Alex Bowman ‘baffled,’ ‘puzzled’ by release from Tommy Baldwin Racing

(Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
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Alex Bowman said he has “no hard feelings” toward Tommy Baldwin Racing, but is “baffled” and “puzzled” why the Sprint Cup team he drove for in 2015 released him without warning 30 days before the Daytona 500.

He was released Thursday morning and the team hired veteran Regan Smith hours later to drive its No. 7 Chevrolet. Bowman found out about his lack of a job on 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 told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” Friday morning.

Tommy Baldwin Racing issued a statement in response to Bowman’s comment: “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.”

Bowman, 22, said he had conversations with team owner Tommy Baldwin on Monday and late Wednesday night and “everything was good.”

As it turned out, Smith told SiriusXM Thursday night that in a “wild few days” Baldwin contacted him Tuesday, a deal was made on Wednesday and then finalized Thursday when the news was announced.

Bowman said he has not spoken with Baldwin since the announcements were made.

“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.”

TBR cut ties with Bowman a month after signing a multi-year sponsorship deal with Toy State. The announcement of the deal was made at the NASCAR Hall of Fame with Bowman in attendance.

“I feel like I was alongside Tommy for a lot of it,” Bowman said, recalling how he and Baldwin met with Toy State executives at the company’s American headquarters in Boston. “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.”

Bowman, who finished 33rd in the Sprint Cup point standings in 2015, will focus on the job he knows he has in 2016 – competing in nine Xfinity Series races for JR Motorsports.

“I’m really looking forward to my nine races with JR Motorsports and doing what I moved to North Carolina to do, which is focusing on winning races,” Bowman said. “That’s the most important thing to me right now. I don’t know, maybe I’ll go run my midget some and do some stuff like that. But my main focus is those nine races and do everything I can to prove there’s a reason I should be here.”