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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



by Polly Reid

Doug Coby can check one more thing off his list of things to accomplish in his racing career. The Milford, CT driver cruised to his second career victory in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Northern Thompson 125, his first win at Thompson International Speedway. James Civali crossed for second, pole winner Ryan Preece third, Ted Christopher and Todd Szegedy the top five.

“This thing is stout at this race track,” said Coby. “You know we lost one here at the World Series, if any one was here you know we definitely had that one wrapped up. It’s been a dream of mine to make that right hand turn into victory lane. This is my first victory at Thompson in any division here. These guys with the 52 team, what an awesome car for this track. I want to thank Johnson’s Landscaping and Harvey from Reynolds Auto Wrecking, he makes this all happen for me. He believed in me last year and said he wanted to get me in a full time Tour ride and get you out there running every week. Without him, I wouldn’t be here, so Harvey and Kim, this one’s for you.”

Pole winner Ryan Preece led the 25 car field to green with Coby tucking in for second, the pair pulling away from the pack. “I think Ryan and I were sizing each other up early on and for a while we broke away,” said Coby. By lap 25, it was Preece, Coby, Christopher, Eric Goodale and Erik Rudolph the top five. Four circuits later Coby made what turned out to be the winning pass- Coby moving low under Preece to take the lead on lap 29. Once out front, Coby put some distance from the field until the first caution on lap 59 waved- Eric Berndt into the turn one and two outside wall.
On the restart, it was Coby lining up next to Preece, Christopher, Civali, Eric Goodale, Tom Rogers, Szegedy, Matt Hirschman, Ed Flemke and Bobby Santos the top ten. Going green, the field was quickly reined in to do it all again with a three car tangle in turn two- while all drove away, it was the end of the day for Buzz Chew.

Just past half way on what became the final restart of the event, it was here that Civali was able to make his move into second place, a sudden threat for Coby. “The restart was big,” said Civali. “We got from second to fourth, the car was really good on the restart. Doug was a little bit off from what I was on the restart, I had a little shot at him there but then my car backed off a little bit and Doug’s got better, we really couldn’t do anything with him.”

The field quickly became single file and while there was certainly passing going on, it was not for the lead.
Coby was able to stretch away from Civali and while heavy lap traffic slowed the leader in the closing circuits, Coby’s lead appeared to not diminish as the Reynolds Auto Wrecking Chevrolet crossed the stripe for the victory.

“You got to have something get away before you get something, at least in my racing career. Some guys like Ted seem to knock them off left and right but he’s also 18, 20 years older than me so I’m sure the next 18 years or so I’ll have a shot at winning more races.” Coby paused before continuing, “The stars were aligned today. We just had a really good car.”

“The whole weekend was good,” said John McKenna, crew chief for winning car owner Wayne Darling. “We’re ecstatic, especially at this place. We have a lot of young guys on the team that are enthusiastic. We’re going to try harder, keep it going. This is a tough series to win in, this is great.”

“This is huge,” said Civali about finishing a strong second, another sign that the season for the Hill Enterprises/Coors Light Pontiac is taking an turn in the right direction. “Our only podium finish this year. We ran well in Canada and Bristol, we’ve made some changes in the car and it seems to be paying off. We just cracked the top ten in points after Canada and this is another good points run for us here - we’d like to get into the top five in points before the end of the season, we know it’ll be tough.”

“I had a good car but it was Doug’s race to win,” explained Preece, “I was saving myself as much as I could, he just had a little more than I did. My car started to get a little free in the center but it was still pretty good where I could still roll and pick up the throttle and have good bite off. I was happy to finish third.”

“Thompson is everybody’s favorite track,” continued Coby. “I mean it’s not Loudon but it’s everybody’s favorite track - it’s the track I have the most career starts on besides Stafford and to have come close so many times and finally get it, it does mean a lot. It means a lot for it to happen on 9-11. I didn’t say that in victory lane but that is of course something everyone is thinking about, everything our country has been through. 10 years later we’re still living the American Dream but we’re all thinking about the men and women that serve our country, that protect us.”

Points leader Ron Silk closed out the Northern Thompson 125 with a solid top ten finish crossing the line 9th. Todd Szegedy continues to make strides forward, his fifth place finish adding valuable points, the gap now at sixty points with Silk at 1874, Szegedy 1814. Rowan Pennink who finished 8th stands third in points at 1761.

Next for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is the road course event, the Town Fair Tire 100 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, CT this Saturday September 17th.

  Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: September 12, 2011

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