car inside the top-35. Heading to Daytona this year, Danica Patrick will race a guaranteed entry with the TBR banner.
Photo by Greg Hildebrand / Flickr.com
The Racing Experts: So the last time we talked to you, you were in Martinsville, coming off the first team top-5 in the Cup Series for you organization. Since it has now sunk in over the off-season, I want to begin by asking you, how did that third place run set the mood for the final four races and into the off-season?
Tommy Baldwin: It was good; it gave us a little shot in the arm. It got us some exposure. Whenever you finish something that well, run in the top-5 and run up front that good, it’s a great momentum builder. We finished out the year good. We had some ups and downs, but at least we go through the off-season knowing that we can do this and we have the capabilities.
The Racing Experts: Had someone told you last year at this time you would be fielding Danica Patrick’s Daytona 500 locked in car and corporate backing from GoDaddy.com, what would you have told them?
Tommy Baldwin: Depending on the time of the year, but I’d tell you it’d be pretty much crazy. That’s our goal, to build this program [in]to a top-5 [race team]. We’ve got to take steps and I feel that was an important step we took.
The Racing Experts: This deal is obviously going to benefit your team short term and long term. But, how did everything come together in the first place—talking with the folks over at Stewart-Hass Racing?
Tommy Baldwin: It took a long time to get everything worked out to make sure we were all in the parameters with NASCAR. It was a lot of things involved in this in making sure Danica can get enough seat time so she can get in these races and get ready for 2013. As of right now, everything’s worked out.
The Racing Experts: How hard of a decision was it to transfer the owner points of the No. 36 car to the No. 10 car?
Tommy Baldwin: Well, it’s just transferred numbers. The points are still TBR’s and we didn’t do any owner transfers, just a car number change. The points went from the 36 to the 10 and the 35 to the 36. It wasn’t that difficult.
The Racing Experts: What are your thoughts—last year, the No. 36 car had to qualify in on time the first five races and it looked at times as if sponsorship for the weekend was questionable. After locking your car well inside the top-35, you have to do it all over again with Dave Blaney.
Tommy Baldwin: We have one car that’s in the top-35, so that’s a great selling point. We’ve got five races to get the other. We didn’t get the [36 car inside the top-35 until] the eighth or ninth race last year. Dave understands that, and he knows what he has to do and he’s been through it before. He was obviously the best choice [to get our car qualified for the races].
The Racing Experts: Since the launch of your team in 2009, the No. 36 is 3-for-3 on making the Daytona 500. How confident are you that it will be 4-for-4 at the end of Thursday’s Gatorade Duels? Or, do you think your car can be one of the fastest on pole day among the go-or-go homers to lock-in then?
Tommy Baldwin: I don’t know. Last year was last year and you never know going into the 500. We’ve been lucky enough to make the races; all three of them so far, but you can’t count on past history to do what needs to be done. We have a brand new car so hopefully everything will work out.
The Racing Experts: GoDaddy.com will be sponsoring Danica Patrick’s efforts for her ten scheduled races. For the other events, how does sponsorship look for your other drivers at this point?
Tommy Baldwin: We’re working on a lot of things. The next two to three weeks are very crucial to what direction we’re heading in for sure.
The Racing Experts: In 2012, if adequate sponsorship dollars are not found for a race, could we see your car or cars resort to starting and parking to keep afloat?
Tommy Baldwin: The 10 car won’t be doing that at all. We’re not sure about the 36. Like I tell everybody, I’m going to run every race until I run out of money and then load up and go to the next race with that car. We’re working on some stuff right now, but like I said, the next couple of weeks are going to be critical.
The Racing Experts: Is there a possibility of seeing your team field a driver in the Budweiser Shootout?
Tommy Baldwin: No, we’re all focused on the Daytona 500 and beyond.