MOORESVILLE, N.C. – With a victory at the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s (NWMT) final race at Thompson Speedway this past weekend, Doug Coby, driving for Mike Smeriglio Racing, not only earned his third championship in the past four years but also secured LFR Chassis its first series championship in the company’s first full season of modified racing. 2015 was Coby’s first year running an LFR Chassis modified, during which he secured seven wins, earned six poles and led 830 laps in 15 points races.
“We knew going into this season that it was all eyes on this team,” said Rob Fuller, President of LFR Chassis. “Doug, Phil and Mike really stepped up. These guys had faith in the LFR brand from the minute I discussed the idea with Phil two years ago, and it paid off for us both. We had a lot of doubters in the beginning to say the least, but in the end we all persevered and I already can’t wait for next season. I am discussing the 2016 season with a couple of the larger teams already and I can’t wait to grow the brand in the offseason.”
After switching to LFR Chassis during the off-season, Coby, a Milford, Conn. native, dominated the 2015 NWMT season, securing back-to-back championships in the series. During the year, Coby swept the four Thompson Speedway races and secured three additional wins at Monadnock Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Stafford Motor Speedway. He also earned six pole awards and led 830 laps – 36 percent of all laps ran in the 2015 season.
“The numbers and the things we did this year speak to how strongly LFR Chassis helped us,” said Coby. “We had six poles and seven wins and that didn’t happen last year. We had the same people and driver as last year, but switched chassis programs. Making that change did exactly what we were wanting it to do – it made our program stronger in every facet of racing.”
“We had one car from LFR Chassis that won five races,” Coby continued. “It won all four Thompson shows. Another car we got from LFR after a wreck at Bristol earned us two more wins and two poles. From a driver’s standpoint, it didn’t matter which car I got in. Both felt equally as strong. Phil (Moran, crew chief) does a great job making sure everything feels the same in both cars. It’s really hard to pick which car was my favorite when both drove so similarly and earned us multiple wins.”
This championship also marks the third for Coby’s crew chief, Phil Moran – his second in a row with Coby and first using LFR Chassis equipment. Moran also expressed his gratitude to the LFR team for their support throughout the year.
“I’d say this championship is more special than the others because of what we did with switching to LFR Chassis and spec motors in the off-season,” said Moran. “It’s so hard to win one championship, so winning back-to-back championships is very special.”
“We were starting from ground zero at the start of the year – each modified car is so different,” he continued. “The parts don’t fit the other car so everything was brand new on the car. Rob Fuller and Ryan Stone helped a lot and made it a pretty easy transition for us. It was a lot of pressure making those major changes, but we had a great test run at Caraway last year in a LFR Chassis and knew we were going to be fast this year.”
“All of the LFR drivers and teams check in with each other and share notes. Donny Lia, Jason and Burt Myers, Ron Silk – everyone is really on the LFR team – and we are working together to make it grow.”
Additionally, team owner, Mike Smeriglio, had strong praise for LFR Chassis and what the company did for his team this year.
“It’s hard to put into words what this second championship means to me,” explained Smeriglio. “Last year it really hit me at the banquet when I saw the No. 2 car in the Hall of Fame, so coming in this year, knowing what it feels like, it made us want another championship that much more.”
“The switch to LFR Chassis in the off-season made our program better,” he continued. “The consistency we had with three LFR Chassis has been unbelievable this year. The first chassis we had led to five wins. The second chassis earned us the pole at New Hampshire, but then got wrecked beyond repair. The third chassis then led to back-to-back wins at New Hampshire and Stafford. We had three chassis all with the same consistency on the track.”
“In the 2014 season – we had the best driver and crew chief. In 2015, we had the best driver, best crew chief and the best car,” Smeriglio stated.
“It really hasn’t set in quite yet – the success we all experienced in our first season,” Fuller explained when asked about the success. “I have never been the type to sit back at all. As a matter of fact, I was talking with Mike this morning about next year and how to keep getting better as a group. I’m not naïve enough to think that the other teams will just sit back and take a blow like the No. 2 car delivered this season, so we plan on working even harder this winter to continue to develop the brand.”
“Moving forward, we have two 7-post dates and a K&C rig date in December to analyze the data collected from this season,” he continued. “Our Super Late Models run the same basic suspension components, and we are constantly learning and experimenting with those chassis and they are very strong as well. Being able to correlate the data between the two chassis is huge from the development standpoint.”
“All the experience in this shop is at the highest levels of racing and that’s a huge advantage,” stated Fuller. “We have guys that have developed shocks, suspension parts, chassis and other key parts of race cars at the highest levels of the industry which is something no one else can offer. All the engineering and design work that goes into the LFR Chassis is at a whole different level than most short track teams are accustomed to. You have to constantly work like someone is trying to beat you every week to stay ahead, and we are more than prepared to do just that.”
LFR Chassis is located at 117 Crosslake Park Drive in Mooresville, N.C. To learn more, call (704) 662-3306 or visit www.LFRChassis.com.
-LFR Chassis Press Release. Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com