Tommy Baldwin Racing, which last ran full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2016 before scaling back to part-time in 2017 and selling off its assets in 2018, will return to the series in 2019. On Monday, the team announced its intentions to run part-time in the Cup Series starting with the 2019 Daytona 500. No driver nor number has been announced.
“We are looking forward to get back going again with TBR in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series,” team owner Tommy Baldwin stated in a press release. “Our goal is to work methodically and build it one piece at a time. I’m excited about these five to seven races for the 2019 season, and where it takes us in the future.”
A longtime NASCAR crew chief and son of NASCAR Modified great Tom Baldwin, Tommy Baldwin founded the team in 2001 for limited Busch Series (now Xfinity Series) competition. Those who have driven for the team’s second-tier operation include 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, Fox analyst Wally Dallenbach Jr., and current Cup crew chief Paul Wolfe.
In 2009, TBR moved up to the Cup Series, fielding the #36 Toyota Camry for drivers like Scott Riggs and Michael McDowell. A year later, the team opened a second car, the part-time #35. The #35, later rebranded to the #10, began a full-time campaign in 2012 before being permanently renumbered to #7 in 2013.
In the 2011 Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Dave Blaney scored the team’s first top-ten finish as he placed third. In 403 total Cup races, TBR has four top tens and two top fives: J.J. Yeley finished tenth at the 2013 Daytona 500, while Regan Smith enjoyed eighth- and third-place runs at the 2016 Daytona 500 and rain-shortened Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway, respectively.
The #36 last competed in 2014 with Reed Sorenson, who finished thirty-fifth in points.
After the 2016 season, TBR switched to a part-time schedule with the #7 as part of a partnership with Premium Motorsports, whom Baldwin had joined as its Competition Director. While four of the #7’s eleven races in 2017 were run under the Premium banner, the other seven were with TBR; Elliott Sadler recorded the TBR version’s best finishes with two top-twenties.
Although Premium currently holds the rights to the #7, having used it on a limited basis in 2018, it would not be a surprise if it relinquishes the number to TBR. The number, as #7NY, was primarily used by Tom Baldwin during his Modified career and therefore holds sentimental value for TBR. Furthermore, the team’s throwback paint scheme for the 2015 Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway was a tribute to Baldwin’s father.