THOMPSON, Conn. — Doug Coby entered Sunday’s Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park with one goal in mind: he wanted to capture his fourth straight and fifth overall NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.
When the checkered flag flew at the end of 150 laps, Coby had accomplished that goal.
The Milford, Conn. driver used a fifth place finish to add to his legacy as one of the best in the history of NASCAR’s regional touring series, becoming just the third driver in the history of the NASCAR modifieds to capture four straight titles, joining the likes of Jerry Cook and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans.
But this championship wasn’t anything like Coby’s other four. This one saw him forced onto the comeback trail right from the start.
Coby didn’t get the finish he wanted in the season-opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway and in just the second race of the season, he saw his car destroyed before he could even complete the first lap. Oddly enough, that crash in just the second race of the season came on the 0.625-mile Thompson high-banks.
Fast-forward six months and Coby was celebrating a title on the same track.
“We have been good all year, we were under the radar a lot I think,” Coby said. “This was a different championship because we had to claw all summer to get back in it. We didn’t have to sit back in the middle months wondering who was going to chip away at our point lead. We were the ones chipping away.”
The big turnaround in this chase to the championship came in the August race at Stafford Motor Speedway. Coby finished second to Ryan Preece, but that podium run started a string of six straight top five finishes. After that, Coby finished 14th at Loudon after being involved in a crash running inside the top five in the final stages.
Coby finished the season with a seventh at Stafford and a fifth at Thompson, which was more than enough to clinch him the crown.
“One of my (championship) years, I think 2014 or 2015 … I said we would always find different ways to win a championship and this is just another illustration of that,” Coby said. “You can look at our four titles in a row and they are all completely different. The same common denominator is a team that won’t quit.”
Coby started his run of four titles in a row by winning the championship in 2014 in his first season driving for Mike Smeriglio III. That year, Coby only scored one victory, but finished inside the top 10 in all but one race.
The following year (2015), Coby did things completely different. He won seven of the 15 Whelen Modified Tour races and had an average qualifying spot of 2.9.
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