THOMPSON, Conn. – official series release — Getty Images for NASCAR —
After a bitter winter marked by record-setting snowfall, the sunny skies and near-70 degree temperatures at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Sunday were celebrated by fans in the packed grandstands.
The only thing better than the weather in northeastern Connecticut was the racing.
Reigning tour champion Doug Coby displayed the consistent dominance that led to last season’s title, leading 131 of 150 laps in the 41st Annual Icebreaker 150 to capture the checkered flag in the season-opening NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.
The win was Coby’s second in 43 career Thompson starts and first in the Icebreaker. Driving the No. 2 Dunleavy’s Repair/HEX Performance Chevrolet, Coby started from the pole and stayed in the front of the 35-car field to avoid trouble in a race marked by 10 cautions and two red flags.
Woody Pitkat tied his career best Icebreaker finish with a second place effort in the No. 88 Buzz Chew Chevrolet/Elbow East Chevrolet, overcoming an oil leak discovered during the second red flag period that sent him to the rear of the field after having too many crew members over the wall to make repairs.
Bobby Santos, winner of the 2010 Icebreaker and season championship, powered the No. 44 Curb Records/Tinio Corp./Dan Kelley Chevrolet to third place after getting to a race-high second with 11 laps remaining.
Ted Christopher wasn’t able to add to his collection of four Icebreaker trophies, but did get his 46th top-10 finish in 85 career Whelen Modified Tour starts at Thompson. Ryan Preece, who won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Sunoco Modified 75 earlier Sunday, earned his first top five finish with his new team in the No. 6 TS Haulers/East West Marine Chevrolet.
Timmy Solomito, Eric Goodale, Donny Lia, Ron Silk and Todd Szegedy rounded out the top ten.
The race featured two leaders – Coby and Silk – and two lead changes.
Justin Bonsignore, last year’s Icebreaker 150 winner, went to pit road during the second caution period with his engine misfiring, then was involved in a Lap 74 spin with Brandon Oltra and Anthony Nocella. He settled for a 27th place finish, 22 laps down.
Spencer Davis, who completed the “modified double” after a 14th place finish in last night’s NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour race at Langley Speedway in Virginia, just missed a top-10, finishing 12th in the No. 79 Hillbilly Racing/Coors 21 Means 21 Pontiac after starting at the rear of the field due to the driver change.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to action on April 26 at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway for the NAPA Spring Sizzler 200.
NBCSN’s coverage of The Icebreaker 150 will air on Friday at a time to be determined.