For the past number of years, it is a rare sight to see Coby compete in his primary Modified ride off the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule. However, Seekonk’s Open Wednesday has long been an exception, partly because of the great competition and lucrative payout. But also because it is a prime event for one of Coby’s longest and most loyal sponsors.
WATCH LIVE: Speed51 Modified Madness at Seekonk
With the event’s cancellation in 2020 due to restrictive COVID-19 regulations in Massachusetts, the No. 10 camp were quick to circle the June 30 event right after its announcement back in the winter.
“Reynolds Auto Wrecking is about five minutes down the road and this is a race we committed to them so they can have a bunch of people there and what not. But, there’s something about the midweek show at Seekonk that’s fun; I’ve won it three times, plus a couple of Tour wins, so we’ve been pretty good there. It’s easy for the guys to get to, so we just added it early in the season,” Coby told Speed51.
The Tri-Track Open Modified Series has become a great playing field for Tour-type Modified teams and drivers of all backgrounds since its first season in 2014, building on the success of open events, including Speed51 Modified Madness at Seekonk.
As such, many of the opponents are familiar adversaries to Coby, like Justin Bonsignore, Ron Silk, and Ryan Preece. There are also those Modified drivers who choose not to run full-time on the Whelen Modified Tour who present a different challenge. Matt Hirschman is the first of these names that comes up the quickest to many. Add in Seekonk’s competitive nature, and you have a race that Coby is more than eager to take one.
“For the most part it is the same bunch of drivers, you just got some in different cars. But you do have guys like Matt, who’s always tough there which is fun. You got the other guys who have won it and have gotten close. Strategy really comes into play there. It’s a tough one to win, it’s a tough one to strategize for; whether you take a tire or you don’t, and when you take it. It’s a fun race for sure.”
On the 2021 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Coby has two wins thus far, both at the Long Island bullring of Riverhead Raceway. Besides their shorter distances, there are no similarities between the two short tracks. Coby and crew chief Phil Moran will look to take their race-winning car and couple it with the years of experience gained at Seekonk.
“We are bringing the car we won Riverhead with, obviously the setups are not anywhere near the same for the two tracks. We figured out Seekonk a while ago, taking some ideas from when I ran the 52 and when I moved over to the 2 team. But, we’re bringing a car that we’ve never raced at Seekonk with before, so it might want some different things compared to the car won at Seekonk on the Tour, which we sold,” Coby explained.
“We’ll see, I understand the track, and the guys always understand the setup. It’s just a matter of the tires and getting what we need for the night. Plus the draw for the heat race and getting into a decent starting spot for the feature, it matters quite a bit. Just got to take it as it comes.”
The momentum that Coby has going into the next week is impressive, starting with the Superstar Racing Experience win at Stafford Motor Speedway, helping him to earn a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride with GMS Racing at Bristol Motor Speedway in September, right on to that second Riverhead win, there’s a lot going right for the six-time champion of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.
In winning those six titles, including four-straight, Coby has become an expert of keeping focused on what’s immediately ahead. But that’s not to say that sentimentality can be a motivator for him. In Speed51 Modified Madness race history Coby has won three times (2011, 2013 & 2016), but so has one other driver, Matt Hirschman (2008, 2012 & 2017).
Naturally, Coby would be happy to be the first to collect four Modified trophies from Open Wheel Wednesday.
“To keep a pretty good streak going would be pretty cool, and to be the first one to win four of the Seekonk Wednesday shows. Matt and I both have three and we’re both the only multi-time winners. It’d be awesome, we feel like could’ve won a few more this year, and it’s still early in the season. We’re excited to go back to Seekonk, the fans always show up for this one, and we’ll have a good group of cars. You don’t want to miss it.” – Doug Coby
For those unable to make the trip to Seekonk Speedway on Wednesday, June 30 you can see all the racing from Seekonk Open Wheel Wednesday live on Speed51.TV. This includes the 50-lap Dave Steele Memorial for the NEMA Lites, the debut of the SMAC 350 Supermodifieds at Seekonk with their 40-lap event, and of course the 100-lap, $10,000-to-win Speed51 Modified Madness for the Tri-Track Open Modified Series.
Watch live with your Speed51.TV yearly or monthly subscription by clicking here.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51