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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour



F.W. WEBB 100
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
by Polly Reid

There has been no question this has been Doug Coby’s year. Stellar runs and four wins had catapulted the Milford, CT driver well into the points lead. That may have waivered a bit when three less than desirable finishes including motor issues last weekend closed the gap to nine points between Coby and Ryan Preece. Today, there were no waivers, no bobbles and certainly no questions - Coby is ‘in it to win it.’ And win he did- Coby piloted the Wayne Darling owned, Reynolds Auto Wrecking sponsored Chevrolet to a decisive victory in a dramatic green white checkered finish in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“We won the big race,” Coby said as he carried the trophy into the media center. “I didn’t want to go all year winning at just the Connecticut tracks. I’ve only won at Stafford, Thompson and Waterford in my career. Being a Connecticut boy, to come to this stage, TV, it’s really an unbelievable feeling. You all know here we’ve had a few bad weeks- I told everyone we don’t quit, we don’t stop. Everybody asked what my plan was today and it was run up front because that’s what our car does. I’m really fortunate to drive that thing; it was really awesome, especially after the pit stop. We made the perfect adjustment for what we had. I wasn’t as good as Donny in the beginning- I was a good pusher though. Once we got out front after that lap 50 break we were just awesome.”

Donny Lia finished the F.W. Webb 100 second with Ron Silk third, Ryan Newman and Rowan Pennink the top five.

Coby rolled off the grid second alongside Coors Light pole winner Donny Lia at the green. Coby slotted into third, slipped back to fifth but not for long- Coby made his way back to the front passing Lia to become one of the 16 lead changes in the first half of the F.W. Webb 100. Lining up after the break at the half, Lia, Patrick Emerling, Preece, Coby, Silk, Woody Pitkat, Eric Goodale, Newman, Pennink and Ted Christopher, the top ten, brought the field to green. Coby turned it on and following Lia, the pair broke from the pack- the duo swapping out the lead until with less than 25 to go, Christopher came into the picture taking the lead from Coby. Coby battled back for the top spot when the yellow waved for Jimmy Blewett who spun in turns three and four. Coby choosing the outside for the restart with Silk, Christopher, Emerling and Lia completed a lap when Emerling, who led his first career NWMT lap earlier in the F.W. Webb 100 spun in turns one and two setting off evasive action by others that resulted in a multi-car tangle. Todd Szegedy and Justin Bonsignore were done for the day, the other cars involved included Bryan Chew, Pitkat, Blewett and Eric Berndt. The red flag waved while the track crew cleaned the Magic Mile- the F.W. Webb 100 was going to be a green white checker finish.

Coby on the outside, Christopher on the inside, Silk, Lia and Pennink the top five, took the green-Coby was in command – the white flag in the air, contact, admittedly by Lia, sent Christopher hard into first the outside wall on the front stretch then the inside wall. Officials waived the yellow checkers as Coby claimed his first ever career win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The F.W. Webb 100 tallied twenty-three lead changes among six drivers.

“I could have zero wins and have a win at New Hampshire? It’s huge. We’re run 12 races and we’ve won five of them, that’s really, really cool. It’s really awesome to drive this car. At the pit stop we made some small changes to change the attitude of the car in a few spots – John (McKenna) knows his car and the right tiny bit to make it perfect- it’s such a cool deal for us.” “We’re going to celebrate tonight then work hard for Stafford.”

Finishing second, Lia had a non-celebrate tone as he spoke about the closing laps and the incident with Christopher. “It was a good run for the Mystic Missile- a good day other than those last few laps. We were going to fight for the win. We got a run up there on the 3 car, got into the back of him, unintentionally, and caused a wreck. I feel really bad about it. It was by no means intentional- I was getting a run and go to the bottom- the left rear corner of his bumper, probably the worst place you can get somebody but you’re at risk for that when you have a run- that’s it. It’s racing. I feel bad about it. We finished second, I wished it had turned out differently, wished it was a race for the win but that’s how it goes sometimes.”

In the first half of the F.W. Webb 100, Lia was swapping the lead with several cars but maintained the top spot more often than not. It was after the break at the half, that the Mystic Missile became less dominate. “We didn’t make any adjustments at the half- we just put tires on it. One of the big issues we’re having now in our Series is the inconsistency in tires. We got a bad right front- it’s almost like there was a cue ball on that right front. We were just so wicked tight that last run we just couldn’t get back to the gas pedal. I got to thank my guys, even struggling with tires, we had a shot to win.”

“I think I still had a car to win,” said Silk who claimed another podium finish at the Magic Mile. “I got into second on that second to last restart, I was only behind Doug for a lap but I thought I had something I could work with – I know we went over the start finish line and completed the lap, the yellow came out and they put me from second to fourth. Fourth isn’t the worse place to be, normally the outside is good but when the guy on the bottom runs into you, you got no shot, you get knocked up into the weeds and from there, it was pretty much over. We always run good here- it’s just disappointing when you run up front and you don’t win.”

Eric Beers took down sixth and is looking forward to the final two events. “Stafford, we’ve been good all year. Thompson, it’s hit or miss, hopefully it’s a hit. If we get some luck, we’ll have some wins. I guess we got lucky today because we didn’t get wrecked.”

Running a limited NWMT schedule, Rich Pallai Jr. crossed the line for seventh, Matt Hirschman also on a limited schedule was eighth, Ron Yuhas Jr. ninth and Preece crossed for tenth.

“We found the horse shoe again,” said winning car owner Wayne Darling. “We had three bad races, and here, we were lucky again. Like we said before, it’s all luck. At Bristol, we had the wrecked cleared and we got pushed into it.

Thompson, we had a good car the day before. We started the race and the car was junk- there were no cautions to fix it then last week, the motor. The motor was half way through its cycle, it was just a broken part, it’s all luck.” Darling could not be happier about having a win at New Hampshire. “I never thought I would. I wish my father was alive to see it- he passed away three years ago- I keep thinking he is watching over us.” Darling praised his crew starting with crew chief, John McKenna. “John’s been with me 16 or 17 years, part of the crew has too, Doug fit right in, everything is good.”

During the break, crew chief John McKenna did what was needed to give Coby the edge. “We loosened the car up a bit, added stagger and put in a little wedge. When Doug was behind the 4 car he was a better pusher. The first segment he didn’t really have enough. The second half, we definitely made the car a lot better. It was a good race.” Asking McKenna how this win rates among the others McKenna was thoughtful. We’ve been going to Loudon since ’89 –back then it was the Busch cars. We came close a couple of times with Marquis but never won. It was cool to do this with Doug. The Spring Sizzler win was huge, Loudon- it’s huge, it’s right up there.”

His fifth victory of the year, Coby left the Magic Mile 21 points ahead of Price, with Silk in the hunt at third, 24 back. The NWMT heads to Stafford Motor Speedway this next weekend for the Fall Final.

  Source: Polly Reid / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: September 23, 2012

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