MILFORD, Conn. — Story by Race Chaser Online New England Correspondent Kyle Souza — Performance Motorsports Network audio — Bob Leverone/NASCAR via Getty Images photo —
Despite a roller-coaster journey on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2015, seven wins, 12 top-tens and six poles later, Doug Coby completed the dream season.
Coby became a three time NWMT champion in 2015, winning his third crown in the last four years and becoming just the third driver in the history of the Tour to collect three or more titles in their career.
“We definitely had a season to remember this year,” Coby told Race Chaser Online. “Sometimes its hard to think about all these little accomplishments we put together because you focus on the points, but the Thompson four-race sweep and winning the last three races from the pole was just a great end to a great season.”
The turning point of the season for Coby, oddly enough, may have been a crash at Bristol in August.
Coby was collected up with a couple other drivers in the early goings of a rain-plagued race and was relegated to a 34th-place finish while Ryan Preece — one of his championship rivals — went on to score the victory. Though he lost a ton of points that evening in Tennessee, it started a heated battle between Preece and Coby that showed just how strong Coby was in 2015.
“Regardless of if we won the points or not it was the best we could have done this year,” Coby admitted. “That’s what we said after we crashed at Bristol, we wanted to go out and do the best we could to end the season and we did that. We finished second at Riverhead and then had three poles and three wins to end the season and win the title. You can’t do much better than that (laughs).”
The speed and grip the No. 2 Dunleavy Truck and Trailer Repair machine had in 2015 was at an all-time high. Coby could take his car inside or outside, slicing through any traffic at any time and getting his car to the front. Much of that was courtesy of the brand new LFR chassis that Coby and his team used, one he credits a ton for the championship run.
“It seemed like after LFR came out with something new, Troyer came out with some better stuff and improved their cars as well. The LFR car, for us, was more of a decision based on the bond that Rob Fuller and (crew chief) Phil Moran have. Phil knew that the car was going to be what he would have designed if he could have built his own race car. We knew pretty early on we had a special piece.”
Maybe the most incredible part of the title run for Coby in 2015 was how strong he was at each and every one of the different types of race tracks.
He won at Loudon, a one-mile flat oval; he won at Monadnock, a tight cornered quarter-mile track; and he swept the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park races, winning all four on the high-banked, five-eighths-mile oval against the stout competition the Tour offers.
“We said after the first Thompson race that it was great we were good at Thompson, but we could be terrible everywhere else. We ended up second and third at Riverhead and we won Monadnock. I lead a lot at Riverhead and I screwed up, so next year hopefully we can go back there with just as fast a car because now I have a better understanding of the track and the car.”
Coby went on to score the final three wins of the season at New Hampshire, Stafford and Thompson, along with winning all three pole awards. The Loudon race started the incredible three race stretch and though it came with a little bit of controversy in the final laps — it was one win that gave Coby the extreme confidence to get the job done.
“Up at Loudon, we had wrecked the car at Bristol we were going to use and we brought a brand new car in September. It was a car that had never hit the track before practice and we jumped right to second. There was a little bit of controversy at the end of that race [due to contact with Ryan Preece] but we had a stellar car all weekend and I think the best car ended up winning that race. I hate how things happened there, because it kinda put a black eye on the rest of the season but with seven wins and six poles, there was no one else that could come close to that. No matter what, we showed we had the best car at every track every year.”
With the championship season now in the rear view mirror after Coby collected his hardware at the banquet last weekend, he is now starting to get prepared for 2016, a year that will see the return of Seekonk Speedway and Oswego Speedway to the schedule.
Those are two things that makes Coby smile.
“If we have all the same tracks we had this year plus two more that makes me a really happy camper,” Coby grinned. “What a great schedule that puts together for us. If we could get to 18, 19, or even 20 races that would be perfect. We need some May and June races though to get us started. Most people say they hate Seekonk but I really think I’ve figured that track out, but I’ve never even seen Oswego, so we will definetely go there to do some testing.”
As with every modified race team, the funding needed to get to each race with a competitive car requires some great sponsors and Coby has some that have been with him for multiple title runs.
“Doug Dunleavy is our big guy. Everyone on both the North and South tour should be so thankful for him. Fox Shocks, Robert Yates Racing Engines, Magnus Racing Products and a ton more people have been helping us out. Hopefully they stay with us and give us more good stuff.”
And that might be scary for the rest of the competition, because with what Coby has accomplished already with the equipment in his arsenal, there’s no telling just how high he can climb as he pursues even greater heights in 2016.
To listen to an extended cut of Race Chaser Online’s conversation 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 the Tri Track Open Modified Series, managed by Dick Williams and the ‘Long Island Mod Maniac,’ James Schaefer.
Email Kyle at: [email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @Kouza34
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