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.
“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.
By Souza Media
With just two races left in the SMART Modified Tour season, Tommy Baldwin Racing and rising star driver Caleb Heady sit on top of the championship standings. Heady holds a small advantage over Matt Hirschman heading to the next race on the series schedule, this Saturday, October 15 at Tri-County Speedway. With the lead on the driver’s side, Tommy Baldwin Racing is also leading the owner’s championship battle.
Throughout the 2022 season, Heady has been consistent on the SMART Modified Tour – visiting Victory Lane early in the season at Caraway Speedway in March. Since then, the team has been in and around the top-five at the end of feature races, and if not, in the top-10.
Heady is in the middle of a championship fight that includes at least six drivers still in mathematical contention going down the stretch run of the season, but he holds the lead. Additional drivers in contention include Modified veterans like Burt Myers, NASCAR Hall of Fame member Bobby Labonte and others. Heady, who is relatively new to Modifieds, has been impressive all year and now has a chance to seal up the title.
On top of the success down south, Tommy Baldwin Racing just recently sealed up the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour owner’s championship, with three different drivers competing in the No. 7NY during the season.
“Caleb’s been great to work with,” Baldwin said. “As a young driver he has a lot of experience to gain and I feel like in the last two years he’s improved as a driver a lot. Heading into the last two races, we are just going to keep doing what we have been doing and hope to be there at the end. Leading the points this late in the season is always special but to seal the deal and add another title to our 2022 season would be a cool accomplishment.”
Heady started his career in karts, then moved to Legends Cars, where he still competes at times today. Heady has raced in hundreds of Legends Cars features and won championships. He actually got his start driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing after a random question in the shop one day. He’s good friends with Tommy Baldwin Jr.’s son, Jack Baldwin, and it sparked a relationship that led to him competing in the Modified.
“We were just kind of talking in the shop and I asked when I could drive it and the rest is history,” Heady said. “Working with Tommy – it’s certainly nerve-wracking knowing I have a car to win the race no matter where we go. It’s been a great experience and there is a lot to learn from working with him and driving his cars. I’ve always had my notebook wide open trying to soak everything in.”
Heady is excited to head to Tri-County this weekend to compete in the Cardinal 99.
“We’re just going to go there and try to win the race like we usually do,” Heady said. “I’ve only been to Tri-County a handful of times and only been on the track a small handful of times during practice. It has multiple grooves, and the fastest car seems to always get to the front at the end if they pick the right groove. Tommy always prepares a great car, so I’m confident we will be in contention.”
Once Tri-County goes in the rear-view mirror Saturday, Heady will turn his attention to the championship race at Motor Mile Speedway on Saturday, October 22, a place he has plenty of confidence.
“I’m definitely confident at Motor Mile, especially with that being the championship race,” Heady said. “We’re in a position of the season now where we have to look at the championship battle and be smart and cautious if we have to in order to be in a good spot to lock it up. I’m really a fan of Motor Mile. It’s a track I feel like I’m good at and we look forward to getting back there next weekend. First, we have some business to take care of at Tri-County.”
Tommy Baldwin Racing and driver Caleb Heady will return to the track at Tri-County Speedway in North Carolina on Saturday, October 15. The race will air to a live audience on FloRacing.TV, and will begin at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on Tommy Baldwin Racing, follow the team on Facebook for the latest updates.