Baldwin team expands crews, plans

Tommy Baldwin Racing is expanding and has added key members to its now two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization.

Team owner Tommy Baldwin has hired seven crew members for the Nos. 35 and 36 teams. He has added longtime crew chief Philippe Lopez to the organization’s No. 36, fielded by Dave Blaney.

The group will work its first race together in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway this weekend.

“We have recently hired seven more people and put them in the areas they need to be to make our program better,” Baldwin said. “Philippe is a well-respected crew chief, and someone I can trust to do a good job for TBR. I’m excited that now this allows me to dedicate more time toward the future of TBR from both the competition and business sides.”

Lopez previously worked with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Darrell Waltrip, Ward Burton, Steve Park and Blaney. Lopez and Baldwin also worked together, as they were co-crew chiefs at Bill Davis Racing. Lopez has collected four top fives, 13 top 10s and one pole in his 15-year career.

“I’m excited to be with TBR,” Lopez said. “I have always worked with underdogs. I really enjoy the challenge. I look forward to helping the team grow to where I see it can. I have a lot of respect for Tommy. We both started programs two years ago. He started TBR, and I started with Nemco. He has weathered the storm and turned a start-and-park program into a full-time team. He’s really the only one to do that.

“Tommy and I work really well together because we are such opposites. Together, we made good co-crew chiefs. I would settle him down, and he would rile me up. We evened each other out. I look forward to continuing that relationship.”

Lopez will reunite with Blaney for a third time. The pair previously worked together in 2005 at Richard Childress Racing and in 2001 at Bill Davis Racing. The twosome made 26 starts and collected two top-10 finishes.

“I’m really happy to be back with Philippe,” Blaney said. “We worked together a couple of times, and we have a really good relationship.”

In addition to the personnel changes, TBR is also making changes on the competition side by taking the first steps to developing its own chassis.

“I am really excited about the state of TBR right now,” Baldwin said. “We are quickly moving forward with our progress on the competition side. We have completed our first phase of wind tunnel testing with Richard Childress Racing and now have the direction we need to further along our program in that department. We have also just purchased an RCR car that we will be racing next week in Kentucky.

"While all this has been going on, we have completed the drawings for our first TBR-designed chassis. We will start building it next week with the goal of debuting in the September New Hampshire race.”