THOMPSON, Conn. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Performance Motorsports Network audio — Billie Weiss/Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
After winning two consecutive NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championships, Doug Coby is hungry for more entering the 2016 campaign.
The Milford, Conn. driver is chasing a fourth title in 2016 — vying to become the only driver in the history of the tour to win three consecutive championships.
“We’re excited for another season. We’re going to be a strong team, but there is also going to be a lot of other strong teams,” Coby said. “It takes a tremendous amount of luck and effort to win any championship. The last two seasons don’t mean anything for this season, we would love to three-peat but it’s one of those things where you have to re-focus. You have to make sure you don’t go into this season expecting to win, we have to start the season strong.”
Coby won the championship with Wayne Darling in 2012 before making the switch and winning another championship with the Mike Smeriglio-owned, Doug Dunleavy-sponsored No. 2 team two years later. He followed that up with a seven-win season in 2015, dominating the final stretch and capturing the pole and the victory in each of the final three races of the season.
In addition to the thrilling stretch run, last year was a new experience for Coby on the equipment side.
His team made the switch from a proven Troyer car to the new and highly-touted LFR Chassis — and they saw immediate success when they opened the season by winning the Icebreaker. Given the power of the car last year, Coby says there is no reason why his second season with the LFR car shouldn’t be successful, even though there are other drivers like Bobby Santos III who will join him in the LFR stable.
“We won two championships with Troyer cars and there were probably 25 in the field at that time,” Coby said. “Besides from great equipment, you have to have great people. The LFR Chassis definitely elevated our equipment side. You have to remember, I have Phil Moran calling the shots and setting up the car. Everyone else who has the LFR car has great crew chiefs and great crews, but I have Phil. He has a great understanding of the setups he wants to use at every track. I’m going into this season extremely confident.”
One of the surprises Coby and the rest of his Tour competition will experience during this season will include two brand new tracks on the schedule.
Drivers will be tested by visits to two new facilities this year: Oswego Speedway during Budweiser International Classic weekend on Sept. 3 and Seekonk Speedway for the AnytimeRealty.com 150 on Sept. 10.
“I’ve never seen Oswego at all, just on YouTube, so we will probably go test there at some point there in the future. … I’m excited for that stop though because it’s a flat, fast track,” Coby said. “At Seekonk, I won two of those $10,000 to win (Open Wheel Wednesday) shows, and one of the key crew members from that 52 team who basically knows how we set those cars up is also on our team, so he will have a big part of what we bring for a setup there.”
Coby also enters Thompson this weekend for Sunday’s Icebreaker 150 chasing history on multiple different levels.
He is trying to become the only driver to ever score five consecutive victories at the five-eighths mile oval after becoming the first driver since Mike Stefanik (1997) to win four straight tour races overall when he took the checkered flag last fall. He can also become the first driver since Ted Christopher (2010-2011) to score the win in both the season finale and following year’s season-opener.
Despite all of his recent success, however, Coby says its not going to be that simple.
“This is a new season for me, so sweeping all four races at Thompson last year kinda goes out the window,” he admitted. “We were really strong at the test session and I know we are going to have a car that can win that race.”
Not only does the MS3 Racing team work hard to get Coby on the track, but as with any other modified team in New England, there are many supporters behind the scenes that also help out.
“The man is Doug Dunleavy. He has certainly stepped it up for our team and many other teams. He is the sponsor of all sponsors,” Coby said. “We’ve got Fox Shocks, Draco Springs, Robert Yates Racing Engines — a lot of people are with us. There’s so many people here to thank, we thanked them with the championship last year and we hope to thank them with a win this weekend to start the season.”
Coby will begin defense of his 2015 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship on Sunday during the 42nd annual Icebreaker weekend.
Green flag for the 150-lap Tour main is set for 3:30 p.m. local time.
To listen to Race Chaser Online’s full interview with Doug Coby, click the player below:
About the Writer
Kyle Souza is an aspiring Journalism major at the Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. Souza is Race Chaser Online’s New England motorsports insider, covering everything from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the NASCAR Whelen All American Series and the PASS North Super Late Models.
When not writing, Souza works at the Seekonk Speedway as the track’s Friday night public address announcer and press writer, and is also the Media Director for both the Granite State Pro Stock Series and the Tri Track Open Modified Series.
Email Kyle at: [email protected]
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