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Doug Coby Marches Back To Championship Form With Sixth Title

THOMPSON, Conn. — Celebrating on the highest stage of modified racing for the sixth time.

Doug Coby sealed his sixth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship on Sunday, completing a season that put the Milford, Connecticut, driver back on top after one year away from tasting glory.

The title was the sixth in the last eight years for the 40-year-old, and also helped him break a tie with Tony Hirschman with five series titles. Coby now only trails Mike Stefanik (seven) for the most Whelen Modified Tour titles in the modern era.

“It’s just hard to put into words,” Coby said. “We try to come out to have the best season of anybody, and win every race, everyone out there does. My team just finds a way to do it.”

Coby finished seventh in the Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, but it was enough to win him the title by eight points. But it didn’t come without a bit of drama.

Coby started third, but during a red flag for a multiple-car crash on lap 12, received some crucial information over the radio — oddly enough, from a fellow competitor. Woody Pitkat told Coby’s team the left-rear tire looked low on air pressure, and he was right.

Coby pitted during the caution, changed the tire, and restarted deep in the field. It wasn’t long before he was back up inside the top 15, positioning himself where he needed to be to keep his points lead. By the end, seventh was enough to seal the deal.

Justin Bonsignore won the season-finale, his sixth victory of the season, which helped him close the gap to just eight in the championship standings. Even though he came up short of his second consecutive Whelen Modified Tour title, Bonsignore scored victories in three of four races at Thompson this season — extending his active drivers lead to 11 wins at the Connecticut oval.

“We spotted them way too many points in the beginning of the year. I’m really proud of our effort — we won a handful of races at the end of the year, and we didn’t get the championship, but we backed up our eight wins last year with six this year. Great car and a great pit stop (today).”

Ron Silk finished second, while Matt Swanson, Bobby Santos III and Woody Pitkat finished the top five. Eric Goodale was sixth, followed by Coby, Chase Dowling, Rob Summers and Timmy Solomito.

Behind the top two in the championship standings, Silk finished third, 62 points back, while Craig Lutz and Swanson finished the top five.

The Sunoco World Series 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, October 17, at 7 p.m.

Coby will be honored with the rest of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour top finishers and special award winners at the NASCAR Awards Charlotte on Saturday, November 23.

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OBSERVATIONS: King of Beers 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park

No matter where they go, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series puts on a show. They once again displayed that with their Wednesday night special at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

With the top being the preferred groove around the speedway for the most part, it brings forth the question of who can make their car turn through the center to roll by someone on the bottom. Some drivers were able to be smooth, while others weren’t as much.

From the drop of the green flag to the checkered, there was action all the way around the track with drivers making their way forward, as others slipped back through the field. The high horsepower using up the 15-inch tires, and only one pit stop allowed during the event to change them, had drivers fighting for grip in hopes of being at the front.

The competition also proved to be close, as you did not know who was going to win throughout the event with different stars emerging. Bobby Santos III ultimately became the unsung hero in finding his way to the front late, but transmission issues on a late race restart burst those hopes. Craig Lutz also had a shot at his first career series victory, but he came up short after fading late. 

In a time when young faces are emerging as the ones to watch, the veterans are still proving they are the ones to beat in the modifieds with the final showdown being between Doug Coby and Justin Bonsignore. Bonsignore tried all he could, challenging Coby right down to the line, but ultimately came up short on hitting another win out of the park at Thompson.

The veterans have proved to be the ones to watch all season, and no doubt will be in the final five races of the season. Though you cannot count out possibly seeing Ron Silk join them in victory lane, as he was coming late until issues.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Doug Coby Uses Timely Move To Break Justin Bonsignore’s Streak at Thompson

THOMPSON, Conn. — One of the most historic streaks in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour history was broken by one of the drivers who will go down as one of the best ever.

Doug Coby earned his fourth victory of the season in the Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, breaking Justin Bonsignore’s streak of six consecutive wins at the Connecticut oval.

It was Coby’s 28th career Whelen Modified Tour victory, his sixth career at Thompson — and it increased the points lead with just five races remaining in the championship points schedule.

“We just go race to race,” Coby said. “We ran three different cars at New Hampshire, Stafford and Thompson, and I’m really proud of that for my team. He (Justin) would probably have anyone but me snap that streak. It’s really impressive what his team did. They had a great run.”

Coby dominated the early laps after earning his seventh Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award of the season in qualifying. When the caution flag flew on lap 84, Coby was leading the charge over Bonsignore, and both of them led the field down pit road. Coby elected to take his fresh tires on the pit stop, and exited the pits second, behind Bonsignore.

Coby restarted third, after Jon McKennedy used some strategy to earn the lead. He wouldn’t get back to the top spot until the final laps. After former series champion Bobby Santos III took the lead on lap 129, a caution with just 11 laps to go left Santos, Craig Lutz, Bonsignore and Coby at the front. All four of them had led laps, but only three of them would finish.

At the green, Santos stumbled with a transmission issue, Lutz spun his tires, and Coby hung a hard left to clear all of them, into the lead. He never looked back.

“When someone messes up in front of you, you hope you have enough room, you crank it to the left, and hope no one is going to spin you,” Coby said of the restart dash.

Bonsignore would come up one spot short of his seventh straight Thompson win, while Lutz settled for third. McKennedy and Timmy Solomito completed the top five.

“The restart got a little bit wild, and Doug was just in a better spot,” Bonsignore said. “You’re not going to win every game (race). We were prepared for this to happen. We lost to the best car this year.”

Jimmy Blewett was sixth, followed by Andrew Krause, Patrick Emerling, Matt Swanson and Woody Pitkat.

Coby leads by 47 in the point standings over Bonsignore and Silk, who are tied for second. The three former series champions have won all but one race this season.

The 30th annual Bud ‘King of Beers’ 150 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, August 21, at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Saturday, August 31, at Oswego Speedway in New York, as part of the track’s 63rd annual Classic Weekend.

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Doug Coby Dominates For Third Win of Season at Seekonk

SEEKONK, Mass. — Doug Coby seems to be back in prime form.

The five-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion returned to Victory Lane for the third time in the first six races of the season on Saturday at Seekonk Speedway. Coby started from the pole, and although he was passed early by Matt Hirschman, the Milford, Connecticut, driver wasn’t going to be denied.

He dominated the Seekonk 150, scoring his 27th career Whelen Modified Tour win and second at the Massachusetts third-mile.

“I think obviously we are establishing ourselves as a really dominant car at all different size tracks,” Coby said. “We have been on our game and picked up our game everywhere (compared to last year). It’s a long season, and we just need to make sure we keep learning if we are going to be the ones to keep winning races.”

Coby’s dominance was clear throughout the entire day. Although he was fourth in practice, Coby showed the speed under the hood of the No. 2 Mayhew Tools Chevrolet in qualifying, scoring his third Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award of the season.

Once the green flag dropped, it was Coby’s race to lose. After he passed Hirschman for the lead on lap 15, the veteran never looked back. Coby now has four top five finishes in six starts at Seekonk.

“I want to start on the front row here anytime I can,” Coby said. “You can just get out front and if you made the right adjustments like we did, and you can get out front, you can ride around out front and wait for every caution. I was running three 50 lap races in my head. At the end of each 50, I was just trying to get the end of the next 50.”

Defending series champion Justin Bonsignore started eighth, but made moves through the front of the field and finished second. After winning the Seekonk 150 last year, Bonsignore found himself chasing Coby in the final laps, but couldn’t quite get the run he needed to get back to Victory Lane.

Craig Lutz was third, scoring his second podium finish of the season. Ron Silk continued his early success with a fourth-place finish, while Timmy Solomito scored his first top five since Riverhead Raceway last September, in fifth.

Chris Pasteryak was sixth, followed by Anthony Nocella, Matt Swanson, Patrick Emerling and Andrew Krause.

The Seekonk 150 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, June 5 at 7 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, June 5.

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Doug Coby Charges To Fourth Spring Sizzler Victory

STAFFORD, Conn. — Doug Coby was going for his fourth NAPA Spring Sizzler 200 victory Saturday. Craig Lutz was chasing his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour win.

In the end, it was the veteran Coby who made the winning move – diving under Lutz with just over 10 laps remaining – and then fending off the fierce challenge in the closing laps to return to Victory Lane in the iconic event that’s earned the moniker, “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring.”

It was Coby’s 26th career win on the tour and his 12th at Stafford. His first career win came in the 2006 Spring Sizzler, Stafford’s iconic early-season event. He also won the race in 2012 and 2016.

“This is the race everybody wants to win,” said Coby. “That was the hardest I’ve ever drove a race car, to hold off Craig. I just kept drive harder and driving harder.”

Following Lutz, Ron Silk, Max Zachem and Eric Goodale rounded out the top five.

“This is what you dream about,” Lutz said. “He’s obviously one of the best here. To be able to run with him for the last 10 laps was run. This was probably the most disappointing second-place I’ve had, because I feld like all day we had a really good car.”

It was the third career runner-up finish in 56 career starts for the Miller Place, New York, driver — including one in last year’s NAPA Fall Final at Stafford.

Justin Bonsignore came home sixth. Bonsignore was fastest in practice back on April 26, the weekend the event was originally slated. Rain postponed three times, finally pushing it from Friday night ot Saturday afternoon. Bonsignore was then fastest in final practice and won the Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award.

Patrick Emerling was seventh, followed by rookie Sam Rameau, Timmy Solomito and Blake Barney.

With Coby’s second win in four races in 2019, the five-time tour champion has opened a 17-point lead on second-place Patrick Emerling and 20 over Silk. Blewett and defending tour champion Bonsignore are fourth and fifth, respectively.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be back on track in seven days with the Jersey Shore 150 at Wall Stadium Speedway on Saturday, May 18.

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Doug Coby Begins Quest For Sixth Title In Victory Lane

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Doug Coby’s quest for a sixth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship couldn’t have started off much better.

After two years of struggling at Myrtle Beach Speedway, Coby make those scuffles distant memories on Saturday, rolling to his 25th career Whelen Modified Tour win and first at the South Carolina oval.

He may have made the final laps of the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen look easy, but the day wasn’t filled with only celebratory moments. He did win the first Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying, but Coby was forced to start at the tail of the field after a screw in his left-front tire forced the team to make an unapproved tire change before the green.

From there, the charge was on from the rear of a 32 car field in hopes of reaching the front. In the end, he found the top spot — a familiar place for the five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion.

RACING-REFERENCE: Performance Plus 150 Race Results

After Coby dropped to the tail, Jon McKennedy was the control car for the initial start and he did just that — took control for a majority of the first half of the event. McKennedy led a race high 64 laps, but pit strategy in the final stages didn’t quite fall his way.

After a caution on lap 110, Coby charged up inside the top three after pitting for fresh rubber, then rolled by Kyle Ebersole for the top spot on lap 122. From there, it was just about getting around some lapped traffic and minding a gap over Jon McKennedy and Jimmy Blewett.

When McKennedy and Blewett started racing for the runner-up spot, Coby opened his gap, and was never challenged. Even though the tire strategy didn’t quite work out in McKennedy’s favor, the second-place effort was a good way to follow-up a winning performance in the opener last year.

“We put two tires on and the No. 2 car put three in, but we still had a really good car,” McKennedy said. “We asked the right-front tire to go 150 laps, which is tough. They knew we were here. It was a great effort by everyone.”

In his first start with Gershow Motorsports, Blewett was third, followed by Patrick Emerling and Chris Pasteryak. The top-five run was Pasteryak’s first since 2009 in Whelen Modified Tour competition.

Anthony Nocella was sixth, followed by Burt Myers, Andy Seuss, Eric Goodale and Frank Fleming.

The Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety Kleen will air on NBCSN on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action in just two weeks, on Saturday, March 30, at South Boston Speedway in Virginia.

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OBSERVATIONS: New Smyrna 175 (and World Series Night 4)

The cleanest race for NASCAR during Speedweeks is in the books, and it didn’t even happen on the biggest stage. While the restrictor plate events at Daytona International Speedway will be mired with crashes, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East took center stage at New Smyrna Speedway.

And frankly, they put on the better show with what they delivered.

Although it appeared as though Colin Garrett and Drew Dollar were going to battle it out for the win, neither of them accepted the accolades in victory lane as Derek Kraus took those honors instead.

The 27-years-old has raced in the K&N Pro Series ranks for the past two years with top-five points finishes, and the experience showed. Despite starting 16th on the grid, he conserved his tires while slowly making his way to the front, choosing to ride just inside the top-five. 

Then when the opportunity presented itself with the youthfulness of Garrett and Dollar getting together on a restart with 44 laps to go, Kraus did what he had to do, splitting the middle between the pair to drive by and cruise away en route to victory. Arguably, it was probably one of the best textbook restart passes that you will probably see all season. As he said post-race, “I might’ve gotten in the grass, but I got it done.”

While the pass highlighted the night, the field was arguably calm throughout without any serious wrecks, except for Brittney Zamora collecting Tanner Gray in her second spin on debut night. However, that doesn’t mean that the fans were not delivered a show. The drivers raced for positions door-to-door all night long within and outside of the top-five, sometimes making light contact along the way – but hey, rubbin’ is racing on the short tracks. 

There have been concerns about the state of NASCAR with some of the rule changes and an array of talented, experienced drivers stepping away over the past couple seasons. However, the next generation is there ready to take their place, and that was on display Monday night.

There are several drivers in the field that could easily make an impression in NASCAR’s top-three ranks down the road. Ty Gibbs proved himself with a runner-up in his K&N Pro Series debut, while Sam Meyer placed fourth in just his seventh start. 

– Although some of NASCAR’s rule changes recently haven’t gone over well, the decision to go to competition cautions with five minute breaks is very welcoming.

Essentially, when the caution comes out and if you choose to pit, you can take your time with your service, before returning on the track. If you chose to stay out, you get to start ahead of those who pitted; the cars that pitted then follow behind, in the order they were in entering pit road for service.

As a result, you keep the balance of strategy onto whether to pit or not, while not having to worry about possible consequences of a bad green flag pit stop. 

Kraus was one of the several drivers who elected to pit under the first caution, while four other drivers stayed out. Dollar and Garrett were among those who did not get service under either yellow flag, and it showed with the handling going away as laps were ran. Meanwhile, Kraus’ adjustments kept the No. 16 Toyota underneath him so he could make the move when it counted.

– Can we also applaud NASCAR for their cost-saving measure in only allowing one single set of General Tires for the event? On top of the money not being spent, it also teaches the drivers about conserving equipment – something we know can come in handy when they move up the ranks. 

Hailie Deegan has been regarded as one of the top up-and-coming female drivers, with plenty of media shined her way. She has also backed up the talk by winning a K&N Pro Series West event last year, too. Unfortunately after starting on pole, mechanical issues plagued her night all the way to a 16th-place finish.

Her evening continued to get worse, as she also wrecked out of the Pro Late Model event at New Smyrna following the K&N Pro Series race after getting loose off of the corner. Look for her to bounce back and prove herself in the upcoming races.

While the focus for many is the action at Daytona International Speedway, February in Florida is busy with racing events. Bubba Raceway Park and Volusia Speedway have something for dirt fans each night, while New Smyrna Speedway hosts their World Series.

If you want to get a glance at the next generation, checking out any of these events is a must as they always put on a good show. The best part? Fanschoice.tv is live streaming each night for free for your viewing pleasure. 

– Deegan wasn’t the only driver to find trouble during the Pro Late Model event. The Mike Skinner-owned team saw both of their drivers black-flagged for jumping the restart, with the second call being gut-wrenching as it saw Jamie Skinner go from victory lane to last car on the lead lap. 

The Pro Late Models have been putting impressive side-by-side racing together on-track, while stealing the headlines. The restart controversy follows up the first night where Colin Kravil and Derek Griffith wrecked racing for the lead, and Deegan called out Jeremy Miller for a motor advantage. For the record, while Deegan wrecked out, Miller drove from the back to third after blowing his engine in practice; for Kvapil and Griffith, neither was able to rebound as they would have hoped on Monday.

– The Florida based modifieds are causing fans to talk for all the wrong reasons. The racing was pretty much strung out single-file, with the race experiencing a lengthy delay at the end to clean up fluid. It would’ve been better to call a time limit on the end of the event, and move on. Thankfully Bob Dillner eased some of the pain with his interviews and commentary for those at home.

Doug Coby may say that he is just down there testing, but he’s doing a fine job in the process as he put together a dominating performance in pacing every single lap en route to victory. Despite the races getting longer in the coming days, he’ll be a threat to sweep them all – but don’t start engraving the trophy yet.

Patrick Emerling and Matt Hirschman put together an impressive battle for second through the final 10 laps, with Hirschman looking for every way possible around for second. While it seems worth nothing now after Emerling was disqualified for a left-side weight violation, they could easily give Coby a run for his money over the next couple nights.

Ryan Preece is another name that can’t be forgotten. He had the speed to race up through the pack and could’ve been right there with the top-five, but an unscheduled pit stop for the car being stuck in gear put him behind. 

– The Super Late Models didn’t have the smoothest night of competition, with a couple big accidents eliminating drivers from the event. The frustration was echoed by the drivers, with Ryan Moore saying, “They have enough trouble lining up. You can’t expect them to know how to race.” 

At the front of the field, talent was the name of the game with arguably the best Super Late Model driver across the country Bubba Pollard conserving his equipment through the first half, before scoring the victory. Despite having won practically every big event across the United States – well, except the Snowball Derby, this marks his first win down at the World Series. 

He isn’t driving his own car, though, as he was asked to drive Dave Rogers’ entry with Rogers having surgery. The first night it seemed that Pollard was out of place, scoring a fourth-place finish by mere luck after the leaders got together. Now that he has the No. 11 driving as he wants, this may be the start of a dominating run from here on out.

Dan Frederickson led the first half of the event, and appeared set for a strong podium performance. However, with Pollard closing in, he made a mistake and got up into the wall. Ultimately, that caused him to drop through the running order. Heartbreaking.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.