TOMMY BALDWIN AND AL HEINKE FORM HEINKE-BALDWIN RACING
Announce 2010 Short Track Program Plans
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Tommy Baldwin and Modified
team owner Al Heinke announced this week that they will be teaming up to
form Heinke-Baldwin Racing, which will compete full-time in two short-track
series in 2010. HBR will field a full-time entry in both the NASCAR Whelen
Modified Tour and the Super DIRTcar Series, as well an additional Whelen
Modified entry running a limited schedule.
Al Heinke is a former driver, crew chief, and race engineer who has
competed in a variety of motorsports series, including Northeast dirt
open-wheel modified cars, SCCA open-wheel formula classes, and IMSA-sanctioned
full-fendered sports cars. Heinke has fielded a Big Block Modified team
competing primarily in the D.I.R.T. Modified Series since 1999. During the
past two seasons, Heinke also fielded an asphalt open wheeled modified team
running a limited schedule on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
Tommy Baldwin is a 12-year NASCAR Sprint Cup veteran, five-time
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Daytona 500 winning crew chief. Baldwin is no
stranger to team ownership, as he formed a successful NSCS team which was
responsible for bringing Unilever into the sport. Baldwin has served as crew
chief for his father, Tommy Baldwin Sr., Steve Park, Ricky Craven, Dick
Trickle, Ward Burton, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, and most recently, Dave
17-year-old Erick Rudolph will drive for the team in the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour, and sponsor information is forthcoming. Rudolph ran
his first complete schedule in the NWMT in 2009, finishing 12th in the
driver point standings, scoring one win at Spencer Speedway and seven top-10
finishes. The driver from Ransomville, NY also completed a full season in
the ROC Modified Tour, ran the entire the Dunn Tire Raceway Park schedule,
and competed in 15 DIRTcar 358 Modified events at Ransomville Speedway last
season. In his young career, Rudolph has 28 feature wins in Modifieds.
Dirt track veteran Jimmy Phelps has been named to pilot the No. 98H
sponsored by Wave Energy Drink in the Super DIRTcar Series. Phelps returns
to the car he finished third in the standings with last season running for
Heinke's H&H Motorsports. The Baldwinsville, NY native picked up one win in
the Super DIRTcar Series last year when he took the checkered flag at
Cornwall Motor Speedway in Ontario, Canada. The entire No. 98H crew plans to
return to the team as well, hoping to earn the championship which eluded
them in 2009.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Kasey Kahne and notable NWMT
standout, Bobby Santos III will each get behind the wheel of the HBR's
second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour entry, with Kahne running New Hampshire
Motor Speedway in the spring, (June 26) and Bristol Motor Speedway (August
18), and Santos running at least five events which will be announced at a
Santos, who made his racing debut in a NASCAR Tour-Type Modified at
the age of 14, has found a great deal of success in Modified and Midget
racing throughout his career, in addition to competing in the NASCAR
Nationwide Series and ARCA RE/MAX Series. In 2009 he competed in the USAC
National Midget Series, National Sprint Series and National Silver Crown
Series, scoring wins in each.
Tommy Baldwin and Al Heinke's decision to form Henike-Baldwin
Racing is part of a long-term goal of driver development at the grassroots
level and catering to hardcore race fans in the tough economy. "I'm really
excited to get back into the short track program," said co-owner Tommy
Baldwin. "This new team is really important to us because we've got some
young and talented drivers with Erick Rudolph, Bobby Santos, and Jimmy
Phelps, and we want to develop a program which allows us to nurture young
talent and to groom them into top-level stars, hopefully getting them into
the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ranks with Kasey Kahne someday."
"This is really the best way to do it, with the way the economy is
and the way the sport is evolving," Baldwin continued. "Everything in
Trucks, Nationwide, and Cup is so different now. You can't test, and the
Truck and Nationwide programs are very costly from a developmental
standpoint, so this is the best way that we can get the exposure that's
needed for these young drivers, put them in good equipment, and let them win
some races. Plus, the fans that can't really afford to be going to the Top-3
Series races are going to the DIRT races, they're going to the Modified
races, so we're going to be able to reach those people again."
HBR also allows Baldwin and Heinke to effectively involve their
current teams and current sponsors, such as Wave Energy Drink. "We have
developed a unique business and marketing platform. We want to bring our Cup
sponsors in and make them part of the grassroots program with the Modifieds
and the Super DIRTcar Series. We can get those marketing partners within the
Cup series and make them part of the short track program, so they can reach
the grassroots racer. Plus, if we find some good companies that want to
build the brand with the young drivers and bring them all the way up to the
Cup level, that would make us extremely happy," said Baldwin.
Al Heinke, HBR General Manager and co-owner stated, "I am excited
to give short track racers a platform to drive for a well-established team
and give them an opportunity to succeed. We know that we will have a
successful season due to the fact that the strength of HBR comes from the
collective strengths of the people and partners we have assembled. We've got
experienced, intelligent, and highly motivated drivers and team members at
all levels, and sponsorship partners who are dedicated to our team and our
HBR will utilize PR and branding agency Activ8 Communications to
promote the team and its drivers. "We're very happy to be working with
Activ8 Communications, which will allow our drivers and sponsors access to
an unparalleled level of public relations and branding," continued Heinke.
"Our partners, Troyer Race Cars, New England Racing Fuel, WAVE Energy Drink,
and Bob Bruneau Race Engines, among many others, are very important to us,
and I know that Activ8 will make the relationships with our marketing
partners even more beneficial for everyone involved."
Heinke-Baldwin Racing's short track season begins with the Super
DIRTcar Series event at Volusia Speedway Park on February 10, 2010, followed
by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour "Icebreaker" at Thompson International
Speedway on April 11.
Heinke and Baldwin are currently looking for additional crew
members to assist with both the Modified and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams.
Resumes can be sent to