Tommy Baldwin Racing Wins NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Owners Championship

Tommy Baldwin Jr. has a lot to be thankful for this year.

His Tommy Baldwin Racing team found their way onto the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, leading to a dominating season that ended Thursday at Martinsville Speedway with the team clinching the owners’ championship for the first time.

It took years for Baldwin.

Tommy Baldwin Jr. (Photo: Adam Fenwick/NASCAR)

“It’s been in the works for a long time,” said Baldwin, who won the owners’ championship when the green flag waved for Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200. “It’s something that growing up, especially before moving down south, that was definitely something you wanted to accomplish. I kind of did it backwards, right? I won a championship after moving south and had a lot of success at the Cup level.

Baldwin grew up in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour pits along the East Coast with his father, Tom Baldwin Sr. The eldest Baldwin raced with the Tour for 20 years, winning six before dying in a crash in 2004.

His son carried on the family racing tradition, becoming a successful crew chief at the NASCAR Cup Series level. He then owned his own NASCAR Cup Series team, fielding cars for drivers like Michael McDowell, Geoffrey Bodine, Dave Blaney, Steve Park, Alex Bowman and Bobby Labonte, among others.

However, his heart has always been with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

Baldwin returned to the Tour as a full-time owner in 2020, but it wasn’t until this year that his program took off.

With Doug Coby, Jimmy Blewett and Mike Christopher Jr. sharing the driving duties of Baldwin’s No. 7, the team has established itself as the best program on the Tour this year.

Doug Coby, #7 John Blewett Inc. Modified Races driver during the 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Larry King Law's Langley Speedway on August 27, 2022 in Hampton, Virginia.  (Ryan M. Kelly/NASCAR)
Doug Coby, Jimmy Blewett and Mike Christopher Jr. drove Tommy Baldwin Jr.’s No. 7 throughout the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season. (Photo: Ryan M. Kelly/NASCAR)

“Obviously all three of them have very, very good talent,” Baldwin said of his drivers. “They are all capable of winning races, regardless of the car they get into. I was lucky to have all three of them in mine.

It started with Coby, who was not originally slated to drive the #7 this year, when he took victory in the third event of the season at New York’s Riverhead Raceway.

Coby added two more No. 7 wins for Baldwin at New Hampshire’s Lee USA Speedway and Virginia’s Langley Speedway. In all, Coby made nine starts in No. 7 and never finished worse than 10th.

RELATED: Doug Coby’s 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Circuit Stats

“What I said to Tommy early on is if it’s just this race, or just these two races, then great,” Coby said. “It turned into a few others over the course of the season and eventually ended in a real team effort to win the championship between all of us.”

Originally, the plan for the season was for Blewett to ride Baldwin’s No. 7 for most of the season, with Christopher making a handful of starts at events that Blewett could not make. However, when Blewett’s daughter fell ill, Baldwin had to find someone to drive her car while Blewett focused on his family.

Baldwin called Coby, who admits he was a bit surprised when Baldwin took the opportunity.

“He just texted me, this is the situation, do you want to drive the car?” Coby recalled. “He had, I mean, a lot of easier options. He’s from Long Island, we were racing at Riverhead, obviously anyone on Long Island could have driven Tommy’s car. I don’t know if it was Jimmy or Tommy or who, but they decided to call me.

Jimmy Blewett, driver of the #7 John Blewett Inc car, celebrates after victory during the Jersey Shore 150 for the Whelen Modified Tour at Wall Stadium Speedway on July 9, 2022 in Wall Township, New Jersey.  (Kostas Lymperopoulos/NASCAR)
#7 John Blewett Inc Modified driver Jimmy Blewett celebrates with team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. after winning the Jersey Shore 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Wall Stadium Speedway on July 9, 2022. (Photo: Kostas Lymperopoulos/NASCAR)

Although he missed several races to care for his sick daughter, Blewett made the most of the events he entered this year for Baldwin.

He made five starts for the team, including Thursday’s final in Martinsville. The culmination of those events was a win at his home track, New Jersey’s Wall Stadium Speedway, on July 9.

“I know I was part of it, but all the credit really has to go to Tommy,” Blewett said. “I think all the drivers who have driven the car this year can agree on that. Tommy and the team. racing, having the crew, having the crew running and rolling the car every time you unload from the trailer.

“Tommy and his team did this.”

RELATED: Jimmy Blewett’s 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Circuit Stats

The opportunity to be part of a Championship-winning program is something Blewett admits he never thought he would experience, which makes the 2022 season even more special.

“Obviously I’ve never won a Tour championship, nor do I think I will,” Blewett said. “I never really raced for points. I very rarely. I always try to race to win and I really never had the opportunity to race every race. With Tommy this year and the other riders, it gave me the opportunity to be part of something, to be part of a championship race.

The last driver to drive the #7 this year was by far the youngest, Christopher, 23. The nephew of 2008 Tour champion Ted Christopher, the youngster from Wolcott, Connecticut, has proven he has the talent to compete with the best the Tour has to offer.

#7 driver Mike Christopher Jr. celebrates after winning The Jennerstown Salutes 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Jennerstown Speedway in Jennerstown, Pennsylvania on May 28, 2022. (Nate Smallwood/NASCAR)
Mike Christopher Jr. celebrates after winning The Jennerstown Salutes 150 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at Jennerstown Speedway on May 28, 2022. (Nate Smallwood/NASCAR)

In three starts aboard the n°7, he did not do less well than third. He joined Coby and Blewett as Tour winners with an impressive win at Jennerstown Speedway in Pennsylvania on May 28.

“It’s just a huge opportunity that I tried to make the most of,” Christopher said. “All these guys know exactly what they’re doing. I knew my job as a driver was quite simple, to go out there and drive, because the car was always good and the team always supported me too.

RELATED: Mike Christopher Jr. NASCAR Whelen 2022 Modified Circuit Stats

When you add it all up, the 2022 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season has been a dream year for Baldwin, Coby, Blewett and Christopher.

Perhaps most importantly, Baldwin secured the legacy of the No. 7, which still bears the NY initials like the cars his father drove for so long on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

“Securing the legacy of number 7NY and my father is probably the greatest achievement of all of this,” Baldwin said. “Growing up at a very young age, 8, 9, 10 with the Modified, then you start working on it at that young age, then all of a sudden you’re a team leader at 14 or 15 with your dad and work on them.

“Coming back and having all the pieces fall into place this year is pretty special.”

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