By admin | January 31, 2012
By Richard Allen
On Tuesday it was officially announced that Stewart-Haas Racing and Tommy Baldwin Racing had struck a deal that will allow Danica Patrick to use points earned by TBR’s number 36 car in 2011 to assure her a spot in the Daytona 500. As a result, the 36 car and driver Dave Blaney will have to race its way into that season opening event and the four races that immediately follow.
The top-35 finishers in the Sprint Cup standings from the previous year are guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races of the following season. Often as a result, new teams may opt to somehow purchase or otherwise swap for the points of an existing team to acquire that assurance, which is what has occurred in this case.
The deal between SHR and TBR is not necessarily groundbreaking, but there are some nuances in this situation that previous such deals might not have had. TBR will field a car for all 36 races on the Sprint Cup schedule with Danica driving in ten of those races and David Reutimann piloting the number 10 Chevrolet in the other 26 events.
While TBR did have to give up the guarantee for Blaney’s ride, the ultimate payoff could be well worth the gamble in the end. This partnership with SHR might provide the impetus to move Baldwin’s organization from the ranks of back marker(and occasional start and park) to contender status in the future.
Look at all that assuring Danica a spot in the Daytona 500 has provided this team. TBR will receive technical support from SHR, which in truth means they will be receiving support from the sport’s most powerful organization, Hendrick Motorsports. Baldwin’s small team will now benefit from all the wind tunnel, seven post shaker and engine advances made by two teams who have the money to spend on such things.
On the Speed network show RaceHub, Baldwin pointed out that SHR Director of Competition Greg Zipadelli will consult with him and share setup tips to be used on Danica’s car. Those same tips can be applied to Blaney’s machine as well.
And perhaps even better for a small team, the exposure gained from having such a high profile driver could ultimately attract the attention of companies who may wish to sponsor a NASCAR effort in coming seasons.
In the end, Tommy Baldwin Racing could come out of this deal as a financially and technically equipped two car operation in 2013 if a few cards fall in the right place. While there is no doubt a deep desire of Baldwin to do it on his own, this decision seems to be somewhat of a ‘no-brainer’ for a small team looking to make its way.
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