They say all good things happen in threes, but on Wednesday night at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT) it was all about the number two. Doug Coby, driver of the No. 2 Mike Smeriglio-owned Modified, continued his 2015 dominance at the 5/8-mile Connecticut oval by leading all but one lap and scoring the win in the Mr. Rooter 125 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. The win was the second NWMT win for Coby this season and his second win at Thompson in two tries with his new LFR Chassis.
“We had the same exact setup that we ran the Icebreaker with and then they just tweaked things today to make me more comfortable with what the track was giving us earlier today,” Pitkat said of his race winning car. “Obviously, we’ve found something. I’ve never been known to be a winner at Thompson other than that one great night with the 52 that we won both races. I’m usually a third to sixth-place guy up here, but yeah we’ve found something that works for me and that’s awesome.”
Coby’s perfect run of qualifying first and finishing first at Thompson in 2015 came to an end when he qualified second for the 125-lap event, but he didn’t stay in the runner-up spot for long. The Milford, Connecticut driver worked his way by polesitter Woody Pitkat on the second lap of the race and went on to lead the remainder of the race.
Despite making it look easy, Coby said after the race that the race was “pretty wild” from the driver’s seat.
“It wasn’t lapped traffic, it was just his race track,” said Coby. “It threw us all a curveball today. It was lockdown tight all day and not so much in the race. It was the freest the track has ever been since I’ve raced here. It was fun and I found a little line that worked for me and just waited for the caution. We all had to pit. I don’t know if you saw the lap times, but we were all running 20.2’s, two seconds slower than we usually run.”
Wednesday night’s race at Thompson was an added race to the 2015 schedule compared to recent years. The 125-lap event was the first of its kind held at the Thompson oval since the UNOH Showdown Northern 125 on September 11, 2011. The winner of that race… Doug Coby.
“I think they’re interesting because in theory, it’s only 25 laps shorter than a 150 but it is so much different in the way you approach it,” Coby said of his success in 125-lap events held at the track. “When do you pit? Do you pit? The track just told us all tonight we were pitting no matter what, every car out there was pitting. If I would have stayed out, I would have been eaten up. It wasn’t even a question.”
Justin Bonsignore, who entered the season as a championship favorite, is hoping to have put his bad luck in the rearview mirror with a second-place finish on Wednesday night. Despite never mounting a serious challenge for the race win, a runner-up spot was like a win for the driver who had yet to score a top-10 finish this season.
“It’s been very trying but like I said a few times, nobody is really turning on each other,” Bonsignore said after the race. “Usually when things go bad everybody starts to point fingers and you hope that doesn’t happen. Our guys have stuck together and we just over adjusted on the pit stop tonight and we’ll happily take second that’s for sure.”
For Coby, the only adjustments made throughout the day were the right adjustments. Piloting his new LFR Chassis (the same car he won with at the season-opening Icebreaker), the defending NWMT champion turned in yet another dominating effort at Thompson.
“It’s still a brand new car,” Coby told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It’s still something we’re figuring out. These night races are totally different than the Icebreaker. I’m just excited that we’re hitting on something with these impound races. It’s something that is really important for us because you can’t bank on having a car that’s fast in time trial and then you know you have to use that second day for the two day show to adjust it. We have to be fast for impound races and we have been so far. That’s awesome for us.”
Wednesday night’s race in Thompson, Connecticut served as the final leg of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s busiest stretch of the 2015 season. After racing at three different Connecticut race tracks (Thompson, Stafford and New London-Waterford Speedbowl) in just 12 days, Coby was left wanting more.
“I’d like to keep going. It’s getting into summer here and I wouldn’t mind racing every couple of days.”
Todd Szegedy, who was forced to start 30th on the field for making unapproved adjustments after qualifying, charged from the rear of the field to finish third. Keith Rocco turned in his best finish with the No. 22 Our Motorsports team by crossing the finish line in fourth. Polesitter Woody Pitkat led the first lap of the 125-lap race and rounded out the top-five.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be back in action on June 27 when they visit the Long Island bullring, Riverhead Raceway (NY), for the Hoosier Tire East 200.
A full on-demand replay of the Mr. Rooter 125 can be seen by visiting NASCAR Home Track Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com