Sprint Cup team preview: Tommy Baldwin Racing
January 27, 2014, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
New driver, crew chief to lead No. 7 program
-- Tommy Baldwin Jr., the crew chief who became a car owner, begins his sixth season in the ownership role with an organization that has one top-five and two top-10 finishes in 239 starts.
-- New faces will be in place for the 2014 season as TBR looks to improve its overall on-track performance.
Michael Annett, No. 7 Chevrolet; TBA, No. 36 Chevrolet
Annett, a five-year veteran of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, steps into the ride previously filled by former sprint car champion Blaney. He is one of several drivers that will chase the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title in the Sprint Cup Series, and one of two that has no Cup starts. (Alex Bowman is the other.)
Annett made the move to TBR after a two-year stint at Richard Petty Motorsports. Before his RPM efforts, he drove for former Cup champion Rusty Wallace (2011) after getting his start with Germain Racing (2008-10).
Although winless in NNS competition, Annett does have 34 top-10 finishes in 163 career starts.
A new driver isn't the only change for the No. 7 team as TBR has brought in Kevin "Bono" Manion to serve in the crew chief role. Manion led Jamie McMurray to wins at Talladega, Daytona, Indianapolis and Charlotte while at Chip Ganassi Racing.
Yeley is expected to return to the wheel of the No. 36 Chevrolet for the organization, although an official announcement has yet to be made. Yeley made 35 starts for the team last season, with a top finish of 10th in the season-opening Daytona 500.
With Manion's move to the No. 7 team, it's likely Baldwin would oversee the efforts of the No. 36 entry.
Annett's green and isn't expected to be a factor in the ROY battle, but with Manion providing guidance, the team could provide a few surprises.
Yeley's proven to be a competitive driver when he has the equipment to back him up. Does it starting coming together this year?
The technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing should prove beneficial to the organization's overall progress.