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Racin’ Notes: Baldwin And Blaney Return To Cup

| , RacinToday.com Monday, January 17 2011

Dave Blaney will be in the cockpit of the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing car this year. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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In Racin’ news today, Monday Jan. 17:

Tommy Baldwin Racing announced that the team will run the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet in its third year of competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Dave Blaney will drive.

The team said it will kick off the season with the 53rd Annual Daytona 500 in February. The team will complete 16 events and look to add more events through innovative partnership packages.

Although TBR will attempt to qualify each week, the team will target 16 races to complete until proper funding is found to complete the remaining 20 events. Going into the season opener in Daytona, the targeted races include: two races at Daytona, Phoenix, Bristol, Martinsville, Richmond and New Hampshire, as well as events at Darlington, Infineon, Indianapolis and Watkins Glen.

“Our plan is in place to compete in 16 events with or without sponsorship,” Baldwin said.

“We would definitely love to bring a sponsor on board to support our team in those 16 races

Tommy Baldwin will be back as team owner and crew chief of the No. 36 Tommy Baldwin Racing car. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

and more. We will continue to seek more funding and add to our schedule by developing unique and customized packages for potential partners. We have put together a comprehensive package for partners looking for an economical entrance into the sport of NASCAR.”

In the 2010 season, TBR competed in 27 NSCS events with multiple drivers, including Blaney. Steve Park posted the team’s season-best finish of 13th in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The Mooresville-based team made 25 starts in 2009 and posted a season-best finish of 18th at Talladega Superspeedway.

In addition to reuniting with TBR this season, Blaney will work with Tommy Baldwin as his crew chief again.

“I am very excited to get back into the No. 36 Chevrolet,” explained Blaney. “TBR ended the year with great promise and rebuilt their fleet of cars in the off-season. With that and our previous experience together, I think we will hit the ground running.”

Blaney has consecutively competed in the NSCS since 1999. He earned two poles, three top-fives and 27 top-10s over his career in the NSCS. Prior to joining the NASCAR ranks in 1998, Blaney found success in the USAC Silver Crown Series.

“We are glad to have Dave back with our team,” owner Tommy Baldwin said. “He gets along well with our team, and his previous NASCAR experience means a lot. Working together in the past will help us going into Daytona and throughout the season.”

The TBR team will head to Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, January 20 to participate in the open test for the Daytona 500 before returning to the World Center of Racing for the biggest race of the NSCS season, the Daytona 500.

Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Michael McDowell will join its team of drivers for the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season.

McDowell is currently slated to drive in both Nationwide Series races in Iowa for Pizza Ranch

Michael McDowell will drive select Nationwide races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2011.. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota Camry with the potential to add additional races to his schedule for JGR.

“Anytime you have the opportunity to work with someone with the talent and character of Michael you are excited,” said JGR President J.D. Gibbs. “We are blessed with a great group of drivers across all three of our entries in the Nationwide Series next season.”

Last season the No. 18 Toyota team captured the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owner’s Championship behind the strength of Kyle Busch’s record 13 victories despite driving in only 29 events. In 2009 the 18 team captured the combined Driver’s and Owner’s titles as Busch drove the full season.

“These JGR race teams have an incredible performance history” McDowell said. “This is a great opportunity and I am honored to represent Pizza Ranch in their home state of Iowa and drive the No. 18. I appreciate the confidence Pizza Ranch and JGR have in me and plan to make the best of it. ”

The starting lineup for both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Pocono Raceway in 2011 will be determined on Saturday, Raceway Officials announced.

“The move to Saturday qualifying, traditionally held on Friday, will allow more race fans to enjoy the competition to determine the pole position and the other starting positions ,” said Raceway President, Brandon Igdalsky.”Our fans will enjoy a full day of racing action as Sprint Cup qualifying joins an already exciting Saturday schedule at Pocono Raceway.”

Qualifying for the June 12, Pocono 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, will be held on Saturday, June 11. The Pocono 200, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event, will follow qualifying.

The August 7, Pennsylvania 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event weekend will feature two sets of qualifying and two 125 mile races on Saturday August 6; the Pocono Mountains 125, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event and the Pennsylvania 125, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event.

Qualifying for the Pocono Mountains 125 and the Pennsylvania 500 are scheduled for Saturday morning. The Pocono Mountains 125 and the Pennsylvania 125 races are scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

A total of close to five hours of practice for the Pocono 500 and Pocono 200, plus Pocono 200 qualifying will be featured on June 10. More than six hours of practice for the Pennsylvania 500, Pocono Mountains 125 and the Pennsylvania 125 are scheduled for August 6. Qualifying for the Pennsylvania 125 will follow practice on August 6.

West Racing named Nicky Pastorelli and Dominik Schwager as the first two drivers of its Yokohama Tire Corporation-sponsored Lamborghini on Monday. The two were teammates in last year’s FIA GT1 championship and will campaign West Racing’s first ADVAN® A005 tire-shod Lamborghini in the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.

“West Racing owner Eduardo Espindola has hired two top-notch, seasoned pros,” said Andrew Briggs, Yokohama senior manager of motorsports. “The competition will be tough, but Nicky and Dominik have experience racing Lamborghinis, so we’re anticipating an exciting, successful season. I’m confident Yokohama’s motorsports heritage will be very well represented by Nicky and Dominik and the entire West Racing Team.”

“I’m proud to be part of the West-Yokohama racing team,” said the Dutch-born/Italian-bred Pastorelli, who won the European F3000 championship in 2004. “It’s a great challenge to be part of a new project and help make it successful.”

Pastorelli has seven ALMS starts to his credit – all with VICI Racing in a GT2 Porsche. His best finish was a fifth-place showing with Johannes Stuck at Utah in 2009.

(This notes package will be updated as news breaks today)

| , RacinToday.com Monday, January 17 2011
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