Bowman Shocked by TBR Release
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on January 22, 2016 | 4:15 P.M. EST
“I went to the gym yesterday morning on my way to the shop to go work on my midget and I refreshed Twitter and Twitter says I’m fired." (Photo: Getty Images)
Alex Bowman said his release from Tommy Baldwin Racing came as a complete surprise.
The team announced earlier this week Regan Smith would drive its No. 7 entry that was piloted by Bowman last year. It was a shock to Bowman, who found out about the change of plans via social media.
“I went to the gym yesterday morning on my way to the shop to go work on my midget and I refreshed Twitter and Twitter says I’m fired,” Bowman said Friday on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” program.
Bowman told the program he had not heard from team owner Baldwin or anyone with the organization since learning of his fate.
“I guess you’ll have that in big-time auto racing,” Bowman said. “I know the sport’s changing a lot and a lot of business models are changing. Tommy felt like he needed to make a change. If he feels he needs to make a change and that I’m not the right person to be in that, then I shouldn’t be there. If you don’t have any faith in your driver, there’s no reason to go to the racetrack.
“There’s no hard feelings, it’s a business and it’s what has to happen and it’s the way this deal works. It’s pretty ruthless, but that’s just the way it is. It’s big-time auto racing.”
Part of Bowman’s confusion was attributed to his role in helping the team land sponsor Toy State, a deal that was formally announced with the driver in attendance at a press conference held last month.
“I feel like I was alongside Tommy for a lot of it,” Bowman said, who said he accompanied Baldwin to the company’s Boston headquarters during the sponsorship search. “I feel I became real close with a lot of people up there … I tried to reach out to all of them yesterday to say thank you to them. They did a lot for me last year and definitely consider them good friends.”
Late Friday afternoon, TBR released a statement via the team’s Facebook page, which read:
"The business of NASCAR is no different than any other professional sport. There are a lot of moving parts and pieces behind the scenes that fans and media don’t see. Decisions are made carefully over a period of time and are influenced by many factors.
"As the competition and business models change in NASCAR, it’s the responsibility of teams to make decisions accordingly. We felt that we needed to make some changes, and the driver was one of them.
"The circumstances surrounding Alex’s release via social media was unfortunate and certainly unintentional. The culture of doing business in motorsports has become more complex and involves many parties such as agents, business managers, attorneys and sponsors. A comment in passing may be overheard and subsequently conveyed to the media.
"Our intention, as it always is, was to follow business protocol and notify Alex and his management of our decision. Again, it’s unfortunate that confidentiality was compromised, and the news delivered in this manner.
"Alex Bowman is a talented, young race car driver. He has a good future ahead of him. We appreciate his time with us and wish him well."