Donny Lia, Tommy Baldwin Racing To Team Up With Whelen Mod Tour Team In 2017

(Press Release from Tommy Baldwin Racing)

(Graphic: Tommy Baldwin Racing)

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (January 11, 2017) – Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announced today their plans to compete on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) with driver Donny Lia in 2017. Returning to his roots, Tommy Baldwin will bring back the iconic No. 7NY as seen below.

The car number has a rich history in the NASCAR touring series and the local tracks on Long Island, New York, amassing a combined total 54 wins with the late “Tiger” Tom Baldwin, Sr.

Lia, a two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion (2007 and 2009) and Long Island native, brings a wealth of experience to the team. With a career dating back to 2001, Lia raced Baldwin on the Tour.

“Tom and I quickly became friends early in my racing career, I was able to learn a lot from him,” said Lia. To now drive for Tommy in the 7NY that his father ran means a lot to me. I just can’t thank him enough for this opportunity.”

Baldwin and Lia have crossed paths before with Baldwin serving as the crew chief for Lia’s first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in 2008.

“There are things I have taken from that one race with Tommy years ago that I have brought with me throughout my career,” Lia commented. “Knowing how much I learned from only one race with Tommy makes me that much more excited for the upcoming season.”

The program brings Baldwin back to his childhood and sparks great memories along the way.

“This (modifieds) was my introduction to racing,” said Baldwin. “As a kid it’s really all that I knew. Watching and then ultimately working with my dad not only taught me the technical side, but gave me a competitive spirit. He always said ‘there is no replacement for winning.’

There’s no surprise that TBR will field a 600-horsepower open-wheel modified. It has always been part of his plan.

“When I moved to North Carolina, I took my roots with me,” he said. “I knew that at some point, at some level, I would be back involved with modifieds. I stay in contact with and follow the series regularly. It’s always been an important part of my life and now I will have the opportunity to enjoy great memories and create new ones. With a great driver like Donny behind the wheel, the 7NY team is excited for our first race.”

Lia summed up the announcement with similar sentiments.

“I am very honored that Tommy wants to go racing with me in his car,” said Lia. “This is a deal that I feel completes my career. It has come full circle. I get to be racing a modified that Tommy owns, with the 7NY on it. I can say, out of all the cool stuff I have had the opportunity to do throughout my career, this is right at the top of the list.”

Baldwin and Lia are scheduled to compete at the following races:

3/18 Myrtle Beach Speedway
4/30 Stafford Motor Speedway
6/14 Thompson Speedway
7/14 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Race of Champions
7/15 New Hampshire Motor Speedway
8/4 Stafford Motor Speedway
8/9 Thompson Speedway
9/2 Oswego Speedway
9/16 Riverhead Raceway
9/23 New Hampshire Motor Speedway


  1. I think this will be good for the tour

  2. Carl is just tired of being taken out by Penske Racing

  3. Now this is some real and positive news for the tour.It should make for a great combination (driver/owner).The 2 and 51 better watch out!

  4. I love hearing about new drivers
    Donny lia??
    I think he is from Virginia and is a motostar

  5. Business is about to pick up! I love the fact that they have announced which events they are attending too. Can’t wait for 2017 season to start.

    Gotta laugh at the limited posts for announcements for teams adding cars to the tour. There would be 200 negative posts if a team closed up shop or someone retired.

  6. Fantastic news.. Loved watching Tommy Sr. on Long Island. Fiercely competitive. Good good news.

  7. darealgoodfella says

    Why not a full season?

  8. Picked some really good tracks to go to. Maybe this will help with the TV also.

  9. Tommy is going to be a very busy man with the 3 teams he’s running. Lia in a modified, friesen full time truck, E.sadler in the cup car for Daytona. Very interested in seeing what halmar/friesen team with tommy running the team can do. Friesen is the real deal.

  10. NH MARK…the legend himself . people can have opinions. All these guys putting partial deals together makes for some great races , but as far as the title hunt it will be a 3 horse race like we have said all winter. That’s a fact. I agree it’s cool to see these deals coming together . just wish there were more title contenders for the long haul. Want to see Teddy in the #4 , let’s get it done BOB and TED !!!

  11. Crazy in NY says

    Friesen is the real deal. hahaha..
    he won’t last.

  12. Friesen not the real deal? I guess you like watching rich teenagers racing on daddy’s money.

  13. It’s only a 3 horse race in your mind because that’s what you saw last year. People can’t see outside the box. This time last year nobody was talking about the 16 or 51. Everybody was crying about the tour sucking because the 22 folded up shop(0 wins in 2015). Now you add Preece and Woody. Zachem ran top five in points and is a real up and comer. Maybe the 4. Maybe the 85. The 58 is a top 5-7 car in terms of points. No need to look at points until Aug 1st anyway.Still have Santos and Dowling capable of winning shows. Emerling will bust though on tour real soon. Another talented kid. Money Matt always a threat when he runs. I could go on but I’m getting too excited think about 2017. The only fact is whatever Mod Man predicts will be wrong. That is a proven fact too.

  14. Andy Boright says

    Friesen is a great talent, but unless he is driving for one of the 3 or 4 teams that have access to the best technology & resources, he’s just banging his head against a wall.

    As far as the NWMT goes, hard to make a legitimate & compelling series if the tour is make up of more part-timers than full-timers.

    Of course the issue of so many of the best modified drivers either skipping the series entirely, or just running 4 or 5 races hasn’t been addressed by series officials (if they really care or noticed).

  15. Part time deals are better than nothing.Happy to see Lia back even part time but it won’t make the points battle any more exciting.When did Emerling announce full time on the tour this year?I also see a 3 or 4 horse race.We shall see in short order.

  16. Tommy Baldwin Racing is out of the Cup game. Sold the Cup Charter after the 2016 season. TBR will be running on the K&N Series.
    No Modified Series has big numbers running full time anymore.

  17. With Stewart Friesen, of course he is fighting an uphill battle. We saw it with Ryan Preece last season. But man, you gotta try and go for it when you can.

  18. darealgoodfella says

    NH Mark, I admire your optimism. Really, I do. But history tells a different story. Go ahead and make a list of the seasons where a cars roared from >10th place in points to win the championship, how many times was there really a chance that more than one car had a chance to win the championship at the last race? The last 2 races? The last 3 races? The simple fact it that the Tour ends up being a 3-ish car race for the championship, from the usual cast of characters/cars. Although we start the season saying 15 cars have a chance, that never happens. Look at the cars that won the races last season. All wins were owned by 2-3 cars. It’s the same, or similar, every season.

  19. Fast Eddie says

    With the points structure as it is, wins and bonus points make a much bigger difference than a few years ago. With two or three point per position, consistency used to overcome wins and inconsistency. I don’t think that’s possible anymore. That is compounded by the fact that the teams winning races also seem to be the most consistent teams as well. I wonder if the increase in quality part-time teams might tighten up the points chase to some degree. Some of them may act as “spoilers”, getting wins and top 5’s, in effect taking regular and bonus points away from the full time teams. That may lead to more full time teams as championship contenders at the end of the year.

  20. Wow 92 races this year at Waterford
    Busy schedule
    I love the people making over 100 grand a year night
    Half off hotdogs

  21. Bill Realist says

    For short track racing sake I hope Friesen won’t make it. I would rather watch a DIRT big block mod race with him in it than a cup race any day.

  22. The year Woody got into the 88 they went from back marker to 2nd in points. Zachem has been rising in the points each year. Obviously you are only going to have 1-3 cars in the mix going into the World Series in October. It’s simple math. The closer the season gets to the end the less points that are available if you are chasing the leader. I guess my bigger point is there are 8-10 teams capable of winning right now. When we get into August we should still have 5 or 6 still in the running. Bad luck and bad fortune will eliminate some no doubt.

    Last year was undoubtedly a 3 horse race. It was still exciting though. I think 2017 will see more race winners which will change the points landscape. Preece and Lia and Santos and Hirshmann will all compete for wins when they are out there. Preece should win several races.

    Any word on that May 13th race? My guess now is it will just fall off the schedule.

  23. Now we know why the 8 team folded. The Money went to the 7ny team.
    The WMT will be better off with some teams running to just win races. this makes the tour more fun.

  24. who would say friesen cant drive.I am a big supporter of max and he will be up front this season and a threat at every race.The tour has problems but will still get great drivers and teams.

  25. darealgoodfella says

    The mix of cars running for a championship (full-timers) versus the cars running to win the race (part-timers) will be interesting. The part-timers will be relentless and merciless, moving cars out of the way.

  26. Jeffrey, thought you were moving to Switzerland and done with the comments. Knew it wasn’t true, lol……..

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