Rick Ware Racing enlists Tommy Baldwin for new Competition Director's role

Rick Ware Racing enlists Tommy Baldwin for new Competition Director's role
HHP/Harold Hinson

Tommy Baldwin Jr., returns to the NASCAR Cup Series as competition director for Rick Ware Racing.

The 56-year-old second-generation racer, who has extensive experience in motorsports as both a team owner and crew chief, returns to the tour following a three-year hiatus.

RWR team president Robby Benton feels Baldwin’s background will be invaluable as the organization builds a technical alliance with Roush Fenway Keselowski.

“We brought Tommy Baldwin in as competition director just to further streamline the conduit we have right now between our teams and RFK,” Benton said. “Just trying to make sure we keep an eye on everything that we're doing with our two cars and trying to create as much congruency between what we're doing and what RFK is doing.

“The Next Gen platform is a lot of work. For our crew chiefs and our engineers to stay focused on their respective cars, we needed somebody like Tommy that could come in and just kind of be an overseeing eye to make sure that we're covering all the bases that need to be covered and to make sure that we were seeing and considering all the things that needed to be seen and considered for the type of alliance that we have with RFK.”

Baldwin worked under the tutelage of his father, Tom Baldwin, who raced and won on the Whelen Modified Tour for two decades. The younger Baldwin moved to North Carolina in the 1990s and was promoted to crew chief at Junie Donlavey Racing in 1997. Baldwin found success when he was aligned with Ward Burton at Bill Davis Racing in 1998. Together the pair won four races—including the 2002 Daytona 500 and 2001 Southern 500.

Baldwin’s introduction to team ownership came in 2001 when he dabbled in the Xfinity Series. Eight years later, he turned his attention on Cup, where he would continue as a proprietor for the next decade. In 2017, RWR acquired assets from Tommy Baldwin Racing—along with technical support.


His familiarity with RWR—and acute knowledge of the sport—makes Baldwin uniquely qualified for his new role.


“Well, that's primarily while we brought him in,” Benton said. “Obviously, Tommy and Rick (Ware) have known each other for a long. I've known Tommy for a long time. I think he's going to fit very well into what we're trying to do. With Rick being a very hands-on team owner, I was a hands-on team owner, and Tommy was a hands on team owner, so we're kind of looking at the world the same way.


“He understands what we're trying to do. So I think that, you know, again everything that the Next Gen car requires. Tommy can come in and help us take a step forward, help RWR step forward and make sure that we're keeping the details covered. He’s very good at helping us manage the team, manage the day-to-day because he's been there, done that.”


While it was quite the undertaking, Benton is pleased with the progress RWR has made since moving onto the Roush Fenway Racing campus.



“So far we’re very happy,” Benton said. “Any time you have a technical alliance, it's a lot like a marriage and you don't know how it's going to go until you put the rings on the fingers. It's gone very, very well. Just with the transparency that exists, we've been very impressed with how much they've gone out of their way to help us. And I think that they see value and having the extra cars that that they can utilize for R&D efforts and things like that.


“I think looking at a two-car team—and they know that they're racing against so many other four car teams—it gives them two more cars worth of information. A lot of times when we're going to the race track and you have the Group A and Group B practice and qualifying, if our cars are in Group A for instance, it gives them an extra chance to get a read on the track or understand the tire or you know whatever we're doing.


“We're staying congruent on car setups with what they're doing, so the data transfers back and forth. So I think it's a good opportunity to have aa broader, deeper pool of cars and for us to all share information back and forth. But it it's been good for us.”

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