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   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Doug Coby Top Dog
for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

Denise DuPont

The 2012 NWMT race season is officially ended this weekend with the honoring of Champions in Charlotte, NC. NASCAR award ceremonies were held in the Crown Ballroom of the Charlotte Convention Center portion of the NASCAR Hall of Fame complex. Saturday’s celebrations were held for drivers from the top ranks of NASCAR’s Touring Division. During ceremonies top performers were recognized for their 2012 accomplishments.

Doug Coby and the race team of the #52 Reynolds Auto Wrecking/Furnace & Duct Supply/Sims Metal Management, Wayne Darling owned Chevrolet made the decision to run full time in 2012 with the NWMT division. Previously the team had run a part time schedule fitting races in where they could. With a full-time race schedule before them this year, the team immediately did what they could to identify themselves as a front contender -- Coby won the CARQUEST Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway.

The team’s work paid off in October after Thompson Speedway’s World Series racing completed. Coby crossed the line sixth and eleven points higher than the second place runner, Ryan Preece. That was enough to officially crown the Milford, CT driver the 2012 NASCAR Whelen Modified Champion.

“My guys just really worked hard all year,” said Doug Coby during Charlotte’s Champion’s breakfast event. “They always gave me a good car and they always tried to make it better even if we were not good. And that is what I think really brought it home for us. We never quit or never stopped. When we were good we kept working and when we bad we kept working. It has been awesome. It is a huge deal obviously to win a championship. It is really neat to be here and have all these guys kind of get to be a part of the whole NASCAR Championship week.”

The #52 team started the 2012 race season with seven podium finishes in a row. Then the team had a seventh place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway followed by a thirteenth place finish at Thompson International Speedway and a blown engine at Riverhead Raceway. The team did not give up but re-group and came back strong. “We had such a good start to the season that we all knew that anything could happen at any time. We knew that we were really strong even when we had problems. So it was just something where you have to make a decision on what are you going to do about it.”

”Each race is different and just because you blew a motor at Riverhead does not mean that something bad is going to happen at Stafford.” Coby said reflecting on their pinnacle of bad luck. “I think that you really have to learn in this business how to respond when things go poorly. Everybody always tries to make their things go best but the ultimate championship teams are built on the idea of those who can rise to the challenge when things go bad.”

NWMT Champion car owner, Wayne Darling, along with his crew chief and longtime friend, John McKenna, made the decision to take the chance for a full-time modified team this year. They knew the choice also meant an opportunity for more risks, but the team needed to give it a try because they were ready to. “We thought that we would give it a shot the first full time that we have attempted with the modifieds and it turned out well. I am very pleased with the results and everything fell into place all year long. We were very fortunate”.

The team started out the year with what looked like a dream season and then a few setbacks started happening. But Darling kept the team spirit’s up and used his experience to encourage them to go forward. “I have always waited for the other shoe to drop because it has always been that way in all my racing endeavors throughout the years. Things that can happen, happen and things that cannot happen, happen. I have seen things that have never happened to anyone else happen to us. I just go through it and it is parts of racing.”

With a smile on his face, Darling accepted the Owner’s Champion Trophy and accolades for his dedication and support of racing. “This championship is the highlight of my racing career. At the beginning of the year when we had seven podiums in a row that to me was our highlight. From what I am hearing we are going to try to do it again next year. It will be just like we said last year. We will go and see how it goes.”

Ryan Preece took over the seat of the #16 Diversified Metals/R.B. Enterprises/East West Marine Ford full time in 2012. This was an exciting opportunity for Preece and from the beginning he called it and answer to his dreams. Preece had a strong year with six poles, two wins and finished as a second place runner for the NWMT Championship. But in the end the team was just those eleven points out of a Championship. “It is not disappointing; it is just hard to swallow. It was really like it was a first year team for us to be together and we had a great year. It is just that Doug earned it. He wanted the championship bad enough, just as bad as I did, so it made it interesting. I know next year we will make it interesting again.”

Preece finds race tracks places that he can go to in order to unwind and enjoy some time away from the rest of the world. “It is a lot of fun when you go to the race track. It is a place where I do not get stressed. So racing is something definitely good for me. There will be a lot of preparation now for the planned 2013 schedule.”

Car Owner Eric Sanderson is very happy that Ryan Preece joined his race team full-time in this year. Sanderson finished the Owner Point standings second. “We did great this year. Even better than I expected having a new driver coming into a team that he has never been with. He just did an extraordinary job. All the guys worked really hard and we just had a lot of fun.”

Ron Silk started 2012 with a win at Thompson’s Ice Breaker ready to make it two championships in a row. But the team had their share of racing challenges during the season. Silk did go into the last race of the season with a long shot chance at the tour championship. But a late race incident forced Silk to settle for an eleventh place finish and it also pushed Silk back to third in the championship run. “We had a real good year this year. The team did a good job and we tried a lot of stuff throughout the year so in the end things worked out all right.”
The team did chalk up a major win at Bristol Motor Speedway which ended their battle to conquer the track. “The highlight of the team’s year was our win at Bristol. That was a typical place to try to win a race at especially as a team where we have struggled there the last few years. And to be able to go there and win was very gratifying.”

This season Keith Rocco took over the wheel of the Legendary Jan Boehler #3 modified. Rocco was a contender in the beginning of the season, but a wrist injury sidelined the racer for a portion of the year. Rocco returned at the end of the season though and clenched the “Sunoco Rookie of the Year” honors.

“I am real happy that I received the Rookie title since you only have one shot at it. To be able to squeak by and just get the eight races in is a good thing. I would not have been able to do it without the Boehler’s and I cannot forget about Katon (Robert) letting me borrow that car for one race to try to make a start. But the season worked out for everybody.”

The 2012 race season has now come to an end and the 2013 schedule is available for everyone to start their planning and dreams on what the New Year will bring. Have a joyous, safe and happy holiday season and we will see back in February as we head to Daytona Speedway for the Inaugural Race At The Beach”.

Notes from Charlotte Night of Champion Touring Awards (NWMT):

The trip top Charlotte and the Champion week climax the #52 team’s dream season with stellar experiences and memories.

Doug Coby
“We had a lot of cool things to do and had a lot of nice dinners. We have done a lot of things that people do not typically get to do. We saw Rick Hendricks personal car collection that only X amount of people are allowed to see, it was kind of neat. It is one of the greatest things ever and it is really special. Everybody has said it was one of the best things ever and it is really special and a real worldwind. It seems like it was Tuesday a few minutes ago. It has been a long week and we have had stuff to do every day so it is pretty cool.”

What are you plans for 2013 Race Season?

Doug Coby

As far as plans for next year: “We will wait and see what the schedule has for us. If the schedule is similar to last year we will probably be back full time. If something is drastically different Wayne and John will sit down and decide on what they think is manageable. I will say that you will probably see us back doing the same thing but you never know things can change.

Ryan Preece
“I am looking forward to next year and hopefully we can keep doing what we did this year and maybe even do a little bit better.”

Eric Sanderson, #16 NWMT car owner
“Next year we are going to be there again to run the full tour and we will be in Daytona to start with even though it is not a point race we will be there. We are going to have some fun next year.”

Ron Silk
“Next year we will do the same thing except and we will try to win the NWMT Championship again.”

What gives you the zest to do what you can in racing?

Wayne Darling

“I grew up with racing. From when I was three years old, my father ran SCCA Races. My father would pick me up from school on Friday and we would travel all night to Virginia, Maryland and even Daytona for races. Then he would drive all night to get me back to school in the morning. My father had a very successful road racing career but work came first so he never took it to the next level. I have had the opportunity to though to take things to the next level.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: December 10, 2012

©2012 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.