Cashing In: Luke Baldwin Wins The SMART King Of The Modifieds At South Boston 

Luke Baldwin celebrates a $20,000 payday in the SMART King of the Modifieds Sunday at South Boston Speedway (Image: FloRacing)

It could be said that to get the big money you need to take it from the guy they call Big Money. 

Luke Baldwin did just that Sunday at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, holding off the charges of Matt Hirschman over the closing laps to win the 125-lap SMART King Of The Modifieds feature and take home a $20,000 payday for the effort. 

Baldwin, the son of longtime Modified team owner and former Cup Series crew chief Tommy Baldwin Jr., was making his third Tour Type Modified start in the event. 

“I can’t believe it,” said Luke Baldwin, who was driving for the Sadler-Stanley Racing organization. “That thing was a rocket ship. … [Thank you] to Matt Hirschman for racing me clean. I know he had a chance to give me a shot there. I didn’t mean to get into him earlier in the race to get into the lead. It is what it is. I’m really happy and I’ve got a lot of respect for not giving it back when he very well could have.”

Said Tommy Baldwin Jr.: “He put on a clinic. … For a 17-year old to have that much speed and talent. He passed Hirschman twice. Ninety-five percent of the racing Modified world has never passed Matt Hirschman. He passed him twice.” 

Hirschman ended up second and Doug Coby was third. 

“He was just a little bit faster,” Hirschman said. “We just weren’t good enough to win, unfortunately for us. We spent some time at the front and led some early pretty good. … We just didn’t have enough to win.” 

Said Coby: “This was pretty wild. This track is so fun and so fast but man when they all check up on the backstretch you really can’t do anything. Two wrecks there. … Came home third. I’d like to say the car is one piece, we’ll give it like seven/eighths of a piece.” 

With Hirschman leading, Jake Crum in second and Carson Loftin in third, the first caution of the event flew on lap 29 for the stopped car of Bryce Bailey. 

Hirschman continued to set the pace out front following the restart and held that spot until he second caution flew on lap 40 with Coby into the barrels at the inside wall in turn two. 

Under caution Coby’s car was backing away from the wall on the inside of the track as Hirschman was trying to go by. Coby’s car backed into the left front tire of Hirschman’s car. 

Loftin, who was running fifth, went to the pits for a tire under caution. 

With the leaders working traffic, on lap 70 Crum got by Hirschman for the lead with Luke Baldwin following to second. 

With Crum leading, Luke Baldwin in second and Hirschman in third, caution flew on lap 74 for a designated competition caution for fueling. 

The race restarted with Brandon Ward leading, Crum in second and Hirschman in third. 

On the restart it was Hirschman getting by Crum for second. On lap 75 Hirschman got under Ward out of turn four for the lead. 

By lap 97 Luke Baldwin had found the rear of Hirschman’s car. On lap 98 Luke Baldwin gave Hirschman a tap through turn one, sending him slightly up the track, opening the low lane for him to go to the lead. 

The caution flew on lap 100 for the spinning car of Anthony Bello. 

On the restart it was Luke Baldwin holding the top spot and Crum overtaking Hirschman for second. 

On lap 105, Woody Pitkat found a lane under Ryan Newman in a battle for for fourth place. As the pair went down the backstretch on lap 106, contact between Pitkat and Newman sent Newman into the backstretch wall to bring out the caution. 

“He ran me clear up into the fence,” Newman said. “… I didn’t really expect him to drive like an idiot and he sure did.” 

Said Pitkat: “Newman got by me and then it was tough to get back by him. I got free up off [the corner] and got into him and knocked him into the wall. I hate that for him. I have all the respect in the world for him.”

Luke Baldwin held the lead on the lap 106 restart, leaving Crum and Hirschman to battle for second. On lap 108, coming off of turn two, Hirschman got under Crum. The pair made contact with Crum getting turned right and hard into the backstretch wall. About 10 cars piled into the wreck bringing out the red flag. 

“I didn’t know Hirschman drove like that,” Crum said. “He doored the hell out of us off of [turn] two over there and we went right front first into the fence. I thought I raced everybody clean. I know everybody has got their opinion about me and I really don’t give a shit. We were fast, we were here, they know we’re here and we’ll come back stronger and beat that asshole.”

Said Hirschman: “I didn’t see it yet, but I apologize to anybody’s equipment that got wrecked off of [turn] two if that was my fault. [Crum] went high in the middle [of the corner]. When he did I thought that I would be clear up off [the corner] until it was called and it was too late, he came back up on the outside. That was my fault. I know other cars got wrecked. I hate to see that.” 

The race restarted with Luke Baldwin leading, Hirschman in second and Coby in third. On the restart Luke Baldwin got sideways spinning the tires coming to the green flag, but was able to stay ahead of Hirschman. 

With 10 laps left Hirschman was stalking all over Luke Baldwin’s rear bumper. Luke Baldwin was able to find some breathing room out front over the final three laps. 


  1. I haven’t watched the race yet but I will. From Shawn’s write up it reads like it was not without controversy. Strange days indeed. I know the race wasn’t held above the Mason Dixon line but I’m hoping that some of the happenings up at South Boston today will give a booster shot to the reply section of RaceDayCT that has been mostly inactive the past few weeks.
    I’m glad Tommy Baldwin Racing got the win. He puts so much into modified racing and recently hasn’t been getting much if any ROI. I’m sure the 1st and 3rd place paydays won’t hurt. My preferred TBR driver for the win would have been Coby but Luke got the job done so that is OK. We will save the PSR chassis discussion for another day.
    How about Matt Hirshman getting in two dust-ups. That’s not like him. He was not the only one who was a little off their game today. Wow and how about Jake ‘the snake” Crum calling Matt out and then calling him an unapproved by NU$CAR bad name. I’m not sure who Jake drives for but I think it’s a little too soon in his short modified career to show that much verbal disrespect for Matt over one incident. An incident in a late model race yes, but when you compare the body of work of both drivers in a modified I think Jake was too quick to speak and too slow too think it through first.
    I’ll say it again about the warning signs at most of the countries short tracks in regard to car count. The Late models there today raced 12 cars for 100 laps in the season lid lifter. That’s the feature division at South Boston and that ain’t too good imho. Not sure what size the crowd was but according to Race Monitor the finish of the Late Model race had all positions 2 or more seconds apart. Maybe there was some excitement sometime during the race but that finish ain’t gonna pack em in next week or whenever. I truly wish the promoters at Thompson good success all season but I will not be surprised if car count at Ice Breaker in most divisions is anemic. If the weather is good then the crowd should be good as well.

  2. Enduro59,
    Luke Baldwin was driving for Sadler-Stanley Racing.

  3. Sorry about the TBR references that were wrong. I remember now your article back in January and I didn’t pick up on that in today’s report. Since I type so slowly with bad grammar let me say congrats to Sadler-Stanley Racing for the win and TBR for 3rd.

  4. Enduro59,
    No need to apologize, easy mistake to make. I’m guessing a lot of people assumed Luke was driving for his father.

  5. Sure were a lot of names missing for one of the bigger pay days of the year.

  6. This is the first sentence of the fourth paragraph of this report:

    “I can’t believe it,” said Luke Baldwin, who was driving for the Sadler-Stanley Racing organization.

    A commenter should read the report completely before typing, regardless of grammar.

  7. darealgoodfella, Just for facts sake, I added the info about Sadler-Stanley Racing after the comment was left. It seems like a lot of people were confused about how Luke was racing for.

  8. Suitcase Jake says

    Great race.. Looking forward to the next one… I am trying to see some SMART races on the way North…..Happy the Smart tour is alive and well…
    Now they have a RACE that they can build on for next year , I am sure all the HEAVY HITTERS WILL BE THERE FOR KING OF THE MODIFIEDS RACE
    in 2025… 20K for 1st 10K 2nd , Sure do miss Doug & his commentary…

  9. I second that Suitcase. Missing Doug as well.

  10. Fast Eddie says

    Make that a triple! If he’s Catholic, maybe he gave it up for Lent! 🙂

  11. “A commenter should read the report completely before typing, regardless of grammar.”

    Imagine that!

  12. Shawn, it’s all in the timing.

  13. I’m hoping thats all it is Eddie. Hope he’s ok.

  14. Your timing and most opinions have been off for years now. Welcome to the show.

  15. Rafter fan says

    Isn’t there some connection between the Baldwin and Sadler-Stanley teams? Perhaps the connection is that they both use the PSR chassis? Young Baldwin in the “7VA” in the same font as the “7NY” seems more than a simple coincidence.

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