Story By: KYLE SOUZA / TOMMY BALDWIN RACING – MARTINSVILLE, VA – After 16 races across seven different states on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2022, Tommy Baldwin Racing officially celebrated the owners championship on Thursday night at Martinsville Speedway.
Driving the No. 7NY, Jimmy “Showtime” Blewett celebrated with the team post-race, after coming close to Victory Lane in the 200-lap race – contending for the lead in the final laps before being swept up in a wreck.
After years of trying, Baldwin finally sealed a championship on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this season. And above all, he appreciates every single person who helped him get to this point – not only this season – but throughout his entire, and extensive, career in the sport.
Baldwin has been just about everywhere from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Cup Series and in between, but has found his bread and butter back in the Modifieds in the last few years, where he feels at home. The Modified community includes a group of dedicated crew members and drivers, many of which have a deep history in the grassroots style of racing.
Baldwin is no different. From the early years working with his dad and learning everything he uses now to his advantage, he’s encountered some of the most genuine people in the garage area.
With five feature wins and three different drivers sitting behind the wheel of the No. 7NY during the 2022 Whelen Modified Tour season, it was everything Baldwin and his family could have imagined.
It was what Baldwin would call a dream year – and one that did exactly what he’s been banking on for his entire career – cemented the Baldwin name as champion, added to the already impressive resume, and cemented the No. 7NY as one of the top car numbers in series history.
People won’t forget the 2022 season.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Baldwin said. “My dad spent his whole life racing in the NASCAR Modifieds and to win the title with the No. 7NY, it’s cool to cement the legacy of our Baldwin name and this car number forever. I’ve always said you have to win a championship to cement everything and we did that this year with three different drivers. Even when we didn’t win, we were running up front. The team behind me, they all worked their butts off. To get the championship and lock it up a race early, it showed how tough we were all year.”
From his father, and now living on through his sons, Baldwin has spent a ton of time at the race track, where he truly feels is home. He lives and breathes the sport. And so many people do it right alongside him.
“It truly takes an army to be successful,” Baldwin said. “From the beginning, to know that so many people have touched our cars now and the cars my dad worked on and everything in between, it’s been a great ride. I want to thank everyone who has been involved with the success of the Baldwin’s. All of the guys and girls that came to the shop from the early 1970s to present, they’ve all had a piece and a part of our success. It’s not only about what we accomplished this year – but for the last 50 years.”
This year, with three different drivers, Baldwin dominated the Whelen Modified Tour. Headlined by five wins, the team included the likes of Jimmy Blewett, six-time series champion Doug Coby and rising star Mike Christopher Jr.
Highlights include Coby winning back-to-back races in his first two trips behind the wheel, Christopher Jr. winning his first career Whelen Modified Tour race in his third career start, and Blewett capturing a home track at Wall Stadium Speedway. The team looked up the owner’s championship after the event at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, one whole race early.
Baldwin’s team becomes the first since 2017 to win the owner’s championship without their driver also winning the driver’s title. With three different drivers, Baldwin decided early in the season he would chase the owner’s title. Jon McKennedy, a driver inside the Tommy Baldwin Racing stable from 2018-2021, won the driver’s championship for the 2022 season.
“You put this together with three different drivers, with five wins during the season,” Jimmy Wilson, Director of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, said during the title presentation. “This is really, really cool. To have your owner’s championship, cementing the Baldwin name into the record books as a champion… it’s special. On behalf of the France family and everyone at NASCAR, we’re very proud to have you as our owner’s champion this season. I can only imagine your dad is smiling from above.”
“Winning the title… it’s for all the people that have gone to war with our family,” Baldwin said.
To celebrate on the frontstretch at Martinsville, Baldwin unloaded a piece of Modified history – one of his dad’s former cars – with the No. 7NY on the side of the historic Modified coupe. It added yet another element to an incredible season and created a photo opportunity of a lifetime.
“It’s even more special to have this car here for the celebration,” Baldwin said. “For me, it’s about having it here to showcase our history and how we made it to this point. There have been so many people that have helped my family get here all the way from the beginning through now, in all different types of divisions. But to come back into the Modifieds and chase this title… we had one hell of a year and it’s great to celebrate it all at Martinsville, a place that is so deep in Modified history.”
In the 16 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events, the team finished inside the top-10 in all but two races, and combined, drivers led 543 laps.
“We were fast right off the trailer as usual with Tommy and his guys,” Blewett said at Martinsville post-race. “Our main goal was accomplished today with all of the hard work and dedication the team has put in all year to win the championship. Tommy gave me the opportunity to be his driver and I feel to be a leader of the team. Mike Jr. is one heck of a wheelman and Doug’s resume speaks for itself. It’s a good deal.”
Overall, it’s the third title of the year for the Tommy Baldwin Racing team – adding to the SMART Tour triumph with driver Caleb Heady down south – and the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing championship from February at New Smyrna Speedway.
Tommy Baldwin Racing will return to the track – for another race – for the North-South Shootout – with three cars at Caraway Speedway on Saturday, November 5. Blewett, Coby and Heady will all drive for the team in the special event.