THOMPSON, Conn. — Doug Coby scored the victory in all four NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in 2015.
However, so far this season, he has yet to visit victory lane at the famed five-eighths-mile oval.
Coby opened the season by finishing fourth at the IceBreaker and at the June stop at Thompson, he finished 11th behind the wheel of his No. 2 Dunleavy Truck and Trailer Repair LFR Chassis modified.
Though he hasn’t won yet at Thompson in 2016, he has captured the two Coors Light Pole Awards, posting two blistering laps around the track and leaving the competition in the dust during time trials like he has done so many times before.
The question is, can he return to victory lane at Thompson this Wednesday evening? There is no question that Coby had a car that could have won both races there this season, but circumstances didn’t play out and Coby knows that’s racing.
But since then — Coby has dominated Stafford — winning two of the three races there — and he was well on his way to winning the third of those this past Friday night before the fuel pump broke.
Can he score the victory in the Budweiser King of Beers 150 this Wednesday evening and take that hard left turn into victory lane once again?
Sure he can. You can place money on it if you want.
But, there are others he will have to battle for the victory.
Here’s a list of top contenders that I think will have a say in the finish of Wednesday night’s race.
Can Santos Go Back-To-Back?
The last time the tour visited Thompson, Bobby Santos III broke a terrible dry spell and streak of bad luck by returning to victory lane.
It was his first win with the brand new LFR Chassis after the team truly struggled to get things going with the new car for much of the first few races and also endured what Santos called some “horrible racing luck.”
Following the Thompson victory, Santos has shown speed at many tracks, and the win seems to have given the team a little extra drive and momentum going forward.
In his victory in June, Santos got off pit strategy with some of the leaders because he went a lap down and ended up getting the free pass by the leaders. He pitted a little bit earlier and had some better tires at the finish of the race.
“We got our tires 10-15 laps before most of the leaders so we had the track position to get ahead of those guys that were solid the whole race,” Santos said in June. “We just did an adjustment on the second stop and that payed off. Everyone on the team did a great job, the Tinio Family has stuck through this the last few years.”
That night, Santos used a last lap pass in turn one to head by Max Zachem en route to the victory.
Can he make it two in a row at Thompson and help regain some of his momentum coming off a 17th last time out at Stafford?
Is it “Showtime” Take Two?
Jimmy Blewett had a dream come true last Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway with his victory in the Stafford 150. Sure, he had won races on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour before, but this one was something special for Blewett.
In his first season teamed up with new car owner Bob Garbarino and behind the wheel of the famed Mystic Missile, Blewett had shown speed much of the season but struggled to get the results that the team deserved.
But Friday, when defending series champion Coby stumbled with a fuel pump issue in the final laps, Blewett pounced and took the yellow No. 4 back into victory lane.
“I can’t say enough for these guys,” Blewett told the Stafford media following the race. “The Starrett Tools Mystic Missile has been pretty good the past few races, we have been gaining momentum and getting those podium finishes. When Doug ran out of fuel, we had a shot at the outside pole on a green-white-checkered finish. I knew as long as the car stayed running and I had enough fuel in it, we would be able to do it.”
For Blewett, it was his sixth career NWMT victory and his first since a triumph in Stafford back in May of 2009. The momentum the team has built over the last few races has propelled to a current fourth place standing in the points, trailing just Coby, Timmy Solomito and Donny Lia. He is just 35 points from the current leader.
Can Blewett best his eighth place finish at the IceBreaker and continue his momentum at Thompson on Wednesday?
Is a top five in his future … or is it take two for Showtime in victory lane…..?