Leavine Family Racing secures Sprint Cup Series charter
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Tommy Baldwin said Thursday that this weekend's event at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be the last as a full-time organization for his single-car outfit. The former crew chief said in a post on Facebook that "we felt it's time for a new chapter in our lives and we have sold our charter to a great group of people who will continue to guide our vision." According to a release from Leaving Family Racing , which currently runs under the Circle Sport Leavine Family Racing name, LFR has purchased the charter from Tommy Baldwin Racing . No purchase price was announced. Baldwin's team currently fields the No. 7 Chevrolet with driver Regan Smith . The team was formed following the departure of Bill Davis Racing , for whom Baldwin served as crew chief, in 2009. It has just two top-five finishes in nearly 400 starts, the most recent coming at Pocono this year when Smith finished third. "For the past eight years we've shown up at every race, worked hard to compete at the top level and bring value to our sponsors," Baldwin wrote. "I feel confident that we are moving on having accomplished that. There have been many teams like ours that have come and gone. I'm proud that we have been able to sustain ourselves from the very beginning. … "If you're reading this, you already know that NASCAR is the greatest sport in the world. I have been blessed to have a career in motorsports because of how NASCAR has grown over the years." Baldwin went on to say that he isn't sure what the future holds; fielding a part-time team wasn't mentioned but neither was closing the team entirely. Securing the charter means that the LFR team, which currently fields the No. 95 Chevrolet for driver Michael McDowell , will be guaranteed a starting spot in each race next season. " Leavine Family Racing is committed to continued growth on and off the race track," owner Bob Leavine said. "The charter is a meaningful step forward for our team and provides us further stability as we look towards success in 2017 and beyond. We are confident that the purchase of the charter and continued improvement on the track will lead to increased revenue opportunities."
Sponsor extends deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing
Nikko RC/Toy State extended its partnership deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing on Tuesday for the No. 7 Chevrolet SS of Alex Bowman . The deal was for multiple seasons, and the team revealed a new paint scheme at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. Bowman is entering his third season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and his second with Tommy Baldwin Racing . . @AlexBRacing 's new @ToyState paint scheme is looking good! @TBR_Racing pic.twitter.com/TSjLujWkX3 — NASCAR Hall of Fame (@NASCARHall) December 15, 2015
Regan Smith to drive No. 7 for Tommy Baldwin Racing
RELATED: 2016 Cup Driver Tracker " Which drivers are on the move in 2016? Regan Smith picked up a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride for 2016 on Thursday -- he'll drive the No. 7 Nikko Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing . "This is a really great time for us," team owner Tommy Baldwin said in a press release. "Having a driver with Regan's credentials further elevates our program. He's a seasoned driver and a proven race winner. We're really looking forward to 2016." Smith had driven the No. 7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series over the past three years, amassing five victories during that span. He finished third, second and fourth in the final standings in that time. "Seeing what they've done to take the program to the next level has been fun for me," Smith said on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. " Tommy Baldwin is a competitive racer, and so am I, so I'm excited to see what we can do together." Nikko RC and Road Rippers brands will serve as the majority sponsor for the No. 7 car. The New York native announced in October that he would not return to JRM in 2016. Smith has 176 career starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and he won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in 2011. The 32-year-old drove four Sprint Cup races as a substitute driver in 2015 -- three for Kurt Busch and one for Kyle Larson . Earlier Thursday, Tommy Baldwin Racing announced that Alex Bowman would not return to the team.
Tommy Baldwin Racing , Bowman part ways
About seven months after picking up Alex Bowman 's 2016 contract option, Tommy Baldwin Racing has changed course and is parting ways with the driver of their No. 7 Chevrolet. The news was announced Thursday via a team press release "As NASCAR transitions to different business and competition models, teams have to make decisions accordingly," said team owner, Tommy Baldwin . "We appreciate what Alex contributed during 2015 and wish him the best in the future." Bowman qualified for 35 of 36 races last season and had a best finish of 16th place in the spring race at Talladega Superspeedway . In Bowman's only other Sprint Cup season he drove for BK Racing for 36 races in 2014.
Bray Pemberton joins Tommy Baldwin Racing
Son of NASCAR executive joins TBR as general manager, chief legal counsel Bray Pemberton has joined Tommy Baldwin Racing as general manager and chief legal counsel for the two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization, according to the team. Pemberton is the son of Robin Pemberton, NASCAR senior vice president of competition and racing development. He previously served as general manager with the now defunct Swan Racing as well as Randy Humphrey Racing . "While I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have had with race teams in NASCAR, I can honestly say I've never been so excited about the possibilities I now have working alongside Tommy Baldwin ," Pemberton said. "I have the utmost respect for what Tommy and Beth have done over the past few years in building this team, basically on their own. I see so many great opportunities to help continue to grow their dream and see TBR compete with the top teams in NASCAR." TBR, based in Mooresville, North Carolina, was formed in 2008 by the former premier series crew chief and has grown from a single-car team to a two-car organization. Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson drove for organization in 2014. "We are excited about bring Bray on board to manage the business and legal elements at Tommy Baldwin Racing ," Baldwin , president of TBR, said. "This will give me the opportunity to focus on the big picture and spend more time building TBR into a championship-caliber organization." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Alex Bowman to drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing
Second-year Sprint Cup driver spent rookie year at BK Racing Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Related: Who the 'F' is Alex Bowman ? Alex Bowman 's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career will continue in 2015 with a new team in Tommy Baldwin Racing . The 21-year-old will drive the No. 7 Chevrolet this upcoming season, the team announced Friday. Bowman had a full-time ride with Swan Racing last year, the team that was eventually incorporated into BK Racing . He ended the year with a best finish of 13th at Daytona International Speedway in July. "I'm looking forward to working with TBR and the entire No. 7 team," Bowman said in a team release. "With Tommy's experience and his drive to run competitively, I feel like we can run well this year." Bowman made his NASCAR national series debut in 2012, with four starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. He drove full time for that series in 2013, netting six top-10s in 33 starts for RAB Racing . "Alex is the future of TBR, and he will be a great representative of our team," owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. said. "He is a young driver who displayed a great talent in both the XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series the past few years. We are pleased to give Alex the opportunity to further showcase his skills behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolet this season." The team did not announce sponsorship or a crew chief. The team on Twitter promoted #TBR7in7, which promises seven team announcements in seven days. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
The Rundown: Phoenix driver grades
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Breaking down the full field for the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway: 1. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. How's this for irony? The guy who won the race -- in overtime no less -- almost didn't make it past Lap 1. Grade: A+ 2. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch said it was an "ugly race for us" and "we ran pretty bad all day." Perhaps. But he has a shot at the championship, and teammate Matt Kenseth, who had the exact opposite day of Busch, doesn't. Unfortunate for Kenseth, but that's racin'. Grade: A 3. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . It was Larson who almost took out Joey Logano -- and himself -- on the first lap when he got loose in Turn 3, drifted into Logano (causing a tire rub on the No. 22) and then went for a spin through traffic. But that wasn't Larson's only adventure. He was involved in the second caution when he got hit from behind by Ryan Newman as both were entering pit road. Quite a day. And quite a finish. Grade: A 4. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Early problems with the car's handling were too much to overcome, and for the first time since the current Chase format went into effect, Harvick will not be driving for a championship at Homestead. Grade: A- 5. Kurt Busch, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch caught some breaks and tied a career high with his 21st top 10 of the season, but only a win would have kept him alive in the Chase. Grade: A 6. Alex Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Bowman led a race-high 194 laps and was the car to beat all afternoon. He was strong enough to win or at least finish second. He looked so good behind the wheel, you would have thought Dale Earnhardt Jr. was inside the No. 88, not a guy without a ride for 2017. Grade: A++ 7. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin's team rolled the dice when he didn't pit after the sixth caution and restarted with the lead on Lap 262. The move didn't work, but playing it safe likely wouldn't have, either. Grade: A 8. Ryan Blaney, No. 21 Ford, Wood Brothers Racing . With all the focus on the Chase drivers and Alex Bowman, Blaney drove under the radar to his ninth top 10 of the season. The last time Wood Brothers Racing had nine top 10s in a season was 2005 with Ricky Rudd. Grade: A 9. Chase Elliott, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Elliott posts back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in more than two months. Grade: A 10. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard's third top 10 of 2016 was RCR's 26th of the season, one more than last season. Grade: A 11. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing . McMurray finished in the top 15 at Phoenix for the sixth consecutive race (11.3 average finish). Grade: B 12. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . For a guy who was instrumental in two cautions -- running into Kyle Larson and later Martin Truex Jr. -- Newman posted a dang good finish. Can't say the same for Truex, though. Grade: C+ 13. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The overtimes cost Kahne a top-10 finish. Grade: B 14. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. Keselowski's 29th- and 14th-place finishes at Phoenix this year were his worst combined performance at the track since he finished 16th and 42nd in 2010, his first full season racing for Roger Penske. Grade: B 15. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Stewart is not making a lot of noise as he heads off into retirement. His finish Sunday was only his third-best in the past 13 races. Grade: B- 16. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . The driver of the No. 16 finished 16th in his 500th consecutive Sprint Cup start. Sweet. Grade: B- 17. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Score one for consistency: Allmendinger finished 17th for the second straight race at Phoenix and for third time in his past four starts at the track. (And for good measure, AJ finished 17th last week, too.) Grade: B- 18. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears posted his best finish since running 12th at Watkins Glen in August. Grade: B 19. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards qualified for a shot at the championship with his win last week at Texas and was not a factor Sunday. Grade: B- 20. Landon Cassill, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Cassill's seventh top-20 finish in 2016 is equal to his top 20s in his previous three seasons combined. Grade: A 21. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Kenseth went from race leader to out of the Chase in a flash when he thought he was clear after the first overtime restart but wasn't and went spinning after pinching down on Alex Bowman. The focus quickly went to Kenseth's spotter, Chris Osborne, who later tweeted his apologies to all of Kenseth's fans "for ending our Chase hopes," adding "this one's on me." Maybe, maybe not. It's not as if Osborne had all day to make the call. As Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast." Grade: B 22. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Sunday's finish ended Almirola's run of nine consecutive top-20 finishes at Phoenix. Grade: C 23. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . An untimely caution after a green-flag pit stop put Stenhouse in a hole he couldn't climb out of. Grade: C 24. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Bowyer's 12th top-25 finish of the second half of the season equaled his number in the first 18 races of the season. Grade: C 25. Matt DiBenedetto, No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto finished in the top 25 for the sixth time this season, including for the third time in his past five starts. Grade: B 26. Michael Annett, No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Annett equaled his third-best finish of the season (26th at Kentucky in July). Grade: B- 27. Regan Smith, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Looking for progress? Smith finished in the top 30 for the 12th time in the second half of the season Sunday, compared with eight top 30s in the first half. And he did it in three fewer starts. Grade: C 28. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne went for a slide on the first lap when Kyle Larson spun out, and later was a victim of bad timing on a caution after he had pit under green. Grade: C- 29. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Patrick endured her fourth-worst finish of the season Sunday. She finished 19th at Phoenix in March. Grade: D 30. Brian Scott, No. 44 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Three days after announcing he would retire after the season, Scott finished five laps off the pace Sunday. Grade: D 31. David Ragan, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Ragan had his worst finish at Phoenix in three years. Grade: D 32. Chris Buescher, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. The onetime Chaser posted his worst finish of the nine Chase races. Grade: D 33. Jeffrey Earnhardt, No. 32 Ford, GO FAS Racing . Earnhardt finished six laps back in his first Sprint Cup start at Phoenix. Grade: D 34. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Chevrolet, Circle Sport-Leavine Family. McDowell changed the course of the race -- and the Chase -- when he blew a tire with one lap left in regulation, hit the wall and brought out the eighth caution. Grade: D 35. D.J. Kennington, No. 55 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Kennington made his first Cup start, and if he never starts another race, he'll be guaranteed to be able to tell his grandchildren that for all of Jimmie Johnson's accomplishments in NASCAR, Six-Time (or, perhaps, Seven-Time) never beat him on the track. Grade: D- 36. Reed Sorenson, No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Sorenson finished nine laps back. Grade: F 37. Gray Gaulding, No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. A fuel pump problem spoiled Gaulding's second Sprint Cup start. Grade: F 38. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson went to pit road as the leader during the fourth caution, but he passed the pace car on pit road and was penalized and that led to the unraveling of his day. On the subsequent restart, he suffered heavy damage to the nose of his car when he ran into the back of Greg Biffle, who had checked up when Austin Dillon's car lost power. Not the best way to go into Homestead racing for a championship, but if anything, absorbing that penalty Sunday pretty much guarantees if Johnson is in a similar situation next Sunday, he won't make the same mistake. Better this week than next week. Grade: F 39. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . On a restart on Lap 218, a part failed and shut off Dillon's engine. Dillon eventually returned to the track, but he left Phoenix with his worst finish of the season. Grade: F 40. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Toyota, Furniture Row Racing . If you Google "How do you finish last in a Sprint Cup race?" this might be one of the results: Roll off the starting grid 40th. Be on pit road under green when there's a caution. Be penalized for passing the pace car on pit road. Race too close to Ryan Newman. Grade: F
Annett, Baldwin reunite in Sprint Cup in 2014
Annett will drive No. 7 car for Tommy Baldwin Racing
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Standings
After Race 36 of the 2016 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway Pos Owner Car # Points Ldr Nxt PPos G/L Wins Attempts 1 Hendrick Motorsports 48 5,040 0 0 2 1 5 36 2 Team Penske 22 5,037 -3 -3 1 -1 3 36 3 Joe Gibbs Racing 18 5,035 -5 -2 4 1 4 36 4 Joe Gibbs Racing 19 5,007 -33 -28 3 -1 3 36 5 Joe Gibbs Racing 20 2,330 -2,710 -2,677 5 0 2 36 6 Joe Gibbs Racing 11 2,320 -2,720 -10 6 0 3 36 7 Stewart-Haas Racing 41 2,296 -2,744 -24 7 0 1 36 8 Stewart-Haas Racing 4 2,289 -2,751 -7 11 3 4 36 9 Chip Ganassi Racing 42 2,288 -2,752 -1 12 3 1 36 10 Hendrick Motorsports 24 2,285 -2,755 -3 10 0 0 36 11 Furniture Row Racing 78 2,271 -2,769 -14 8 -3 4 36 12 Team Penske 2 2,267 -2,773 -4 9 -3 4 36 13 Chip Ganassi Racing 1 2,231 -2,809 -36 13 0 0 36 14 Richard Childress Racing 3 2,223 -2,817 -8 14 0 0 36 15 Stewart-Haas Racing 14 2,211 -2,829 -12 15 0 1 36 16 Front Row Motorsports 34 2,169 -2,871 -42 16 0 1 36 17 Hendrick Motorsports 5 898 -4,142 -1,271 17 0 0 36 18 Hendrick Motorsports 88 895 -4,145 -3 19 1 0 36 19 Richard Childress Racing 31 895 -4,145 0 18 -1 0 36 20 JTG Daugherty Racing 47 830 -4,210 -65 20 0 0 36 21 Wood Brothers Racing 21 812 -4,228 -18 21 0 0 36 22 Roush Fenway Racing 17 772 -4,268 -40 22 0 0 36 23 Roush Fenway Racing 6 762 -4,278 -10 23 0 0 36 24 Roush Fenway Racing 16 691 -4,349 -71 24 0 0 36 25 Stewart-Haas Racing 10 689 -4,351 -2 25 0 0 36 26 Richard Childress Racing 27 678 -4,362 -11 26 0 0 36 27 Richard Petty Motorsports 43 638 -4,402 -40 27 0 0 36 28 HScott Motorsports 15 628 -4,412 -10 28 0 0 36 29 Germain Racing 13 556 -4,484 -72 30 1 0 36 30 Circle Sport-Leavine Family 95 552 -4,488 -4 29 -1 0 36 31 Front Row Motorsports 38 530 -4,510 -22 31 0 0 36 32 Leavine Family Racing 59 494 -4,546 -36 32 0 0 2 33 Richard Petty Motorsports 44 481 -4,559 -13 33 0 0 36 34 BK Racing 23 455 -4,585 -26 34 0 0 36 35 BK Racing 83 406 -4,634 -49 35 0 0 36 36 HScott Motorsports 46 329 -4,711 -77 36 0 0 36 37 Premium Motorsports 98 289 -4,751 -40 37 0 0 32 38 GO FAS Racing 32 281 -4,759 -8 38 0 0 36 39 Premium Motorsports 55 237 -4,803 -44 39 0 0 31 40 The Motorsports Group 30 174 -4,866 -63 40 0 0 35 41 BK Racing 93 55 -4,985 -119 42 1 0 9 42 Front Row Motorsports 35 46 -4,994 -9 41 -1 0 4 43 Leavine Family Racing 159 26 -5,014 -20 43 0 0 44 Roush Fenway Racing 99 15 -5,025 -11 44 0 0 1 45 Tommy Baldwin Racing 7 3 -5,037 -12 55 10 0 36 46 BK Racing 26 3 -5,037 0 45 -1 0 1 47 Hillman Racing 40 0 -5,040 -3 46 -1 0 1
Mike Bliss to drive for Go FAS Racing in 2015
Veteran driver will be one of several drivers to pilot No. 32 Ford Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Moment Mike Bliss will be part of the Go FAS Racing lineup for the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season, the team announced on Tuesday. Bliss will join Bobby Labonte and Boris Said as drivers of the No. 32 Ford Fusion for select races in 2015. His first start for the team will come in the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1 (1 p.m. ET, FOX) "With the top tier teams expanding, we believe our best strategy is to fill the seat with veterans who have performed well in the past," said team owner Archie St. Hilarie in a release provided by the team. "This helps ensure we maintain a healthy standing in the points as the season progresses. Mike Bliss has proven time and time again that he can be competitive in the Sprint Cup Series, while bringing the car home in one piece, which is crucial for a small organization like us." The 2002 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion made eight Sprint Cup Series starts last season for both BK Racing in the No. 93 Toyota and Tommy Baldwin Racing in the No. 37 Chevrolet. His best finish was a 35th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway in September. "I'm really excited to be driving for Archie St. Hilarie and Go FAS Racing in the Sprint Cup Series," Bliss said in a team release. "I'm really thankful for the opportunity to drive the No. 32 and achieving some good finishes that will help solidify the teams position in the point standings for the 2015 season." The 49-year-old Bliss has made 169 premier series starts with his lone top-five coming in 2004 in the Richmond fall race. For the past seven seasons, he has run a full-time XFINITY Series schedule and will do so again in 2015 for TriStar Motorsports. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule