Since winning his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour title in 2014, Doug Coby has consistently changed the opinions of many who many who are involved with and follow the sport with each new title. After a difficult 2018 season, the debate intensified in some circles about the Milford, Connecticut driver being called a ‘living Modified legend’ despite the four straight titles, and five overall.
Two days now after winning his sixth Tour title on Sunday, after a tremendous 2019 season of victory and consistency, the talks have taken a further swing, mostly in his favor. That happens when you surpass one Modified legend Tony Hirschman Jr. and tie another, Jerry Cook in career championships.
But what does the man himself think? Doug Coby shared his thoughts with Speed51 this Tuesday on the Morning Bullring; first on the year 2019 itself.
“It’s special, I think it shows a lot about our team with responding from not winning a title last year. I think a lot of people kind of wondered how things would go with Justin’s team having such a good year last year, then having another good season this year after a few hiccups early in the season. We were pumped to show everybody early on in the season that we were back in form with some changes that we made, and we were able to put together the most complete season I think we’ve had together as the 2 team.”
While there were missed opportunities for additional victories along the way, with some circumstances out of his control, Coby believed that Mike Smeriglio Racing team, with Phil Moran once again as crew chief, had conducted themselves better than ever in 2019.
“We had the best average finish of any of my championships, we just missed getting top ten’s in every single race when I was running seventh at Riverhead coming to the checkers, and two cars came together and spun me out. Four wins at four different race tracks, eight poles, we were fast everywhere. It wasn’t a dream season, it was just a hard fought season with a lot of effort from the guys.”
As for his thoughts of being a six-time champion, it is something that Coby takes very seriously. Perhaps even more since a certain phone call on Monday.
“It means a lot, he actually reached out and called me yesterday, and I don’t pick up my phone a lot when it’s a faraway phone number from people I don’t know. But, I saw it was a North Carolina phone number, actually thought it was somebody from NASCAR calling to make banquet arrangements. He said, ‘Doug, it’s Jerry Cook.’ I was just floored that he wanted to congratulate me on joining the six championship club. We had a nice conversation about racing, I see him just about every year at the banquet, and we’ve developed a friendship since my first championship in 2012,” said Coby.
“That’s the kind of stuff that means more to me. When we all go to the racetrack, we all go there expecting to win races, and to contend for and win a championship. When that happens, you have to put it into perspective about what it means. What does each number mean, like when I tied Tony Hirschman with five, now six with Jerry. I think it means a lot of different things, to a lot of different people. My thoughts are, I’m really proud to have accomplished it, but to also have someone like Jerry be proud and welcome me to the club, that’s the stuff that means a lot to me.”
For the entirety of Coby’s interview from Tuesday, watch the replay of this week’s addition of Speed51’s Morning Bullring.
Also be on the look out for a One-On-One postrace interview with Coby later this week on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor - Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51/Rick Ibsen