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Baker Curb Racing's NASCAR Nationwide Series future up in the air

By Lee Montgomery

SPARTA, Ky. – Baker Curb Racing lost one of its drivers, a crew chief and a sponsor after the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kentucky Speedway. But team co-owner Gary Baker is trying to stay positive in a difficult situation.

Baker Curb’s deal with Red Man ended because of government restrictions on tobacco sponsorship, and with it went Sprint Cup driver Greg Biffle. Scott Wimmer also won’t return to the team, and crew chief Ricky Viers worked his last race with the No. 27 Ford at Kentucky.

Baker Curb’s other driver, Scott Lagasse Jr., has driven the No. 43 Ford without sponsorship for several races.

"I wish we had definite plans," Baker said Saturday night. "It’s going to seriously be week-to-week now. We know what we’re doing next week. The following week, we’re not sure yet. We know we’ll be there at least with two cars at New Hampshire."

Australian road racer Owen Kelly will drive the No. 27 this week at Road America, with Lagasse in the No. 43. After that, who knows?

"We may have something cooking with one of the young guns for New Hampshire, maybe even there and Chicago," Baker said. "We’ll know more by Tuesday of this week."

Baker Curb’s No. 27 Ford has run well this year, ranking eighth in the owners standings. Biffle had a pair of runner-up finishes in the car this year, and Wimmer has run well, too.

"Incredibly satisfying and incredibly frustrating to know you’ve got a team that’s capable of doing what this team’s capable of doing, and to see them with one arm tied behind them – because we have been racing with limited funds," Baker said. "I see what they do with a whole lot of heart and very little money.

"They’ve got the heart. If I can just get them the money, all I can say is, ‘Look out to those money cars up there, the Gibbs and Penske and Roush cars,’ because they’re going to know they’ve got to go through us to get to victory lane."