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Mike Skinner taking over as Tommy Baldwin's driver for Dover, and Riggs is out

Mike Skinner: the best driver never to have won a Cup race (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Tommy Baldwin, the veteran crew chief and now one of this sport's newest owners, is making a driver change.
   Scott Riggs is out, after Monday's 600, and Mike Skinner, Patrick Carpentier and Brian Simo will share the ride the rest of the season.
   Skinner, a Truck tour veteran and occasional Sprint Cup series driver, will run in 17 of the 25 events left on the schedule. Carpentier will run the two Pocono events, the summer New Hampshire race, the September Richmond event, and the September Dover race. Simo will run the Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen road course races.
   "Tommy and I go back a long ways, and he is the type of person NASCAR needs in the Cup Series," Skinner says. "Even though my main focus is the Truck, if we can help Tommy along until he finds that permanent driver that he needs to put his team to the next level, then it is an honor for me to get a chance to participate and to try and help him out."
   Carpentier, the Canadian Indy-car racer who has been trying to make a career change to NASCAR, is a standout road racer; he ran his first NASCAR event in the 2007 Nationwide race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, winning the pole and finishing second. His best run in Cup was a 14th at Daytona last summer.
   Baldwin says the new lineup "will help us evaluate where our program is and help make improvements to bring it to the next level."
   Riggs' bests for Baldwin was a 25th at Daytona. More critically he failed to qualify for events in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Bristol and Texas.
  "I enjoyed my time working with Tommy," Riggs said. "I just think it was time for both of us to make a change. We mutually agreed it was time for someone else to jump behind the wheel."


Patrick Carpentier: Tommy Baldwin gives the Canadian a new look at the Cup tour (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


The biggest question is why

The biggest question is why Baldwin wasted his time with Riggs to start with. Riggs is a guy with no ability to race who will do nothing to pass anyone out there and no ability to help make the car better - when he took Jeff Green's BGN car - the one Green won over and over with - and managed but two mediocre wins with it, that should have sent up the red flag that Riggs is a guy with no competitive fire.

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