If it wasn’t already, Doug Coby’s name is now etched in Modified racing lore. Sunday afternoon, the Milford, Connecticut driver became just the third in the history of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to win three or more championships. He did so in style by winning the Sunoco World Series 150 and completing the four-race sweep of NWMT events at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT).
“The three championships will sink in over time when we all go to Charlotte and celebrate and see my name in the Hall of Fame for the third time,” Coby told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “To be a part of that is very special to me and I want everyone to know that I appreciate that. I know a lot about the history of this division and what it means to people in the Northeast and what some of the drivers accomplished. Mike Stefanik and Tony Hirschman, the seven and five-time champions, to be listed even close to them is an honor to me.”
Coby won the battle on Sunday afternoon by getting by Justin Bonsignore for the race lead with five laps to go. For much of the second part of the race following pit stops on lap 95 Coby stalked Bonsignore’s back bumper before pouncing in the closing laps.
“We had to do everything we had to do to get by Justin, but his car was starting to go away,” Coby explained. “He was driving so hard right after the pit stop to keep me behind him and I think he used it up a little bit. I wasn’t going to force it on him but once I got under him I knew he didn’t have too much to get me.”
Coby entered the Sunoco World Series tied with Ryan Preece at the top of the NWMT standings. The championship battle was one of the tightest and most hyped up battles in tour history. Coby knew he’d probably need to win the race and score maximum bonus points, and he did just that.
“I said it earlier today that the past three years it seems like the guy leading coming into this race was just trying not to lose the championship. This year was different,” said Coby. “Someone was going to win it and we went out and won the darn thing.
“I was really happy where the cautions felt, I think it helped us because nobody could short pit and nobody could late pit. They all had to come in when we came in on lap 95 or whenever it was. You never know what is going to happen at Thompson at the World Series, it’s a fun event to be a part of but it’s usually pretty crazy. We just wanted to stay out of trouble.”
Much of the talk about Coby and the Mike Smeriglio-owned No. 2 team at the start of the 2015 campaign surrounded the team’s switch to LFR Chassis. Many people asked why they would make such a big change one year removed from a championship. The team answered those questions with an exclamation point over and over again throughout the season.
“Making the switch to the LFR Chassis, everyone thought that we were completely nuts,” Coby stated. “We proved them wrong. We went out and won seven races this year and that’s unheard of in this day in age for Modified racing.”
Seven wins propelled Coby to the championship by an eventual 11 points over Preece and 13 points over Coby. It also put him in a category with two of the best that ever strapped in behind the wheel of a ground-pounder, Mike Stefanik and Tony Hirschman, Jr.
“I can’t even put it into words,” said Coby. “I’ve been racing since 1986 every single year. That’s 30 years or something like that. I just always try to do my best and sometimes I screw up, sometimes I make enemies and sometimes I make friends. I just try my hardest. That’s all you can do.
“With a racing career that has been as long as mine has been, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to drive so many good cars for so many people.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
NWMT Sunoco World Series Unofficial Results
Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park – Thompson, CT
|22||11||John Beatty Jr||118|
|24||82||Danny Watts Jr||89|
|30||15||Ray Graham Jr||40|