Doug Coby was able to hold off a charging Craig Lutz to win the 48th Annual Spring Sizzler 200 at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) on Saturday. Coby played pit strategy to perfection to find his way back to the front when it mattered, notching his second NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win of the season and his fourth win in The Greatest Race in the History of Spring.
“We had a good pit strategy and we made good calls, and everything fell when we planned, which is very rare in this race,” Coby said. “The cautions happened at the exact times we needed. I don’t want to say that won the race for us, but it certainly made it easier for us because we could just stick to our plan.
“Craig Lutz is a really good driver, and his crew chief, Doug, is very smart and they put a really good car together. He didn’t look as good at first, but it seemed like he got a lot better after I passed him. I would have liked to have driven away by two or three car lengths, but I will tell you this is the hardest I have ever driven a race car on any track trying to win a race. It was fun. I haven’t had a fun race like that in a long time.”
Craig Lutz had his best run on the Tour in a long time, surviving the race of attrition to challenge Coby for the lead and eventually finish in second place.
“This is what you dream about!” Lutz exclaimed. “[Coby] is obviously one of the best guys here and to be able to roll with him for the last five, ten laps was fun. I have to say it’s probably the most disappointing second place just because I felt like all day we had a really good car. It was a really good way to rebound our season here.”
Ron Silk continued his strong run this season, backing up his win in South Boston with a strong third-place finish.
“It was a good run,” Silk said after the race. “We were just too tight, especially there at the end, it seemed like the longer it went, the tighter I got. But third’s a great effort, and I just can’t thank these guys enough.”
Max Zachem survived an early spin to finish fourth, and Eric Goodale followed him home in fifth. Defending series champion Justin Bonsignore could only muster a sixth-place finish, while Patrick Emerling, Sam Rameau, Timmy Solomito, and Blake Barney finished out the top ten.
Chase Dowling, however, will be leaving Stafford bitterly disappointed. He ran up front for the majority of the race and had a dominant car, but he suffered a rear-end mechanical failure late in the race that cut his day short.
Defending Stafford winner Kyle Bonsignore also suffered a mechanical failure – a broken transmission ended his race after a strong top-ten run.
Coby will retain the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points lead heading into next Saturday’s race at Wall Stadium in Wall Township, New Jersey.
-Story by: Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo