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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



Coby Makes a Comeback for Stafford Victory
by Polly Reid

Forced to pit with a right front flat, Doug Coby of Milford, CT in the Wayne Darling owned, Reynolds Auto Wrecking/Furnace & Duct sponsored Chevrolet made an unexpected pit stop early on then methodically caught and passed his way through the field eventually getting by leader Bobby Santos III with less than ten to go to score the win at Stafford Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour TSI Harley-Davidson 125.

“This is a different car and motor than we won the Sizzler with,” said Coby who claimed the Spring Sizzler win last month. “We call this the show car, I told them I never want to race it, want to keep it nice and shiny. The show car put on the show tonight, it was freaking awesome.”

Restarting deep in the field after being forced to pit on lap 27, Coby used the outside groove to make his way through the field. Coby turned his long night around taking the lead from Santos who had until then, dominated the entire night. Coby was credited with leading the final seven circuits.

“I know I got into the 88 when he didn’t go on the first couple of laps. I kind of bobbled into his nerf bar, I don’t know if that’s what cut it down but the car was tight and that’s what a tire going down makes you feel, but then the car was fine. I don’t know if it was then and when it cooled down under the caution it rolled off the bead or something like that, but I was shocked when it went down. We weren’t planning to pit, it’s just one of those things, we ended up pitting before everyone else. We didn’t make any changes to the car only put on two right side tires.”

Santos crossed for second with Ron Silk third, Todd Szegedy fourth and Rowan Pennink fifth.

Earlier in the evening, Bobby Santos III set fast time winning the Coors Light Pole award, led the most laps and held off the challenges of Eric Berndt, Ryan Preece, Ted Christopher and Silk along the way. But it was a showdown between Santos and Coby that changed the night. The pass started out of turn two where Coby was strong and ended at turn four, Coby emerging the second and winning leader of the night.

“Doug was good, he was good at the end and he beat us. Overall I’m very happy but you can’t- there is just nothing worse than leading the race and getting beat. But, Doug did it clean, did it the right way, he did a good job.”

His second Tour start of the season, Santos never skipped a beat with his new team headed up by car owner Sully Tinio. “I’ve got to thank this whole team, Billy The Kid, awesome motor, Steve Lemay, Sully Tinio, it’s a lot of fun to drive for him. The 44 is a good team, they have the potential to win a lot of races on this Tour.”

Santos was repeating what Silk did a year ago in this event, leading every lap, the checkered flag getting closer with every circuit ticked off the board. “I was taking care of my car the whole race, not pushing it as hard as I had to until I got a couple of challenges there. We were a little free getting into the turns there the whole race but it wasn’t a big deal. I’m disappointed to loose a race at the end- could not be prouder of what the guys did- at the end, wish I could have held on a little better, I don’t know what to say.”

Defending winner of this race Ronnie Silk turned his challenging night into a podium finish. Silk started ninth and just after he cracked the top five, the call was made to pit. “We kind of had a rough night with a good ending. We were too loose to start. We pitted on lap 30, took our tires then, got some good lanes on the restarts- then with like 25 to go, thought I had a good shot at winning it. Got a couple of good runs on Bobby, but just didn’t have enough forward drive to really pass him. The two times I did try and pass him it really screwed both of us up and Doug was able to make some ground up on us. Doug- that 52 team, they’ve been really strong all year and we’re going to have to get a little better to beat them.”

“We won this last year and never even thought about pitting. You come to try and win all these races and we weren’t going to win the way were so we needed to make an adjustment on the car- it definitely improved where we finished.”

A different car was brought to Stafford than the one that Coby won with at the Sizzler. “They said they wanted to bring this car because it runs better at night,” explained car owner Wayne Darling about crew chief John McKenna’s call to switch up the car. “The right front flat actually helped us, we put on two right side tires. We were thinking it was early enough, pick a few off, get a couple of good restarts, we’d be in good shape.”

Considering the day they were having, Darling smiled, he wasn’t completely convinced they had the car to win until they took the lead. “Up until then I wasn’t sure. Getting by Teddy, getting by Ronnie, they were tough, tougher than Bobby was going to be. Teddy and I, he’s a good friend of mine, we have a rivalry; Doug and Ronnie are real close friends, they have a rivalry, so I figured they would be the toughest to get by and they were.”

Balloons decorated the 52 pit cart signs of a celebration for crew chief John McKenna who marked a big one at Stafford. Maybe turning 50 isn’t a bad thing when you can celebrate in victory lane. But the day, well, wasn’t quite so smooth. “My day started out pretty crappy this morning. Like 6:30 this morning, taking a shower, the water stopped.” McKenna’s first repair of the day was the water tank for his well.

Next, it gets better. “We’ve been having trouble with the hauler, it’s been acting up.” Out for repairs twice since the MRS race at Monadnock, they were told they were good to go. “When we left today, about 20 mins from the shop it started going into de-rate mode, it looses all it’s horsepower so it only goes like 35 mph. We kept pulling over, shutting it off, run it for 20 mins at best, then the light would come back on. Climbing the hills on the Mass. Pike it was going like 15 mph. That’s how my day started.”

After the unscheduled stop for the right front flat, McKenna would have been pleased with a top ten finish. “Usually there is not a lot of passing. Here it’s track position. Then Doug set sail- running the outside. I couldn’t believe how good he was running the outside.” Rating his birthday overall? “This is the best one yet- excellent.”

Keith Rocco closed his night at Stafford crossing sixth, Ted Christopher seventh, Woody Pitkat, Jimmy Blewett and Justin Bonsignore the top ten.

Coby leaves Stafford and heads to Waterford Speedbowl in three weeks the new NWMT point leader, 172 points to Silk’s 167. Ryan Preece moves into third in points with Jimmy Blewett fourth and Justin Bonsignore fifth. Motor problems for seven time NWMT champion Mike Stefanik at the start hurt the Coventry, RI in points who now sits ninth. However, there are only five points that separate Rocco in fifth to Szegedy in tenth..

  Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: May 26, 2012

©2012 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.