He’s back, and maybe better than ever.
The Doug Coby the rest of the Whelen Modified Tour field has feared for nearly a decade made his return official Saturday night in the Seekonk 150. Coby was flat-out untouchable, starting on pole and leading 136 laps en route to yet another win.
Coby has won titles through consistency, and he’s also been champion via sheer domination. This season is turning in the direction of the latter quickly.
After a disappointing 2018 season for Coby that saw him win only once while leading just 240 laps, fewest since 2014, Coby is back with a vengeance. By almost every measure, he has been the top dog this season. He’s got three wins at three different racetracks, three poles, and 372 laps led already.
Last year was humbling for Coby. He and the Mike Smeriglio-owned team vowed to come back as true title contenders in 2019.
“When we got beat, got our asses kicked by the 51 last year every week, that doesn’t sit well with our team,” Coby said.
February’s World Series at New Smyrna was a true turning point. After finishing the week in Florida, the team made the decision to make the switch to Ernest Performance shocks for the upcoming Tour season.
“Everybody said ‘why are you guys gonna go to New Smyrna?’ and we said it was a big test session,” Coby said. “We made [the shock change] after New Smyrna because we thought we needed a little bit more.”
Defending champion Justin Bonsignore could only shake his head after the race.
“He’s the best,” Bonsignore said. “He’s a five-time champion. Even though we won last year, he’s still the team you have to look out for. That’s the respect they earn and they deserve.”
By the way, Coby led 107 laps back at the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson in April before issues on pit road relegated him to fifth. The series returns there on Wednesday.
“I think we had a winning car at Thompson for sure,” Coby said. “I think we have a car that’s gonna show up on Wednesday and be really strong.”
It’s the field’s worst nightmare: Doug Coby is back. And it doesn’t look like he’s going away.