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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Stafford Motor Speedway on August 3rd for the Stafford 150, current points leader Doug Coby will look to take his third consecutive Stafford checkered flag of the season. Coby won the CARQUEST Tech-Net Spring Sizzler in April and he backed that win up with a thrilling victory in the May TSI Harley-Davidson 125. Coby’s Stafford victories this season came in two different cars and no matter which car his #52 Reynolds Auto Wrecking / Furnace & Duct team brings back to SMS for the Stafford, 150, Coby is feeling confident that he will have another good run.

“I think our chances are pretty good,” said Coby. “We won the first 2 races with 2 different cars so in my mind it doesn’t matter what car we bring back. We should have something that will hopefully get us to qualify halfway decent and if we qualify decent, we’ll have a shot at running up front. This will be the third different distance we’ve raced at Stafford this year, so everything will be different from the 125 & 200 with the pit strategy and how hard you go at certain times. We’ll just have to take it as it comes, pit when we have to pit or not pit, play the track position game a little if we can, and hopefully the car will stay under us like it did for the first 2 races.”

Coby’s two Stafford victories this season have come under totally different circumstances. In the Spring Sizzler, Coby ran near or at the front of the field for the entire 200-lap distance, while his TSI Harley-Davidson 125 victory required a drive through the field after a flat tire required an unscheduled pit stop on lap-27. Coby is confident that his team will have a good car and will choose the correct strategy that will allow them to fight for the win again.

“If our car performs like it did last time at Stafford, we could pit any time and still come up through the field,” said Coby. “A lot of times you make your strategy at Stafford dependent on track position because it’s been tough to pass, even with new tires. I passed so many cars on the outside in the 125, if we got in a jam and had to pit off sequence, I wouldn’t feel so bad about getting back around guys. It’s going to depend on how good the car is, how confident we are getting back through traffic, and we’ll play our cards that way. I think most guys will pit around halfway like usual.

Maybe someone who pits early or pits late will have a shot at winning because a lot of guys seemed to fall off a bit in the 125 when they pitted or didn’t pit at all. If someone comes in on lap-30, that’s almost running an entire 125 to the end. My preference is to pit late and pass everybody and put on a good show, but if you have a car that you feel is one of the best cars that night, you probably want to come in with everyone else.”

With three victories and top-8 finishes in each of the first six races this season, Coby finds himself at the top of the points standings. His three wins has nearly doubled his career victory total, which stood at 4 at the start of the season. Having won track championships at Stafford in both the Late Model and ProStock divisions, Coby knows what it takes to be a championship contender and a winner. Coby’s and his team’s focus is to take the remainder of the season one race at a time.

“We’re still approaching things race to race,” said Coby. “We have to get through Riverhead first. Ronnie [Silk] and Ryan [Preece] are both very strong at Riverhead and I’m not necessarily strong there. I think my crew chief, John McKenna, has only been there as a crew chief once. So it’s a bit of a wildcard for us just to make sure we can have a decent car to keep pace with them. I would expect them to run up front the whole race and our key is to have a good enough finish to make sure they don’t eat into our points lead a huge amount. If they do it’s not the end of the world. After Riverhead, it’s all Stafford and Thompson with one race at Loudon and Bristol. I think we’ve proven we can hold our own at those tracks and we just have to go race by race. If the points lead dwindles and goes away, it dwindles and goes away. We’ll just have to try to get it back.”

In going for three wins in a row at Stafford, Coby is trying to join some select company. Since the inception of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 1985, a driver has only been able to win three races in a season at Stafford 4 times. Mike Stefanik has turned the feat three times in 1990, 1997, and 1998, Ted Christopher did it in 2002, and Tony Hirschman did it in 2005. Reggie Ruggiero won three races at Stafford during the 1987 season, but there were five events that year instead of the customary four. While Coby would like to add a third consecutive Stafford victory to his record this season, he says that something like that can’t be counted on.

“You really can’t plan on winning 3 in a row at one track, especially a track like Stafford where most of the guys have so much experience,” said Coby. “We’re not coming into the race next Friday as the team who has won 2 in a row at Stafford, we’re coming in as a team that wants to win the race. The first two races, they’re out the window. The reality is that next Friday night is not related to the other two races and we have to approach it as a separate race and see how it goes for us.”

Tickets for the 22nd Annual Stafford 150 are available and on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $33.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating will be priced at $35.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.

For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at
860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.

  Source: Scott Running / Stafford Motor Speedway
Posted: July 25, 2012

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