Superstar Racing Experience was designed to be a two-way conduit between mainstream motorsports and the grassroots.
With over 10,000 attending the inaugural event at Stafford Speedway won by hometown hero Doug Coby, and another 1.3 million watching from home on over-the-air CBS, that goal appears to have been immediately accomplished.
Despite his status as a sure bet NASCAR Hall of Famer, Coby introduced himself to the mainstream in defeating Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle over the closing laps on Saturday night.
The inclusion of Coby provided a spotlight for Tour Type and SK Modified competition. His victory brought more awareness and attention to the discipline. The undercard last weekend featured SK and SK Light competition.
The racing and culture caught the attention of both Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart, both former NASCAR greats expressing some desire to return to Stafford or New England to compete against the Tour or in within The Show.
“Doug has so much talent,” Biffle said after the race, “And I would have never gotten the chance to race against a guy like that. So, this was special for me to race against Coby and see this race track.
“I’m still pinching myself, that I got to have this experience, to be honest with you.”
It’s more likely to see him back at Stafford than at New Hampshire.
“Loudon is too fast for me these days,” Biffle said with a laugh. “But I watched the races earlier, and I’d love to … definitely have interest in running a Modified here.”
It’s something Coby has already started to coordinate while racing with everyone over the weekend.
Bobby Labonte already has a full-time ride in the S.M.A.R.T. Modified Tour in the Carolinas, driving the Team 25 entry owned by Mike ‘Andretti’ Smith. Labonte has expressed an interest in making a NASCAR Tour start this season where his racing and television schedule allows.
Coby was planting the seeds to get Biffle and Stewart to join them.
“I’m sure as hell going to try,” Coby said. “I talked to Bobby at length about starting his career after his career in Modifieds.”
Coby said Labonte told him ‘these cars are damn cool,’ which was a tremendous source of pride to the six-time NASCAR champion.
“We’ve tried to tell you, ‘if you’re asphalt racing and you haven’t driven a Tour Type Modified, you’re missing out,” and they’re finally coming around,” Coby said.
“I did have conversation with Tony and Greg after talking to Bobby about how great it would be to get everyone in a car. We learned this week that the Modified Tour needs guys like that. We will have extra viewers and extra fans at the track when they come race.”
Coby reminded Stewart that they were teammates back in 2006, when Stewart entered his only NASCAR Tour race at Loudon for team owner Curt Chase.
“I was a 26-year-old one-race Modified Tour winner at the time,” Coby said. “He told me he’s been following my career ever since and that it was cool to see. I’m going to do my best to stay in touch with those guys and remind them what they’re missing out on every chance I get.
“I told them that I will do whatever it takes them to get up to speed wherever they want to race. I’ll get them a baseline setup for wherever they want to go. They just have to call us up and we’ll help them get going.
“It’s really important to have those guys who have a fan following and they would add so much to our style of racing.”