Veteran NASCAR crew chief Tommy Baldwin believes he sees an opportunity in the sport’s current economic climate, so he announced Tuesday that he is starting a new Sprint Cup team in 2009.
The team will be based in Mooresville, N.C., and operate under the Tommy Baldwin Racing banner. Baldwin said the team plans to run full-time in the Cup Series using Toyota cars and engines from Arrington Manufacturing.
"With tough economic times upon us, the timing for starting this team is right," Baldwin said. "Our overhead is low and we have a great group of talented mechanics and specialists to choose from. We can offer sponsors the chance to get into NASCAR Sprint Cup racing at a fraction of the costs, without compromising on-track performance, due to our low overhead."
Baldwin, 41, did not name a driver or a sponsor.
"We will do everything we can to support NASCAR and its fans," Baldwin said.
"We are thankful for the opportunity NASCAR offers as we are able to prepare our own car to compete in one of the nation's top sporting events.
"That's what makes NASCAR so different from the other major sports. It's still attainable to be an owner, if you are willing to put the work in, and I'm no stranger to hard work."
Don't expect 'racy' in newest NASCAR 'reality' show
Before NASCAR debuts a new racing season, a new racing-themed reality series will make its debut Jan. 24 on the TLC cable network.
"NASCAR Wives" will feature four women - DeLana Harvick, Kelley Elledge, Angie Skinner and Shana Mayfield - in one of those behind-the-scenes shows aimed at giving viewers a peek into their "real" lives.
A story in the Hollywood Reporter said that the concept of the show "mixes racing with the 'wives genre' peppering cable primetime, such as Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of Orange County.' But since the show is being produced by NASCAR Media Group, I don't expect it to be quite that - and you'll pardon the pun - racy.
DeLana Harvick, of course, is married to Cup driver Kevin Harvick. Kelley Elledge is the sister and key business adviser to her brother, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and was married to NASCAR crew chief Jimmy Elledge. Angie Skinner is Truck Series driver Mike Skinner's wife. Shana Mayfield is married to Jeremy Mayfield.
The first show will air on the same night at TLC carries the Miss America pageant. The balance of the season will air beginning sometime this spring.
Massaro's role expanding with ESPN
Mike Massaro is coming off pit road, for the most part, and taking on a larger role in ESPN's “NASCAR Now” program.
Massaro will still work as a pit reporter for some Nationwide Series races, but his new main role will be as one of the hosts of the "NASCAR Now" program. He and Nicole Manske will share the primary host role on a rotating basis with Allen Bestwick continuing to lead "NASCAR Now's" Monday roundtable discussion shows.
Vince Welch will become one of ESPN's four primary pit reporters, joining Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake.
ESPN also announced that Marty Reid, lead announcer for ESPN's coverage of the IndyCar Series the past three years, will be the play-by-play announcer for Nationwide Series events for much of the second half of the season, after ESPN begins its 17-race coverage of the Sprint Cup Series.
Jerry Punch will continue as play-by-play announcer for the Sprint Cup coverage and for the Nationwide Series in the first half of the season. The rest of the network's cast of analysts and prerace show commentators will return.
Clint Bowyer, the 2008 Nationwide Series champion, will join Jeff Burton and Stephen Liecht in sharing the No 29 Nationwide Series car for Richard Childress Racing in 2009. Crew chief Dan Deeringhoff will move from the No. 2 team that Bowyer drove with last season to take over the No. 29. ... Tickets for Labor Day weekend activities at Atlanta Motor Speedway will go on sale at 9 a.m. Wednesday at atlantamotorspeedway.com. ... Kalitta Motorsports says it will have only one full-time National Hot Rod Association team in 2009, the Funny Car driven by Jeff Arend, unless it finds more sponsors. Doug Kalitta's Top Fuel car will run on a race-by-race basis as the search for backing continues. Top Fuel cars driven by Hillary Will and Dave Grubnic also will not run unless and until sponsorship is found.