Family Ties: Mike Christopher Jr. Rolls To First Whelen Mod Tour Win At Jennerstown Salutes 150

Mike Christopher Jr. celebrates victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Jennerstown Salutes 150 at Jennerstown Speedway Saturday (Photo: Courtesy of Jen Christopher)

In the landscape of Modified racing in the Northeast the names Christopher and Baldwin represent some of the most historic strands in the fabric of the sport.

Saturday at Jennerstown Speedway the family names teamed for a historic night.

Mike Christopher Jr., driving for Tommy Baldwin Racing, used a late pass of Tyler Rypkema to win the Jennerstown Salutes 150 at Jennerstown Speeday.

It was the first career Whelen Modified Tour victory for Christopher, of Wolcott, who was making his third series start.

The victory continued a fiery run for team owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. Doug Coby, filling in for Jimmy Blewett with the Baldwin team, won the last two series events – the Miller Lite 200 at Riverhead (N.Y.) Raceway on May 14 and the Granite State Derby at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. on May 21.

“I’m real happy,” Christopher said. “I’m real proud of what Tommy Baldwin has done this year. Obviously Doug has been in the car the past two races and he won. I was scheduled for running this race and then Doug wins the two races and I guess I had a lot of shoes to fill.”

Rypkema, of Owego, N.Y., was second JB Fortin of Holtsville, N.Y. had a career best third place finish.

Christopher joins his uncle, the late legendary short track competitor Ted Christopher, on the Whelen Modified Tour win list. Ted Christopher made 372 series starts and sits third on the division’s all-time win list with 42 victories. Mike Christopher Sr. made 75 starts on the Whelen Modified Tour.

Mike Christopher Jr. made his series debut with a 14th place finish at Riverhead on Sept. 18, 2021. He made his second start with the series on Feb. 12 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway where he finished third. The late Tom Baldwin Sr. had six Whelen Modified Tour victories over 373 series starts.

Mike Christopher Jr., who competes full-time in the SK Modified division at Stafford Speedway, has run selected Tour Type Modified races for Baldwin for the last three seasons.

“I can’t give it up enough for this team,” Christopher said. “… I’ve had a lot of fun with [Baldwin] over the years and it’s just getting better.

“This is a long ways away from home, but this is going to make the 7-hour drive home a lot better.”

Of the five Whelen Modified Tour events this season, four have been won by drivers who are not competing full-time on the series. Matt Hirschman, who has started two of the first five events, won the season opening event at New Smyrna Speedway. Coby, a six-time series champion, is also running part-time this season. He has won in both of his series start this year. The victory by Justin Bonsignore at Richmond Raceway on April 1 has been the only win this season on the series for one of the division’s full-time drivers.

After scoring his first series pole, Rypkema dominated out front for much of the event.

Christopher lost the lead to Rypkema on lap 119 but fought back to his bumper quickly. Christopher went back to the lead on lap 139 and quickly pulled away from Rypkema. The second place matched a career best series finish for Rypkema, who also had a runner-up finish in 2021 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

“It’s hard to be mad about this,” Rypkema said. “… We were so tight that last run. … I just couldn’t make it happen. It was so tight. It’s really hard to be made about that. Great day for us, we led a lot of laps.”

Before Saturday Fortin’s previous best series finish was seventh.

“We had a stout car from the beginning,” Fortin said. “… I can’t thank my team enough. It was a killer car.”

Andrew Krause and Tommy Catalano rounded out the top-five respectively.


  1. This win proves that Mike jr is the real deal. Also proves again if you can win at Stafford in an sk you can win anywhere in any type of car. Congratulations Mike

  2. What’s wrong with the 51 car this year?? Is the 22 cars concerning?

  3. Stuart A Fearn says

    Tommy Baldwin got something figured out and he’s rolling with it right now. MCJ obviously did a great job bringing it home. Jr definitely drove a great race especially when Rypkema drove him way up into the marbles when he went to pass him on the outside late. Credit to spotter and cheerleader keeping Jr in the game and kept his pois to come back to complete the pass and make Rypkema watch that yellow rookie stripe disappear in the distance.
    Great win and congrats to TBR and the entire Christopher family

  4. Jennerstown Pick-em Results says

    NWMT Jennerstown 5/29/2022

    Doug……51,79,07,58, 7ny,5>>>8+6+13+11+1+(17)=39
    Big City..51,16,77,7ny,3,07>>>>8+9+7+1+(14)+13=38
    Lapped…79, 16, 51, 7ny, 77, 3>6+9+8+1+7+(14)=31
    Viva…….51, 79,07,58,7ny,24>>8+6+(13)+11+1+4=29

    29 Viva race fan
    31 csg
    31 Lapped traffic

    Remainder of the field
    34 Suitcase Jake
    37 Fast Eddie
    38 Big City
    39 Doug
    41 Earl
    50 Bobf

    Point Standings

    Lapped traffic (2)…(16+31)=23.5
    Earl(4)….(22+44+20+41) = 31.8
    KenL (2)…(32+32)=32
    Big City(2) ( 30+38)=34
    getserious(4)..(17+47+55+28)= 37
    Viva race fan (3)… (75+20+29)=41


    getserious 1
    Fast Eddie 2
    csg 1
    Viva race fan 1


    csg 3
    Suitcase Jake 3
    Fast Eddie 3
    Lapped traffic 2
    Earl 1
    Viva race fan 1
    get serious 1
    Doug 1

  5. Tommy Baldwin Jr. is *FINALLY* fielding competitive cars that make it to the end of the race. Thank goodness! 😅

    Looks like quite a few top teams missed the set up. The new tire on a track that they might not have good notes threw a 🔧 at them. Oh well.

  6. Last year Christopher had a win and a second in Stafford opens and had the third in the New Smyrna NWMT opener so I’m going to say this win in the 7ny is no revelation. If I had the power to bestow nicknames I’d label Chistopher “Slow burn”. His strength not the SK sprints in my view but longer races on bigger tracks. Patient, strategic, seemingly always under control yet ready to pounce just when the time is right. He’d be terrific at the higher levels especially on bigger tracks. Baldwin is holding the trump card this year and you can add picking the right driver for the right race to his successes.
    How about the elephant in the room? What, nothing? McKennedy……..seems to be the car to beat….. the caution……..parks it in the 16’s pit. Comes out in a rage and smacks the wall. Not exactly a fumble at the goal line with the game on the line but close.
    Are you serious? Really, you’re telling me the change in tire compound can send the 51 into a tail spin with regard to performance yet have virtually no affect on the 7ny? Or maybe it’s something else and you heard it here first. Mojo exists and somehow through cosmic forces beyond our understanding got shifted from the 51 to the 7ny this year. Not gonna say it’s because the 51 punted on the Sizzler that may have angered some force I can’t prove exists but the dots are pretty obvious are they not?
    What a marvelous year in the NWMT. We that participate in the Forum Pick 6 seem to be chasing our tails trying come up with the cars for a specific race that may over perform. Come on man how the heck is anyone gonna see Rypkema, Fortin, Krause and Catalano in the top 5. But in the end it’s a good thing this deal where cars not normally on our radar as top contenders end up on top. Not in a blood bath like Wall a while back or a Sizzler Drizzler but in a relatively clean race. If the tires are partly responsible more of that please.
    So what’s the verdict on the event presentation? I’m pretty cynical using military related sacrifice and national symbols as part of a profit making commercial enterprise but have to say JDV Productions out did themselves this year. The table did it. Remembering my classmate from High School killed in Vietnam. Misting up. Remembering is the goal so mission accomplish JDV Productions overcoming my best efforts to stay cynical and aloof.
    Onto the Indy 500 and Thunder Road.

  7. Fella your schtik about Baldwin is getting really old. He’s been putting GREAT cars out there, with multiple drivers bringing home the bacon. So PLEASE give it a rest.
    As for Mike Jr, his progression is fantastic. Top 3 driver in multiple division

  8. Congrats to MCJ and Tommy Baldwin Racing. MCJ is the real deal and has barely started his career. Can’t wait to see what comes in his future.

  9. I may be blinded by Mike Christopher JR winning the race but I thought that was one of the more entertaining Whelen races I have seen in years. New young drivers running upfront battling for the lead. A first time winner with what I believe was career bests for the entire podium. Some exciting passes for the lead. No one getting dumped for the win. Just good racing. I feel bad for Mckennedy, that pit stop was tough to watch. It put him back in the field and he unfortunately got into the wall trying to come back up to the front. What is going on with the 51, they seem really off this year. Definitely not up to the high standards we are accustomed to. I thought the opening ceremony was done really well. I am usually not a fan of all the pageantry of opening ceremonies but that one resonated with me. Every once in awhile Whelen modified tour does something to remind you they are the biggest dog in the yard.

  10. 5 of the top 7 are part timers, followed by 6 of the top contending full timers.

    Wow! 😯 Quite the shake up.

  11. Stuart A Fearn says

    A change of tire compound and Construction can 100% throw your set up right out the window. All the old tricks and adjustments might not work. I have no clue but they do have a select number of teams test these tires for development and perhaps that was Tammy Baldwin racing I don’t know but I imagine that’s a possibility

  12. As far a the new tire goes last year I believe they ran the 630 harder RR which they do not use anymore anywhere this year or for that matter last year at most tracks now they use the softer 500 RR which they use every where now anyway at first the 51 when the 500 was first used had a advantage a lot of times but I hear now the tire truck does not bring tires that size up for the stagger every one likes guess your lucky to get tires.

  13. Suitcase Jake says

    Nice Job Doug…..Pick’em Championship should be a minimum of 15 Races with your BEST 15 counting for the Championship.. There are a TON of RACES left for the Pick’em pool players to get at least 15 races picked….Baldwin has definitely hit on SOMETHING .. it could be a SHOCK PACKAGE …Spring package … Heavy left front Package… Reverse Wedge package…. Left front and right rear are your heaviest springs….WHATEVER it is it’s WORKING WELL on LONG RUNS…. McKennedy is just snake BIT in the PITS… I can count many Races where HE was the LEADER and the BEST car…. then he pits and has all kinds of various problems… I thought he stopped in the 7NY pit first…. He used to drive that ride for a fews years and maybe had brain fart and saw pit sign 7NY and went for that one …?? weird things can happen on pit road….Gotta be frustrating to have such a super handling 79 long run car and have it lost going pit-side…Bouncing it off the wall after the Second pit stop ended his chances for the WIN…The 51 lost their mojo and the 7NY has Won 3 in a ROW… WOW….THE NASCAR TECH will be going over that car with a fine tooth comb … TRUST & BELIEVE that….Seen that movie many times.. people start WHISPERING.. then talking… then screaming at the Tech Officials after someone gets on a winning streak… Just ask Big Money …Years ago they had a Bounty on George Summers at Seekonk after He Won week after Week after Week….

  14. No tire compound has been changed in 4 years which was doing away with the 630 RR tire no changes since

  15. For the record there was contact with #34 and # 79 LF tire just past middle of corner causing 79 to slide up out of grove and pound the wall. Plenty of chatter on the radio about the situation . Reply is hard to tell but looks like contact

  16. I’ve been kind of having fun with the Pick 6 championship idea and will score individual races as long as folks enter. However at some point the championship is just too much to keep track of and my Excel days are way in the rear view mirror
    Total wins and podiums is doable so that will continue unless there is no interest.

  17. Art Roraback says

    Congratulations on a fantastic run!

  18. Suitcase Jake says

    Doug , Whatever you do is up to you … I was throwing the 15 race Pick’em Idea for a
    Championship type deal..I am at the Tracks turning wrenches most weekends so as a Founder of the Pick’em just trying to share with you ideas, like in the past as WE put
    the Pick’em Rules , new points, zero points for picking the Winner, etc….You are doing
    all the WORK so we all APPRECIATE THAT very MUCH.. Thank You…
    HAVE FUN = BE HAPPY … This Pick’em has been great fun and gives us something we
    can AGREE ON and ENJOY as R.D.CONN.. Readers & Patrons ….
    I hope everyone is ENJOYING the PICK’EM..
    The Commissioner….. LOL
    Suitcase Jake……

  19. Viva race fan says

    I enjoy them Doug when l get a chance .

  20. Doug,

    You’re doing a great job with the pick 6 and podiums. I for one would like to see that continued and the championship stats take a back seat to keep things easier for you.

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  21. Just updated the schedule to include the latest winners, the change in the Racing Guys race at Claremont and the TV schedule.


    12 (Sat) NWMT, New Smyrna, >Hirschman,Goodale,Christopher (7ny) Lutz (82) , Blewett (7ny), Emerling Silk, Hirschman, Blewett (7ny)Hirschman, Blewett (7ny), Lutz (82)Hirschman, Blewett (7ny), Williams (50)Hirschman, Blewett (7ny), EmerlingHirschman, Heady (7ny), WardHirschman, McLaughlin, Myers
    26 (Sat) SMART Caraway >Heady, Myers, Labonte

    1 (Fri) NWMT, Richmond, 150 laps >J. Bonsignor,Catalano, Hossfeld(2)
    2 (Sat) SMART South Boston >Hirschman, Brown, Heady
    3 (Sun) Thompson IceBreaker 125, >Christopher(7ny), McKennedy, Goodale
    10 (Sun) SMART Franklin >Brown, Gerstner, Measmer
    16 (Sat) MRS, NHMS >McKennedy, Williams(25), Fournier
    23 (Sat) Stafford, Twin 40’s, Duel 1 >Silk, Swanson, McKennedy
    Duel 2>Preece, Pitkat, Hirschman
    24 (Sun) Stafford, Sizzler Open >Hirschman, Preece, Silk
    30 (Sat) TTOMS, Monadnock >Hirschman, Rameau, Robie

    14 (Sat) NWMT, Riverhead, >>>>Coby, Emerling, Silk
    20 (Fri) Stafford, CBYD 81 >>>>Williams, Pitkat, Goodale
    21 (Sat) NWMT, Lee USA, >>>>>Coby, McKennedy, Hirshman
    27 (Fri) Racing Guys Open Claremont (Rain, see June 3)
    28 (Sat) NWMT, Jennerstown >>>>>>Christopher, Rypkema, Fortin
    29 (Sun) TTOMS, Thunder Road >>>>>Dowling, Nocella, Hirschman

    3 (Fri) Racing Guys Open @ Claremont
    4 (Sat) MRS, White Mountain 75
    10 (Fri) Stafford, Bud Light Open Mod 80 (FloRacing)
    15 (Wed) Thompson Nutmeg State 75
    18 (Sat) NWMT, Monadnock (JDV Productions event), 200 laps
    25 (Sat) NWMT, Riverhead, 200 laps (FloRacing)
    29 (Wed) TTOMS, Seekonk $10,000 to win (FloRacing)
    29 (Wed) SMART Caraway (FloRacing)

    1 (Fri) Stafford, GAF Roofing Open 80 (FloRacing)
    9 (Sat) NWMT, Wall, 150 laps (FloRacing)
    9 (Sat) MRS, Wiscasset 75 (Racing America)
    13 (Wed), Thompson Midsummer 75 (Racing America)
    16 (Sat) NWMT, NHMS, 100 laps (FloRacing)
    23 (Sat) TTOMS, Star SBM 125 (Racing America)
    29 (Fri) NWMT, Claremont (JDV Productions), 150 laps (FloRacing)

    6 (Sat) TTOMS, Waterford (in flux and questionable)
    17 (Wed) NWMT, Thompson, 150 laps (FloRacing)
    19 (Fri) Stafford, Lincoln Tech Open Mod 80 (FloRacing)
    27 (Sat) NWMT, Langley, 150 laps (FloRacin)g
    27 (Sat) MRS, Oxford 75

    3 (Sat) NWMT, Oswego, 150 laps (FloRacing)
    3 (Sat) SMART Carteret (FloRacing)
    10 (Sat) SMART Orange County (FloRacing)
    14 (Wed) Thompson, Tri Point Showdown 75 (Racing America)
    17 (Sat) NWMT, Riverhead, 200 laps (FloRacing)
    17 (Sat) SMART Dominion (FloRacing)
    18 (Sun) MRS, Star 100
    24 (Sat) Stafford Fall Final, TTOMS 80 Laps (FloRacing)

    1 (Sat) SMART Motor Mile (FloRacing)
    7 (Fri) MRS, Thompson World Series, 50 Laps (Racing America)
    8 (Sat) NWMT, Thompson World Series, 150 laps (Racing America)
    8 (Sat) SMART Hickory (FloRacing)
    9 (Sun) Thompson World Series 300 (Racing America)
    15 (Sat) SMART Tri County
    22 (Sat) TTOMS, Seekonk 10K
    27 (Thurs) NWMT, Martinsville, 200 laps (FloRacing)

  22. Then I shall make it so.
    Score the race entries for those that care to join in. Tally for wins and podiums. Championship scoring is over.
    Live long and prosper!

  23. Fast Eddie says

    Doug, thanks for playing Pick’em manager and score keeper. It definitely creates an additional element of fun to the races.

  24. Fast Eddie says

    And Shawn, thanks as always for your work on this site and letting the pick’em pool take place.

  25. Standings are updated.

    Top 4 places are tight. As each of them has a bad race, it gets more interesting.

    I think it is a given that Catalano and Goodale will have a bad day sooner than later. Silk and McKennedy have better chances at making it through the season on the lead lap.

    Certainly can turn into a tense season.

  26. Doug;
    Just a lot of dedication on your part, and a great job. Ill try and fulfill my duty of picking!
    But i aint doing so hot, having a “red sox” kind of year!
    Thanks for doing this.

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing