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Tommy Baldwin Racing Making Progress in Sixth Season

February 11th, 2014 at 10:02 AM
By Clayton Caldwell

It was January 2009 when former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Tommy Baldwin announced that he was starting up his own race team and the team was going to try an attempt at all 36 races with driver Scott Riggs. A lot of people thought that the New York native Baldwin was crazy. Starting up a race team from scratch going against the Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing's of the world was a lofty goal. Some folks weren't sure if Baldwin was going to survive. 

Yet as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series gets ready for the 2014 season Tommy Baldwin Racing is entering their sixth season in Sprint Cup Series competition. While the team has yet to find victory lane in their first five seasons, they have built a solid organization and have become a staple in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and that is a goal of any team early in their existence. 

However, Tommy Baldwin Racing made even more strides heading into the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season. The team has hired Michael Annett as one of their drivers. The hiring of Annett is huge because with Annett comes a full-time sponsorship from family company Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers, which means that the team has a full-time sponsor for the first time in their history. The funding from that ride has led Tommy Baldwin Racing to run a second team full-time and recently announced that 28-year-old Georgia native Reed Sorenson will drive the team's second entry throughout the 2014 season. The Sorenson hire was an interesting one and brings a nice young face and experience to the team, which should help the team grow and sell sponsorship in the future. 

'Dave Blaney' photo (c) 2012, Mike Kalasnik - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Although the Annett signing was big for the team its not as big as the new crew chiefs that the team has hired going into the 2014 season. First it was Kevin "Bono" Manion, who has an impressive resume spending the last eight seasons at Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. Manion was replaced by Keith Rodden on the #1 team this year and an opportunity came where Manion can bring his notebook and knowledge to the TBR team. Manion was hired as Annett's crew chief giving the team an extremely talented crew chief for one of their teams. As if having Baldwin's and Manion's knowledge wasn't good enough the team made another hire giving the team an even bigger opportunity to have their most successful season in team history. 

The team hired 1999 championship winning crew chief Todd Parrott to guide the #36 Chevrolet for the 2014 season. Parrott recently completed NASCAR's Road to Recovery Program after being suspended for testing positive for a banned substance late in the 2013 season. Parrott was working for Richard Petty Motorsports at the time of his suspension and a lot of his thoughts and ideas went into the setups at Richard Petty Motorsports

Parrott's resume is an impressive one. He's won 31 races in 570 races as a crew chief in the Sprint Cup Series. Parrott comes from a racing family and has been around the Sprint Cup Series garage area for over 30 years. If Parrott didn't make a lack of judgment with testing positive for the banned substance in 2013, he would be on a big time Sprint Cup team and would compete for a Chase spot. There's no doubt about Parrott's intelligence. 

With the knowledge of Parrott, Manion, and Baldwin to go along with the rookie Annett and veteran Reed Sorenson the team is prepared for a big 2014 season. It should be an interesting season for the team. 

Tags: Michael Annett, Motorsports, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Reed Sorenson, Todd Parrott, tommy baldwin, Tommy Baldwin Racing

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