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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



Waterford Speedbowl
by Polly Reid

In front of a capacity crowd, Doug Coby of Milford, CT in the Reynolds Auto Wrecking/Furnace and Duct sponsored, Wayne Darling owned Chevrolet held off the hard charges of Ryan Preece and Justin Bonsignore in a green white checkered finish to score the victory in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Mr. Rooter 161 at Waterford Speedbowl.
Bonsignore crossed for second, Preece third, Ron Yuhas, Jr. fourth with Donny Lia fifth.
The win is Coby’s third of the 2012 season, fifth of his career, his first at Waterford.
“I’ve been trying to win at this track in a Tour car for a long time,” said Coby. “My first career win should have come back in like ’04 with the 28 team, that was the one that got away. These guys on the 52 team- we were really terrible in practice, we were really struggling today, they put their heads together and came up with a new set up for time trials today, we got to start up front (3rd), the car was just flawless- I’ve got thank them- this is a win for them.”

Coors Light Pole award winner Ted Christopher led the twenty-four car field to green with Coby moving into second by the first completed circuit. As the green flag laps ticked off the board, Coby made his move getting past Christopher to become the new leader on lap 44. Christopher would not get a chance to threaten again when the first caution of the evening waved, contact with a lap car sending the Plainville, CT driver around on the front stretch. Christopher recovered but was forced to pit on the next yellow and working his way forward, ended his night ninth.

Todd Szegedy was the next challenge for Coby. Szegedy had reclaimed the ground lost on the original start, the Ridgefield, CT driver more than a solid contender when lap traffic came into play. Contact just before the turn one entry ended Szegedy’s chances for a run at the checkers his night ending abruptly in 19th.

As Coby continued to lead, it was Preece from Berlin, CT in the Diversified Metals/R.B Enterprises Ford that gave Coby a run for the 161 Richie Evans trophy. A restart with less than 20 to go, Coby and Preece battled side by side for several circuits, Preece edging out Coby at one point- credited with leading a lap until Coby mustered the power to regain the lead.

A final caution for an incident on the front stretch involving Jamie Tomaino and Johnny Bush turned into the second red flag of the night setting up the finale- a green, white, checkered dash to the finish. Coby’s lead vanished- Preece had another shot to win.

Coming out of turn four, the green in the air, the pair sailed towards turn one. Coby adjusted his line, there was a ‘hip check’ as Coby called it unsettling the 16 car which quickly led to Justin Bonsignore in the M3 Technology Chevrolet, seeing opportunity and tucked low under Preece to claim second place.

Coby cruised to the checkers, Bonsignore who had never raced at Waterford before, crossed second, Preece third.

“The outside was the place to be on the restarts, he (Preece) was getting great runs there,” said Coby in victory lane. “My spotter kept telling me, ‘raise your entry,’ I knew I had to take away the entry for him, kind of stay on the bottom, up off, change his line a little bit. I knew Ryan wasn’t going to do anything stupid so I guess I would take the chance.”

A thoughtful Preece put into context the white flag circuit. “He was leading- he had to do what he had to do. It was green white checker, what do you expect? I would have run somebody just as hard as Doug did. He ran a great race and congratulations to him and that whole team- I’m not taking anything away from them.”

“We’re trying to get a good finish, maybe get a string of wins like they (52) are,” said Bonsignore.“We got a little behind on the initial start, got shuffled back but the car was coming to us, we picked them off one at a time- got to third, thought I had something for Ryan. I don’t know if the right front gave out but we struggled the last 30 or 40 laps. This is our first time here, I’m proud of our guys.”

“I’ve been here to watch two MRS shows,” explained Bonsignore who made the trip from Holtsville, NY, “sat up in the stands and enjoyed some good times. It was awesome to see the place packed the way it was. I’m glad, I want to keep coming back, it was a blast to race here. It always helps when you run good but I love the place, it was pretty racey tonight.”

“I thought the green white checker was going to work out in my favor. The 16 team, Sly Szaban, everybody on the team, they did a phenomenal job there – I hate it for them because I know we had a car that was real good on the short runs and pretty good on the long runs- I’m pretty sure we’ll be coming back next year and I hope we’re going to be the ones up there,” said Preece nodding in the direction of victory lane.

“With three laps to go, Ryan could hang there, I wasn’t sure,” said car owner Wayne Darling admitting he questioned how the finish would play out. Darling, who spent the race in the stands echoed the consensus of the night, “I thought it was a good show, not too many cautions. The crowd I thought was very appreciative, they were into it. There’s nothing better than when the crowd gets into it.”

“The practice, it wasn’t anywhere what they were thinking,” said Darling who had something else to celebrate, his son winning a 75 lap pro stock race at Seekonk earlier in the evening. “John (McKenna) and Doug got together and decided what to do. They talked it over and it was their decision on what to do.” 17th on the final practice speed chart, the last and only time the 52 Tour team had been to Waterford was six years ago when Matt Hirschman drove. Crew Chief John McKenna had his work cut out for him. “We probably changed ten things after practice,” said McKenna. “We were happy after time trials.” With not much of a notebook to fall back on, the communication between Coby and McKenna was critical and it’s clicking. “Doug doesn’t tell me what to change on the car; he tells me what it’s doing.” Leading the points heading to Loudon, McKenna is encouraged. “Loudon has not been a good track for us. The test got us going in the right direction. When Dale (Quarterly) drove for us there, he started us going forward, then the test- we learned a lot.” Jigsaw, Inheritance or No Groove, whatever the name, Coby will for sure be one to watch at the Magic Mile.

Rowan Pennink finished the Mr. Rooter 161 sixth, Eric Beers seventh, Rookie of the Year Contender Keith Rocco, Ted Christopher and Jon McKennedy completed the top ten.

Waterford Speedbowl pulled off a short track dream night- maximum attendance, perfect weather, a great short track show- Preece had a quote worth repeating. “You can’t even describe the feeling when you pull onto the frontstretch, get out of your car and you see this place packed, it was just awesome.”

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour meets again Saturday July 14th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Town Fair Tire 100.

  Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 24, 2012

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