Motoring: Mike Christopher Jr. Keeps Tommy Baldwin Racing Domination Rolling At Thompson

Mike Christopher Jr. celebrates victory in the Thompson Outlaw Modified Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea on Wednesday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

THOMPSON – Tommy Baldwin Racing has been the dominant force across the landscape of Tour Type Modified racing the last month.

And that freight train like push to the front continued Wednesday at Thompson Speedway.

Mike Christopher Jr. of Wolcott was a force in rolling to victory in the Thompson Outlaw Modified Nutmeg State 75 presented by Twisted Tea Wednesday at Thompson.

It was the fourth Tour Type Modified victory for team owner Tommy Baldwin since May 14. It was the second victory this season for Christopher at Thompson with the Baldwin team. He also won the season opening Icebreaker 125 on April 3.

“Tommy has got it hooked up right now,” Christopher said, “The [NASCAR Whelen Modified] Tour wins and now the Open wins. Two in a row here at Thompson, it feels really good. … I had to go through some restarts there and the car was really good. That last yellow we had tightened it up a little too much, but we were still able to put it in victory lane.”

Keith Rocco of Wallingford was second and Ryan Preece of Berlin third.

On May 14 at in the Whelen Modified Tour Miller Lite 200 at Riverhead Raceway Doug Coby scored victory as a fill-in driver for Jimmy Blewett with Baldwin. A week later Coby was back in the Baldwin ride and rolling to victory in the Whelen Modified Tour Granite State Derby at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. On May 28 the roll continued for the Baldwin team with Christopher scoring his first Whelen Modified Tour victory in the Jennerstown Salutes 150 at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway.

The scary part for the competition is that Baldwin think he’s left more on the table with Christopher’s winning car on Wednesday at Thompson.

“It’s a lot of work,” Baldwin said of the recent success. “It’s not coming easy. This is a brand new PSR Pro Chassis car, it’s got two races on it. I’m just getting ready to start figuring it out. I’m close. I missed it a little bit after the pit stop and we were a little too tight. My fault. But this thing is going to hum.

“I’m excited. We’ve got to keep digging. I’ve been in these situations before. You can’t stop, you gotta just keep thinking and you gotta keep working. That’s what I’m going to do. I’ve got some great guys helping me, these guys travel all over and meet me at these races and work their asses off. I’ve got four really good race car drivers, that helps. And you know momentum. If momentum is on your side you’ve got to run man. And that’s what we’re doing.”

Baldwin looks to keep the streak rolling Saturday in the Whelen Modified Tour Duel At the Dog at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. fielding cars in the event for both Blewett and Coby.

Christopher started on the pole Wendesday but gave way to Ronnie Williams out front early. Ryan Preece fought up to move into the lead at lap 15.

Caution flew on lap 30 with Preece leading, Christopher second and Woody Pitkat third.

Swanson, running fifth at the time, headed to the pits along with six place Williams.

On lap 36 it was Christopher going by Preece for the lead.

On lap 50 caution flew again with Christopher leading Preece, Pitkat in third, Jacob Perry fourth and Swanson fifth. The top-three went to pit road putting Perry out front with Swanson for the restart. Christopher restarted in seventh.

Swanson got by Perry for the lead on the restart. On lap 52 Pitkat got by Perry for second with a streaking Christopher following to third. A lap later Christopher went under Pitkat for second place off of turn two.

On lap 58 Christopher sized up Swanson into turn one and came off turn two with a lead he wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.

Christopher held on through four restarts over the final 11 laps.

Rocco rallied after a pit stop issue on lap 30 dropped him from fourth to deep in the field.

“We had a really good car,” Rocco said. “We got jingled up on the pit stop. Nothing you could do about that. I’ve got to thank everybody on this team. They worked hard, they got me back out and they gave me a heck of a car.”

Preece got by Swanson late for third.

“We just didn’t have what it took to challenge to [Christopher] there on that last run after the pit stop,” Preece said. “We had a third place car at the end and that’s where we ended up.”

Swanson, of Acton, Mass., ended up fourth and Chris Pasteryak of Lisbon rounded out the top-five.


  1. Suitcase Jake says

    A crew Chief’s DREAM … When you HIT on something thru trial and error …… Then you go on a winning STREAK…. WOW 3 tour races in a Row… 2 Open Modified Wins and when your HOT your Hot …. Winning is the best feeling… Dominating the fields feels even better … PSR Pro Chassis….. OK now it’s out there … Add that to the TFR… FURY… PSR battle for the Best Chassis of 2022…..TBR is back …

  2. stick a fork in thompson says

    18 cars for the premier event …embarrassing of the show same deal.. track surface terrible.. crowd minimal.. just please end it already put up the 55 and over condos

  3. Fast Eddie says

    Despite the mostly small fields, the quality of racing for the most part was really good. To the folks that have to have huge car counts to be happy, Thompson is not your track. To the folks that appreciate good racing regardless of car counts, Thompson works!

  4. wmass01013 says

    OK Fast Eddie but for HOW long do you think Mayberry/Michaud will continue leasing the track of which i am sure they are Paying a good price to the Hoenigs to have small crowds and fields????? You can color it any way you want but the OPEN concept has not worked in 2021 or 2022 for this group at Thompson!!!

  5. Wow ‘stick a fork in thompson’ that’s pretty rough. Are you related to Andy Cusack by chance?

  6. I’m sorry. 30 lap “heat” races don’t thrill me. 11 “top” tier division is pitiful

  7. Harry Balzzonia says

    Good racing? Thompson is a joke they should close the doors either that or have two races a year no Wednesday night garbage run the icebreaker and World Series all they care about is that drifting crap I don’t know who’s worse them or Waterford

  8. wmass01013,
    First, I thought the crowd at Thompson Wednesday was pretty impressive for a Wednesday night show before most schools are out. I think one thing that can be said over the course of the Michaud/Mayberry regime over the last two seasons is that their Wednesday night crowds at Thompson have been really much better than most would expect.
    They had 18 Tour Type Modifieds there last night, with a pretty good amount of guys that could legitimately win, and it was an entertaining race with some good action at the front and through the top-10 most of the event.
    Now, I’m not being critical of either side here, just making a comparison to show the irony of the criticism. The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Lee USA Speedway had 19 cars (one more than Thompson event Wednesday), had about the same amount of drivers in the field that could legitimately be called threats to win, had a crowd that was probably on par or a little less than Thompson’s crowd Wednesday and the Lee race was absolutely dominated by one car with almost no action at the front of the field. So are you basically saying that product at Lee was as bad as what you’re saying the Thompson product was on Wednesday? If you’re saying the Open Concept at Thompson has not worked (emphatically with multiple exclamation points), why weren’t you on here saying that Lee didn’t work if it was essentially the same as the product you’re saying is a failure at Thompson? And again, I’m not criticizing the Lee event because I think it was a product of the state of Modified racing in 2022, but I’m just curious if you think Thompson was a failure Wednesday then you must also think Lee was a failure on May 21 right?
    We all know right now that because of numerous factors car counts are down across the board with Tour Type Modified events this year. The Whelen Modified Tour right now is averaging 25.8 cars per event, which statistically would be the second lowest average car count in series history for a season if that should be the number at the end of the year.
    I’d argue that if the division that most consider to be the premier echelon for Tour Type Modified racing is mustering less than 26 cars per event, and they’ve been in business since 1985, that 18 cars for a promotional partnership group that has run a total of 10 events in their history at Thompson so far is really not that bad of a number. And even more so when you consider that event Wednesday was run five days after a Tour Type Modified event at Stafford and three days before a Whelen Modified Tour event at Monadnock, they did pretty good all things considered.

  9. Fast Eddie says

    Great comparison shawn! Last year weather messed with most of the wednesday shows, further inhibiting the crowd an car counts. This year we’re all paying 150% more for fuel. Bought a $30 ticket (lee was $40) and saw more modifieds along with some good racing. Works for me!!

  10. wmass01013 says

    Funny Shawn that Of all the Negative comments about Thompson you pick mine to reply too, but oh well i know you Think i am ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL WMT and nothing else, You could not be More WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I enjoy all Tour Type racing, i have watched ALL New Smyrna races, Alll SMART races, All WMT races, MRS races, .All Stafford Open shows including in person June 10th, Alll Riverhead weekly Mod shows, All Bowman gray Mod shows, and YES ALL THOMPSON PPV’S so its Not all about the WMT, yes car counts in all series have been down because or world issues and i do think actually too many Mod series or open shows. which has made teams choose their series and not stray much.
    If you READ my comment, NO where did i bash the racing at Thompson. i stated as others that all Divisions have had low car counts at Thompson since Mayberry/Michaud have leased the track in 2021, i don’t know their cost to lease and maybe the PPV income makes it profitable for them, now while i can’t really tell the crowd size from the broadcast if your seriously telling me as someone who went to over 150 events at Thompson since 1980 that the crowds for the last 2 years are better than pre covid years i will again say You are 1000% Wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    YOU are the one who keeps making it a WMT vs OPEN series, NOT MEEEEEEEEEE

  11. WOW Shawn,amazing what people complain about??? The crowd was the best of any Wednesday night show not including the the Bud 150’s of the past, I go to every race , sit in the same seats and everyone was commenting how many people were there, I thought the racing was real good and I didnt see many people leaving early either., 18 open cars was good to me. Would I like to see more Sk’s and LM”s??? Absolutely, but it is what it is. Real race fans don’t want to see any tracks close. Well said Shawn and Fast Eddiie!!!!

  12. Wmass01013,
    You say: “If you READ my comment, NO where did i bash the racing at Thompson.”
    From your original comment I was replying to: “You can color it any way you want but the OPEN concept has not worked in 2021 or 2022 for this group at Thompson!!!”
    I would definitely consider that statement by you as being critical of the program and the group operating.
    You said: “while i can’t really tell the crowd size from the broadcast if your seriously telling me as someone who went to over 150 events at Thompson since 1980 that the crowds for the last 2 years are better than pre covid years i will again say You are 1000% Wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    I have never once stated that the crowds over the last two years were better than pre-covid years. I’ve said the crowds on Wednesday nights have been better than many expected them to be. Never compared them to any other point at Thompson
    You said: “YOU are the one who keeps making it a WMT vs OPEN series, NOT MEEEEEEEEEE”
    I didn’t make it WMT vs. Open Show. I used the Lee event as a comparison to Wednesday at Thompson because of the numerous similarities between the two.

  13. Looks like somebody peed in wmass01013’s corn flakes again.

  14. goose is dead even maverick cant save thompson says

    its not cost effective to run limited shows with limited car counts on a limited racing surface. only a fool would continue to throw good money at bad.. the Hoenigs could care less about the oval and it shows. if you can afford to lose money as a promotor so be it.. handwriting is on the wall for Thompson .

  15. Given what is going on in the world of modifieds, Thompson would be the center of the Universe for modifieds of they resurfaced the oval. The place would be absolutely epic. The track configuration is perfect for mods, it just needs a resurfacing.

  16. wmass01013 says

    Again I applaud Mayberry/Michaud for Keeping Modified racing at Thompson alive the last 3 years, but anyone who says the crowds and or car counts are better than expected are fools, Again my point was i don’t Know how long they will continue the lease of Thompson seeing both crowd and car counts vs what i am sure is a not cheap cost to lease the facility, i am in no way hoping they don’t have success in keeping it alive but lets see what the rest of 2022 brings.

  17. My handy dandy composite schedule shows mid 40’s for the number of tour modified events (excluding SMART) that were scheduled under more optimistic economic circumstances last fall. Add in SMART, the new Super Modified series. NHSTRA Whitcomb Classic 125 events and a Thompson World series with NWMT, MRS and the 300 it’s a lot. Too much you could argue with the current economic realities.
    That said the season is grinding away rather nicely in my view.
    When schedules are released in the fall we’ll see how each series judged their events, what they want to repeat and what to drop.
    Thompson is not like the NWMT or any other series or track. It’s a one off, year to year to be enjoyed for the year we’re in with no guarantees for succeeding seasons.

  18. Thompson used to be my favorite track to go to. The Sunday twinight shows were the best for fans and teams – Got to have Sunday dinner with the family before heading out to a great night of racing – home by 10. Three divisions, 30-40 cars per. Best drivers in New England were there every Sunday. Now you have starting times that working fans and teams can hardly make due to work. 6 divisions just water down the fields and talent – it is like watching heat races. How i miss that one lane road, bumper to bumper traffic in and out the of the track

  19. Brian shuker says

    Well said Shawn don’t no why any new Englander would complain about racing anywhere we only got Riverhead and it cost us a lot to go to Connecticut your lucky you got tracks in all directions to go to

  20. So, we all know what were going to get even with no entry lists. Yes, I wish they had entry lists and 100 green-only lap Open Tour races at Thompson but, at least they have a few extra distance races and its still a summer of open mod races on the oval .

    But, the food prices to portion were actually really good. The large tenders and fries were big and not soaked in grease like Stafford’s fries. I mean I got a 24oz beer and large tenders/fries for $14/16 I don’t remember but, it was one of those two prices and it filled me up without breaking the bank try that at Fenway. I saw the ice cream and i didn’t get one but, it looked like you were given a decent amount in that cup.

    I mean yeah with Thompson not running weekly, what is the point of having a, “weekly” car set aside for five races a year? Does this result in low car counts?? Especially with prices more expensive than ever- idk if you can use a car built for Stafford and use it for Thompson all the time, (Todd Owen said he used it Wednesday).

    Thompson is my favorite track for modifieds. But, anyway the point is you have to take it with a grain of salt. And for a team only getting $5k a race to win, build a car made for a big track, higher expenses anywhere via fuel,tires, tools, and spending a workday to prepare for just 75 laps, makes me wonder if these guys just say, it makes more sense to just work my full-time job and call it a day because, of all the variables that come with it. I prefer Sunday’s for this yet it is cool (as a fan) to get out of the office at 5 and go to the track- even with the hour drive. The stands were more filled than last years weekly races.

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