The finish of Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour F.W. Webb 100 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway has been debated over and over since the No. 6 machine of Ryan Preece went for a spin off the front bumper of Doug Coby’s No. 2 car.
Was it a dirty move by Coby? Did Preece try changing his line and slow down to cause the contact? It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on, because the only two people that know exactly what happened are Doug Coby and Ryan Preece. And even they still can’t find common ground on what happened.
“All I know is I got hit pretty hard from behind and that caused me to get turned around,” Preece told Speed51.com powered by JEGS on Monday afternoon. “I didn’t do anything different than I ever have. I’m leading the race. I’m not in second-place. I’m not the one that made contact with the other one. There’s nothing that I could have done different. In the end he turned me around.”
Two days removed from the incident, Coby said he firmly believes that he didn’t do anything wrong, and he stands by his assessment from Saturday evening of “Modifieds happened.”
“I still think the same thing,” Coby said. “It’s the last lap at Loudon. Everybody has a strategy and we all think in advance on what would be the ideal strategy. Obviously none of that plays out.
“It was one of those things where you’re going 140mph and something happens unexpectedly in front of you. In my opinion he slowed up more than I expected. Whether he did it on purpose or whether he says it was the same corner he drove all the laps before that, I can’t say for sure. All I know is that when I got into the back of him it wasn’t something I intended to do.”
Coby said that he feels bad for Preece that the result of his race was a wrecked race car and hurt feelings, but he said he maintains his stance that he did not intentionally spin Preece for the win.
“I’m not going to let anybody say what my intentions were and that I wrecked him on purpose because if I wreck somebody on purpose then I flat-out tell them I did,” said Coby. “I’d never wreck somebody on purpose and then hide and say that I didn’t. It is not something that I can change, so I stand by what my intentions were. I can’t change it so I’m not going to worry about it.”
Another reason why Coby stands by what took place is because he was not penalized after the fact by NASCAR. Coby has been on the receiving end of a quite a few penalty calls from NASCAR in 2015, and he said he believes that if he truly did something wrong then he would have been called for it.
“If NASCAR thought I ran him dirty then they would have taken it away from me,” he explained. “If there has been anybody that they’ve been quick to penalize this year it’s me, and that’s a fact. I’ve been penalized more than any driver on the series for questionable rules. I can tell you that if I did something that they thought was truly wrong then there would have been a penalty handed down. They make the rules. If they think I didn’t play within the rules then they would have told me that.”
After all of Coby’s post-race winner obligations concluded, he and Preece spoke about the incident on Saturday by themselves in the midst of the race haulers that still remained. According to both drivers, the conversation didn’t help Preece feel any better about the situation; however, it was a mostly peaceful conversation.
“I’ve never been somebody that’s going to attack somebody,” said Preece. “I wanted to know what was going on in his mind. I wanted to know what on earth caused that situation to happen. He feels he didn’t do anything wrong. He obviously hated for the situation to occur, but at the end of the day it cost me a win and a good day.
“I’ve read in other articles that he said he was going to try to set me up going into turn three. That’s all well and good, but we didn’t even make it to turn three. We didn’t even make it to the center of one and two.”
In the days since the crash, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour circles of social media have been full of comments calling Coby a dirty driver. Coby said that he isn’t exactly surprised at the comments.
“People can say what they want to say about me,” said Coby. “You can’t make judgments on somebody based on one or two instances. I’ve run 170 Modified Tour races in my career. There’s been very few instances with me and people as I’ve come up through my career where people have accused me of running somebody dirty. So when does it go from it just being hard racing to something dirty? That I don’t know.”
For Preece, he now has two races left to make up a nine-point deficit on series points leader Woody Pitkat. Preece has the Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) on October 4, and then the final race at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) on October 18.
Preece said that the way he races around Coby will most certainly be different in those final two races.
“Like I told him, I’m not going to go out there and intentionally wreck anybody,” Preece said. “It’s not something I’m going to do. But I know we have two more races and between me, Woody and Doug I think the racing is going to be a little bit harder and a little bit rougher. I now completely know what to expect if I have Doug behind me with five laps to go and he’s all over me. I didn’t think I had to be prepared to get hit like I was going to, but now I know I have to be on my guard a little bit.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Matthew Dillner/Speed51.com photo