Doug Coby didn’t live up to his own expectations last year.
After winning four straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championships, Coby won a race, and finished third in the championship standings, but he sets his standards much higher than that.
Saturday, at Seekonk Speedway, Coby proved he is back in prime form — winning his third race in the first six of the season, and doing it in dominating fashion.
Justin Bonsignore passed through the field to finish on the podium, while Craig Lutz put another solid finish together driving for Goodie Motorsports. All that and more in the Rapid Rewind from the sixth race of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.
Coby Cruises To Victory Lane
Pure domination from Doug Coby.
He started on the pole, and let Matt Hirschman set the early pace for the first 15 laps. But shortly after a restart, he blitzed by Hirschman, and drove into the Seekonk night with a dominant performance driving the No. 2 Mayhew Tools Chevrolet. Not even a late caution flag that lined defending series champion Justin Bonsignore up to the outside of the front row was going to slow Coby down.
“I was really concerned about how good Matt Hirschman was here. Everyone knows he’s the guy that has a great setup and is a great driver. I pressured him to use some of his stuff up, and he didn’t want to fight me for it,” Coby said. “I think the way the race unfolded it was easy to be on cruise control, I could get clear by two and save tires and wait for the next caution. I think if there were a lot of cautions, it would have mixed it up quite a bit, but, once someone has a good car out front here, if there aren’t a lot of cautions, and one car gets out front, it’s hard to get by him.”
Coby’s Seekonk success in Whelen Modified Tour competition over the last three years isn’t his only previous triumph at the third-mile. Coby has also won the track’s ‘Open Wheel Wednesday’ $10,000 to win tour type modified event and has also won behind the wheel of a NEMA Midget. Something about the tight bullring fits his style, but he credits something else.
“It’s the cars, whether I am driving for Phil (Moran’s) car or Tim Bertrand’s Midget, those guys know what they are doing. We do make a lot of changes in practice, we don’t unload here with a car that we are that fast with,” Coby said. “I’ve learned after winning a few races, and losing a few races at this track, you see and know what you are missing. I focused in practice on not settling for a good car, I wanted a great car.”
Through the first six races, Coby’s three wins and three Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Awards are proving he is going to be the favorite heading for the second half of the season. The Milford, Connecticut, driver will seek his sixth series championship throughout the rest of the season.
But it was a “test session” at New Smyrna Speedway’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in February that put the pieces in place.
“We switched to Earnest Performance and the JRI Shock package and that’s the biggest change we made, that’s something we decided after going to New Smyrna,” Coby said. “We thought we deserved to try something a little bit different. It just turns out that their shock package seems like the way to go. I have to give them a lot of credit for waking us up. We weren’t a slouch, and we weren’t terrible last year. But with three poles and three wins in the first six races, there is something to be said about an improved program. When we got our asses kicked by the No. 51 last year, and it didn’t sit well with our team.”
Bonsignore One Spot Short Of Back-To-Back Seekonk Wins
After winning the Seekonk 150 last year, Justin Bonsignore went to Massachusetts looking for a repeat performance. Although he crossed the line second, the defending series champion showed plenty of speed throughout the race, starting eighth, and working his way up to the podium.
He had a shot at Coby on a final restart inside the last 20 laps.
“Drive off,” Bonsignore said when asked what he needed to catch Coby. “I could see his car was driving off much better than mine. We chased the track a little bit all day but we never could quite dial it in as well as they could. We are splitting hairs with the whole field, but we are close to them. We just missed it a little bit today and had to work for it, and his car was just better at the end.”
Bonsignore rolled by Craig Lutz for second, and lining up to the outside of Coby for the restart in the final circuits, it looked like fans were going to be treated with a showdown, but, Bonsignore just didn’t have quite enough.
He will look for his sixth straight win at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on June 5.
“I thought when I got passed Lutz that I could run him down, but he was just holding us at bay,” Bonsignore said. “But after last week, and the week before, it’s good to get a good run here. We have a cool shot at something Wednesday. It’s a little bit of momentum.”
Second Podium In Three Races For Craig Lutz
A new partnership with LFR Chassis late last year set Craig Lutz up for success.
And early this season, the Miller Place, New York, native is flexing his muscle at the front of the field. In the Seekonk 150, he started fifth, and put himself in position to pounce, passing for second and giving chase to Coby.
But when Bonsignore passed him for second, a third-place effort was all the Goodie Motorsports driver could manage while in search of his first Whelen Modified Tour win.
“It helps when you unload with a car that’s really close, I can’t thank Rob Fuller and my crew chief enough for their endless time in the shop,” Lutz said. “Unloading that close just makes the whole day so much easier.”
On a tricky third-mile like Seekonk, saving equipment was a major factor for dash in the final laps.
“It’s something that you have to keep reminding yourself that you have to go slow to go fast,” Lutz said. “There isn’t another track out there like this one.”
There is no time for rest. NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams will compete at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday, June 5, for the second of four stops at the Connecticut oval.