Kannapolis, NC (Sports Network) - Danica Patrick will be guaranteed a starting
position in the February 26 Daytona 500 due to a transfer of owner points from
Tommy Baldwin Racing to Patrick's team, Stewart-Haas Racing.
SHR and TBR announced on Monday that both racing organizations have formed a
collaborative partnership. TBR will field the No.10 GoDaddy Chevrolet for all
10 of Patrick's Sprint Cup Series races, including the season-opener at
Daytona, in 2012.
TBR's No.36 car, which finished the 2011 season 33rd in owner points, will
become the No.10 entry for this upcoming season. David Reutimann will drive
the No.10 in the 26 races where Patrick is not scheduled to compete. Dave
Blaney drove for TBR last year. Blaney will drive another entry for the team
Reutimann, who had been with Michael Waltrip Racing the past five Sprint Cup
seasons, will attempt to keep the No.10 car in the top-35 rankings in owner
points to assure Patrick a starting spot in each of her remaining races
throughout the season.
"Tommy Baldwin Racing has proven to be a very strong organization, and it's a
good fit with Stewart-Haas Racing," Matt Borland, the vice president of
competition for Stewart-Haas Racing, said in a team statement. "It's a
Chevrolet team led by a racer who knows every inch of a racecar. That kind of
technical expertise, along with a company mindset that is similar to ours,
provides the ideal environment for Danica to learn and succeed."
TBR, which is owned by Tommy Baldwin, a veteran Sprint Cup crew chief, had
been a single-car operation since its entrance into NASCAR's premier series in
2009. As a crew chief, Baldwin has won five Sprint Cup races, including the
2002 Daytona 500 with driver Ward Burton.
"We're very proud of what we've established at Tommy Baldwin Racing, and the
opportunity to partner with Stewart-Haas Racing and aid in the development of
Danica Patrick is a testament to all the hard work we've put in over the
years," Baldwin said. "Danica will have a great teammate in Dave Blaney, who
has been instrumental in getting our race team to where it is today. And with
David Reutimann driving the No.10 car in the races where Danica is not, the
team will remain in a strong and competitive position throughout the year."
As part of the alliance, Baldwin will work closely with Patrick's crew chief,
Greg Zipadelli, who also serves as SHR's director of competition. Zipadelli
most recently served as crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing's No.20 team, with
driver Joey Logano.
"Working with Tommy will be like old times," Zipadelli said. "We both grew up
together and competed against each other in modifieds, and we did the same
thing when we got to Sprint Cup. To finally be able to work with each other
and help Danica Patrick make a successful transition from Indy cars to stock
cars is a challenge we're both looking forward to."
Patrick left the IndyCar Series at the end of last season to compete in NASCAR
full-time this year, running the entire 33-race schedule in the Nationwide
Series and a partial one in Sprint Cup. She will drive the No.7 Chevrolet for
JR Motorsports in Nationwide.
After next month's race at Daytona, Patrick will not compete in a Sprint Cup
race until May 12 at Darlington. She is also slated to compete at Charlotte
(May 27), Bristol (August 25), Atlanta (September 2), Chicagoland (Sept. 16),
Dover (Sept. 30), Texas (November 4) and Phoenix (Nov. 11).
Last week, Patrick announced she will forgo this year's Indianapolis 500 to
compete in the 600-mile race at Charlotte. Her tenth Sprint Cup event this
season will be announced at a later date.
SHR is hopeful Patrick will run a full-time schedule in Sprint Cup next year.
The Sports Network