it.”

Pocono marks the second top-10 result of 2016 for Smith, who finished eighth in the season-opening Daytona 500. Smith praised crew chief and team owner Tommy Baldwin, Jr. for the risky strategy call, knowing chances like that typically fall flat.

Smith said, “For every 10 times you try something like this, it works once or twice, and it’s even more rare that it works to the level it did today. Usually, you pick up a spot here or there. I’ll be honest; I’m kind of surprised more guys didn’t stay out that long and stretch it just a little while like we did.”

Making the most out of the situation is crucial to a small organization. Despite a partnership with Richard Childress Racing, TBR has just 24 employees on staff and is unable to afford many of the perks enjoyed by the competition. The weekly battle for a top 20 is a struggle, which makes the third-place result vital to the team’s motivation.

“Just for the shop alone to be able to say, ‘Hey, we had a good day’ [is important]. I know everybody is going to say it was fuel mileage, it was rain, it was this, it was that,” Smith said, adding, “We had a good day, we stayed on the lead lap, did what we had to do.”

The No. 7 crew played the pit strategy game, and it was worth it; a top three is equivalent to a victory for the small organization of Tommy Baldwin Racing. Their driver is optimistic for his team despite the circumstances surrounding the finish. To Smith, runs like this signify progress, even if fuel mileage and rain played a factor.

“We were way more competitive today than we were two months ago, and that’s a gain.”

EMAIL KRISTEN AT kristen.schneider@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @KristenS_Writes

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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NASCAR Cup Series

TBR Jackman Uses Football Expertise on Pit Road

Like many college football players, Ricky Rozier dreamed of going pro and playing in the National Football League. He did well as a fullback at Winston-Salem State University, yet going to the next level wasn’t in the cards. His performance in the NFL combine failed to draw attention.

However, another combine proved fruitful.

“NASCAR has a pit crew combine, and my university hosted it in the summer of 2013. It was put on by the Drive for Diversity program, which is a development program at NASCAR to help minorities into the sport,” Rozier told POPULAR SPEED.

Rozier first worked with Stewart-Haas Racing and the No. 41 Sprint Cup Series team. He started as the second gas man for Kurt Busch, yet he trained for the jackman position as well. He is currently the jackman for Regan Smith at Tommy Baldwin Racing. Although he’s worked in both capacities, Rozier believes jacking up the racecar is more physically demanding.

“As the second gas man, you still have to focus and pay attention to what’s going on,” he said. “Jackman, on the other hand, you have to be fast and light on your feet. You have to react and be prepared to make an adjustment on the car.”

He isn’t limited to the Sprint Cup Series. In addition to working for TBR, Rozier pits Blake Koch’s No. 11 in the XFINITY Series and the No. 33 of Ben Kennedy in the Camping World Truck Series. Spending a weekend pitting for various teams is common in the NASCAR garage, and it requires him to be focused and in peak physical condition. Practices and weight training take care of both.

“We practice three times a week and work out about two to three times a week,” he said. “We come in for a 9 a.m. practice, and then at 11 a.m. I’ll be in the weight room for a workout. Then we might have some other developmental practices later on in the afternoon.”

When it comes to the long-time argument of whether or not NASCAR is a sport, competition and the crew members’ fitness level play a factor in Rozier’s opinion.

“It’s the same kind of argument people have about cheerleading. To me, a sport is when you have competition. You get out there with whatever you’re doing, if it’s archery or ballet or dancing, that’s competition,” he said. “That’s why I call NASCAR a sport. It’s still very different from the stick-and-ball sports that people in our society grow up doing. When you have pit road teams and pit crew coaches who are trying to get athletes who played stick-and-ball sports to pit the cars, there’s no way you can say it’s not a sport.”

Away from the track, Rozier is pursuing another of his passions – massage and bodywork therapy. He juggles school with the demanding NASCAR schedule, but it is all part of the ride. A product of the sport’s Drive for Diversity program, the jackman never planned on going from the football field to pit road, but Rozier wouldn’t have it any other way.

“That’s how I got exposed to the thought of being in NASCAR,” he said. “It wasn’t even an idea before that combine, but now it’s a reality.”

EMAIL KRISTEN AT kristen.schneider@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @KristenS_Writes

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Development Journalists

TBR to Honor Marines for Memorial Day Weekend

NASCAR has a longstanding history of honoring the military, and for Memorial Day weekend, Tommy Baldwin Racing is doing something special. The TBR No. 7 Chevrolet will carry the names of 17 Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for the United States.

The team will also celebrate current U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Derek Stevenin, a friend of Tommy Baldwin. Stevenin’s name will be on the car above the passenger door, he and his family will join the team at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600.

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Sergeant Derek Stevenin

Sergeant Stevenin, who’s in his eighth year of active military service, has been deployed five times and served in three separate Battalions.

Baldwin and Stevenin’s father, Butch, are lifelong friends, so the team owner knew Derek from the time he was born. Over the years, Baldwin kept tabs on the younger Stevenin and saw him grow from a kid to a mature, young man.

“He doesn’t strive to set records or seek applause,” Baldwin said. “He sacrifices much of what we take for granted. He risks his life so that we can live ours, and asks for nothing in return. He is a true hero. His bravery, courage and dedication to protecting our country are an inspiration to all of us. The life he has chosen for himself is a testament to selflessness and true American spirit. We are very honored to know him.”

The names aboard the Coca-Cola 600 car are Stevenin’s comrades who lost their lives battling for freedom with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines while deployed in Majah, Afghanistan.

“Just want to say thank you to Tommy Baldwin Racing for giving me the opportunity to share some of the finest Marines I’ve had the privilege of serving with in 2/6 Marjah, Afghanistan 2010,” Stevenin said on Facebook. “To my wife, Victoria Stevenin, who is the real hero who is always there for my two children and myself, thank you. This Memorial Day we need to remember all the Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for this nation. Semper Fi.”

Baldwin said it’s important to take the time to serve those who serve us. “It gives them a break, and it gives us a chance to say thank you,” he said.

Shane Carlson is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL SHANE AT shane.carlson@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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News

Alex Bowman to Remain at Tommy Baldwin Racing

Tommy Baldwin Racing signed @AlexBRacing late in 2014-15 off season with hopes of developing the young driver and furthering the growth of their race team. Just halfway through the season, the team is impressed with what they have seen and has elected to re-sign Bowman for the 2016 season.

Progress is being seen throughout the organization and team owner Tommy Baldwin believes that Bowman is an integral part of their growth. With future plans already coming together, the team sets their sights beyond the horizon.

“We’ve got some great things happening right now, and the most important part of all our plans was signing Alex as early as possible,” Baldwin said. “Now we can continue to focus on the rest of the parts and pieces needed to continue our forward progress.”

Bowman is showing plenty of progress from his rookie season with BK Racing. He has amassed three top-20 finishes in 2015 so far, including a solid 16th place finish at Talladega in May. The signing comes as a relief for the 22-year-old driver who can now focus on honing his skills and grabbing more top-20 finishes for the team.

“I’m excited for all the things Tommy and the team have in the works and knowing that I will be a part of that for the next year is a good feeling,” Bowman said. “This has been a good year for us and I am confident in what we can continue to do this season and next.”

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NASCAR Cup Series

Charity Work Provides Perspective for Bowman

(EXCLUSIVE) Driving in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is a dream that many will never get the opportunity to have. Even for the ones who are lucky enough to get the opportunity, it isn’t always the greatest job in the world.

For a small team, a rough week at the race track can make or break a season in a matter of seconds.

Tommy Baldwin Racing worked a long winter in order to get their No. 7 car ready to run the Daytona 500. After being caught up in a wreck on lap 36 of the second Duel race, TBR driver @AlexBRacing had lost his chance at getting to race in NASCAR’s Super Bowl.

The frustration was a lot for Bowman to handle. His team worked many long hours for weeks to get their car into the Daytona 500 just to pack up and head home early.

IMG_2636While he could have let the misfortune bother him, Bowman took the time the very next day to make a difference in kids’ lives at a Florida children’s hospital. Thanks to his primary sponsor Toy State, he has gotten to go spend time with sick children on a weekly basis and give them toys to brighten their days.

“(Daytona) was frustrating, but to go the next day and see that my problems aren’t so bad kind of changes the way that you look at things a lot,” Bowman said. “To be able to put a smile on kids’ faces with just a simple toy means a lot to me to be able to do that.”

The experience means everything for the 21-year-old driver trying to make his name known in NASCAR’s top series. Not only does he get to put a smile on kids’ faces, he has gotten to see just how lucky he really is.

“It helps me put things in perspective,” he said. “It helps me realize that when we have a bad day or week like we had at Daytona, it could be so much worse and helps me be a little more grateful for what I do have.”

“It helps me be in a better state of mind for the week for sure.”

One of the biggest takeaways from the opportunity has been the different children that he has gotten to come in contact with. In Las Vegas, Bowman got to give one child a toy at the expense of a preliminary tantrum of his other toy being taken away. In the end, it was all worth getting to see his reaction.

“He threw an absolute fit – screaming, yelling, crying, but as soon as he pushed a button on the Road Ripper car, it was like an instant smile and he was so excited to play with it. He was ripping it out of the box to play with it and was having a really good time. It was pretty cool to see how that cheered him up for sure.”

Toy State now has Bowman visiting children’s’ hospitals on a regular basis. Toy State President Andy Friess is extremely happy with what Bowman is getting to do and the impact that a simple visit and a toy can make on these kids.

“We’ve had the opportunity to meet so many great kids during these visits,” Friess said. “It’s been fun to see the reaction when they meet a NASCAR driver up close, as well as receiving a toy and autograph from him. Watching these memories being made has been really exciting!”

Professional athletes tend to have rigorous schedules that could make doing something like this on a weekly basis impossible. Friess is pleased with how Bowman has been able to reach out and make an impact regardless of what’s going on in his life.

IMG953966“Alex taking the time to make the hospital visits each week has been amazing, and it has clearly been appreciated by the children and families he has met, as well as everyone at Toy State,” he said. “It’s gratifying to see our toys, and the association with TBR and Alex Bowman, having such a positive impact on so many through these hospital visits.”

While it hasn’t necessarily been the most flattering start to the season, Bowman is feeling positive and sees plenty of growth happening at TBR. As the season progresses, he realizes that the team is making strides that has them running along with some top teams.

“We’ve got a really strong group of guys working as hard as they can and we’re running in between the two Michael Waltrip (Racing) cars and in front of the Roush cars and all of them with way more resources and a much higher budget than we have,” he said. “I think that just shows just how strong the guys are at TBR.”

With the work that TBR is putting in at the shop, there’s little doubt that they’re headed in the right direction.

“It’s been fun to do more with less this year,” Bowman said. “If we can just start putting together solid races without having any issues then I think we can run really strong and continue to get better.”

EMAIL JOEY AT joey.chapman@popularspeed.com

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Development Journalists

Honor Roll or Detention: Tommy Baldwin Racing

Tommy Baldwin Racing set the bar high for themselves in 2014. The organization brought in @ReedSorenson36 to pilot the No. 36 Chevrolet and hired @MichaelAnnett to drive the No. 7 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Though many are quick to write off a smaller team like TBR, they wanted to prove that their cars could run in the top-25 throughout the season. With the premier series featuring some of the toughest competition ever, it was obvious this feat wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.

In his rookie season, Annett’s main goal would be to gain experience and show that bringing him up to the Sprint Cup Series was no mistake. He grabbed a top-20 early on in the season at Auto Club Speedway while remaining hungry to put up more good results.

Only a few weeks later, he would race his way to a career-best 15th place finish in the action packed Aaron’s 499. His last top-20 of the season would come at Kentucky Speedway, battling his way from 32nd to finish 18th. The Des Moines, Iowa native’s season would feature several more top-25 finishes, allowing him to cap off a solid rookie year.

Reed Sorenson made a statement early on in the season with a 16th place finish at the Daytona 500. While his season had its ups and downs, he managed to capture several top-25 finishes at tracks like Auto Club, Dover and Watkins Glen. After starting 36th in the fall race at Talladega, he managed to draft his way up to a season-best 14th place finish.

Although both teams finished 33rd and 34th in the points respectively, it was no indication of what the drivers were able to accomplish during the season. Annett and Sorenson both showed that TBR is a competitive race team and can run right up alongside some of NASCAR’s top teams. The challenging season proved to be rewarding for the team with plenty of top-25 finishes between both drivers.

Michael Annett

Wins: 0
Top-10s: 0
Top-Fives: 0
Laps Led: 5
Points Standings: 33rd

Reed Sorenson

Wins: 0
Top-10s: 0
Top-Fives: 0
Laps Led: 7
Points Standings: 34th

As the offseason comes to a close, Tommy Baldwin Racing has announced their new look for the 2015 season. With Michael Annett heading to HScott Motorsports, the team announced that @AlexBRacing will be behind the wheel of the No. 7. The young driver has a lot of promise and is sure to give the team a surge of youth and growth as they attempt to make the Chase for the first in the organization’s history.

Tommy Baldwin Racing: C-

EMAIL JOEY AT joey.chapman@popularspeed.com
FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @Joey_Chapman