Doug Coby watched all of Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Icebreaker 150 from the infield of Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT). While some race fans may have enjoyed that view, it wasn’t where the four-time NWMT champion wanted to be.
Coby was involved in a crash on the first lap of the 150-lap race that resulted in his No. 2 Modified being heavily-damaged on the backstretch. The incident occurred after the yellow flag was in the air for separate incident in turn one.
“Somebody clobbered me way after the caution came out,” Coby told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “My spotter told me coming off (turn) two, ‘Caution is out, get your hand up.’ By the time he says, ‘Caution is out, get your hand up,’ and my front wheels are not going to knock the guy in front of me, I know I’m safe, I thought.
“It seemed like several seconds later I got hooked into the fence and it wasn’t anything that I could control. It wasn’t a square hit, it just lifted the back of the car off the ground. I was told that the car that hit me wasn’t even the car that was behind me when the caution came out, so he had to pass a bunch of cars to get there.
“It was either a spotter that probably wasn’t doing his job and needs to be aware that things happen on the starts of the races, either that or the driver needs to be a little bit more heads up. When people are checking up, they’re doing it for a reason.”
Despite how rare the incident may have seemed to those in attendance, Coby explained after the race that this wasn’t the first time he’s been involved in such an incident.
“It happened in Don King’s car in the No. 28 at Loudon when I was a part-time driver trying to get back into a full-time ride. It happened at Waterford in an SMRS race with the 20. It happened in a NEMA Midget race at Lee.
“The crazy thing about it is that this is lap 1, tires aren’t up and nobody knows what they’ve got. The 15 (Chase Dowling) spun the tires or missed a shift on the initial start, so right then everybody should say, ‘Woah, something is going on here.’ It’s not like it was 20 to go, I get it. That’s the frustrating thing.
“I feel like my job at the beginning of the race is just to square up on whoever is in front of me so that if there’s a jingle, you just hit the bumper and that’s it. That was just crazy. I want to watch the replay just to see if I can analyze what happened.”
The first-lap incident relegated Coby to a 31st-place finish with zero laps completed in Sunday’s race.
Combined with a 13th-place finish in the season opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC), the defending tour champion currently sits 16th in points, 46 points behind points leader Timmy Solomito.
“It stinks, but that’s racing,” Coby said after the race. “What are you going to do? We’ve gone many, many years without anything like this happening. I’m very fortunate to have squeaked through a lot of bad situations and made good days out of it. This was a bad day, we’ll bounce back, go to Stafford and bring the other car, obviously this one is pretty much toast for a while.”
Coby and the Mike Smeriglio III-owned team will now regroup ahead of Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) on April 30. Although he understand that his No. 2 team is an a hole early on in the season, his mindset of chasing wins and a fourth tour championship hasn’t changed.
“We kind of think we can win every race we go to. There’s a lot of races left on the schedule and a lot of bonus points up for grabs,” Coby said. “You have a couple bad races, that doesn’t mean you’re going to finish 13th to 30th every week, but you could. That could be our season, that could be how our cards fall this year.
“It’s unfortunate; we have a new sponsor Mayhew Tools that we’re trying to impress and they love working with us and we just want to have a good run for them. It’s nothing we can control, but that’s racing and that’s why we do this in a sense is to come back from adversity. I have no doubt you’ll see us running up front down the road.”
With 15 races left on the 2017 schedule, giving up on “The Deuce” wouldn’t be a smart thing to do.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/Duane Canfield