A dream season is nearly complete for Tommy Baldwin Racing on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. With three different drivers behind the wheel through the first 14 races of the season, Baldwin’s No. 7NY team leads the Whelen Modified Tour owner’s championship standings by 38 points with just two races remaining.
Trips to Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (October 9) and Martinsville Speedway (October 27) will help decide the owner’s championship – but two strong finishes will be more than enough to collect Baldwin his first championship on the Whelen Modified Tour as a car owner. In fact, with a strong run at Thompson, the team could seal it up early.
It’s been a team effort this season. Whether it was six-time series champion Doug Coby – who drove the most races so far – veteran Jimmy Blewett, or rising star Mike Christopher Jr, all three drivers have been to Victory Lane and run inside the top-five when they strapped in behind the wheel on the NASCAR circuit. The team has also been to victory lane in many open modified races up and down the East Coast.
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“We’ve just had a great year, not only on the Whelen Modified Tour, but also across the board in our Open Modified shows with wins and top-fives,” Baldwin Jr. said. “We still have two more races to finish it out on the NASCAR Tour and we want to go out on top. It’s special. We’ve been working hard for a long time and it’s finally looking like it’s going to pay off in the biggest way.”
The year started with a third-place finish with Christopher Jr. at New Smyrna Speedway, and continued with Blewett wheeling the car to a seventh-place finish at Richmond Raceway. Coby jumped in the seat for two straight wins at Riverhead Raceway and Lee USA Speedway, then Christopher captured the third straight for the team, winning at Jennerstown Speedway.
Since then, Coby has driven the car to another win at Langley Speedway, while Blewett also carried the checkered flag at his home track, Wall Stadium Speedway. Overall, in 14 championship events, the team has only failed to finish once and has been inside the top-10 in all of the other races.
“All three drivers are worthy of having the opportunity to race with our group,” Baldwin said. “Coby needs no introduction with his resume and we can’t thank him enough for keeping us up front. Working with Jimmy goes deeper than just driving, as we are both friends and have been for years. Winning at his home track with him was definitely one of the highlights of the season. And with Mike Christopher Jr., I enjoy working with the upcoming stars of the sport, especially one in the Christopher family. His name alone gives you the feeling he’s a winner, and he’s been there for us multiple times this year.”
Coby understood the assignment from day one – to go out there and win races. But it wasn’t right away that he realized the team had a shot to make history as owner’s champions.
“It was certainly unexpected from my side of things to be contributing to the effort,” Coby said. “Tommy wasn’t someone I knew overly well prior to the season. We knew each other, and talked in passing, but we weren’t best friends. It just seemed like after winning Riverhead (Raceway) and Lee (USA Speedway) back-to-back in our first races together, we just all clicked and started thinking about the potential for the owner’s championship. To not be in contention for a driver’s title this year, I wasn’t even planning on running as many races as I have. I hope it all works out for Tommy to finish it off with as dominant of a car he’s had all year in the last few races.”
Coby, like many in the Modified community, know the owner’s championship would mean a lot to Baldwin, for many reasons.
“For Tommy, it’s about legacy and his family history,” Coby said. “It’s his dad’s car number, his father’s legacy in a Modified… and his. It really runs deep for a lot of people who were friends and crew members with Tommy’s dad and everyone on Long Island to see him have this much success.”
“Finishing it off would be special,” Baldwin said. “There’s been a lot of years of winning races in the Modifieds and coming close to winning championships like this. But capturing this crown on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour after the season we’ve had, it just seems fitting. The 7NY is a special number to me… but also a lot of other people in the community. And to hoist a championship in the NASCAR Modifieds with that number… it would be a moment we would never forget.”
The next event for the Tommy Baldwin Racing team on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will take place at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday, October 9. For more information on the team, visit their Facebook page for updates.
PHOTO: Tom Morris Racing Photography