SECURE RIDES FOR DAYTONA
Modified Drivers Team Up With Legends Of The Sport
their own teams not able to make the trip, a pair of
champion NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers leaned
on relationships developed through the years to
secure rides for the inaugural UNOH Battle At The
Beach, Feb. 18-19 at Daytona International Speedway.
Reigning NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Champion Doug
Coby and 2010 tour titlist Bobby Santos will head to
the “World Center of Racing” thanks to arrangements
secured just recently to allow them to compete in
the new special event on the .4-mile oval on the
backstretch at Daytona.
Those arrangements will also see them team up with
another pair of champions, and legends in the
Modified ranks. Coby is slated to compete in a team
car to Ted Christopher – the 2001 NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series national champion and 2008
Whelen Modified Tour titlist – while Santos’ car
will come out of the same shop as that of nine-time
NASCAR champion Mike Stefanik.
Coby, from Milford, Conn., turned in a dominating
performance – highlighted by five wins – during the
2013 season to deliver No. 52 Chevrolet car owner
Wayne Darling his first Whelen Modified Tour title.
Drivers who won a race or captured the championship
during the season were awarded a locked-in starting
position for the Whelen Modified feature at the UNOH
Battle At The Beach, so Coby had his bases covered
when it came to the Daytona race.
Darling was not able to send his No. 52 team to
Florida, however, which left Coby looking for
another opportunity. That’s where Boehler Racing
Enterprises – a Massachusetts-based team like
Darling Racing – got involved.
“I guess that Michael Boehler got word that I didn’t
have a ride,” Coby said. “They were looking to bring
a second car, and obviously knowing that I have a
guaranteed starting spot helped, so he talked to
Wayne and they worked out a sponsorship deal.”
So Coby will now head to Daytona as a teammate to
Christopher. Christopher will pilot famous No. 3
“Ole Blue” Chevrolet while Coby will bring his
traditional No. 52 decals to put on the second BRE
“It’s going to be a cool race to be a part of, and
to be a part of it with a Boehler car is just like
the cherry on top of the sundae,” Coby said.
“Obviously I would have liked to be there with my
No. 52 team – first and foremost I wish I could have
gone with them – but to go with a second car for the
Boehler team is pretty neat.”
Like Coby, Santos was strongly looking forward to
competing in the UNOH Battle At The Beach.
“When NASCAR announced the Daytona event, I think
that’s a place all drivers want to go and race,”
Santos said. “It’s something that I definitely
wanted to do.”
And also like Coby, he was without a ride for the
Santos, from Franklin, Mass., is locked into the
UNOH Battle At The Beach Modified feature by virtue
of his wins in the last two races of the 2012 Whelen
Modified Tour season at Stafford Motor Speedway and
Thompson International Speedway with the No. 44
Tinio Motorsports team. But with Tinio planning to
take on the full Whelen Modified Tour schedule for
the first time in 2013, the team needed to focus on
preparing for the coming campaign and could not make
the trip to Daytona with Santos. That’s where
Santos’ relationships bridged the gap to get him the
UNOH Battle At The Beach opportunity.
Santos’ father, Bob, is friends with Mike Stefanik’s
crew chief with the No. 22 team, Brad Lafontaine.
That started the ball rolling for Santos to reach an
agreement with No. 22 team owner Chris Our to drive
their back-up car in Daytona, with the support of
his regular No. 44 car owner Sully Tinio.
“Everybody was already friends, so it worked out to
be a good deal,” Santos said. “I really have to
thank my dad, Sully, Chris and Brad for making this
Santos will pilot a No. 44 team car to Stefanik’s
No. 22 in Daytona.
So two teams became four, with all four drivers
sporting a championship pedigree. And according to
Coby, there won’t be any start-and-parks among the
group – all four champions will be loaded up to run
for a Daytona checkered flag.
BRE to Welcome a Legacy Crew Member: Not only will
Boehler Racing Enterprises have a pair of champion
drivers in their camp with Ted Christopher and Doug
Coby, but they’ll also have the son of a past
champion in their pit. Gary DeSarro, son of 1970
NASCAR Modified national champion Fred DeSarro, is
going to join the BRE pit crew for this special
event. Fred drove the late Lenny Boehler’s “Ole
Blue” No. 3 in the 1970s. To bring things full
circle, Lenny’s son and current BRE President
Michael Boehler invited Fred’s son Gary – a Florida
resident – to crew “Ole Blue” for the UNOH Battle At
Floridians Get a Shot to Race Mods at Daytona: While
nearby New Smyrna Speedway has been a longtime haven
for Modified racing, modern-day open wheel drivers
from the Sunshine State haven’t had a chance to
experience Daytona International Speedway behind the
wheel. That’ll all change when a trio of Floridians
will have a shot to run their own Modified at the
“World Center of Racing.” Veteran Gary Fountain Sr.
(Clermont) and rookies Dalton Baldwin (Oldsmar) and
Jeremy Gerstner (Tampa) are all projected to give it
a go in the inaugural UNOH Battle At The Beach. All
three intend to compete on the NASCAR Whelen
Southern Modified Tour in 2013.
Battle Events: The NASCAR Whelen All-American
Series Late Models will have qualifying races and a
150-lap feature on Monday, Feb. 18 while the action
on Tuesday, Feb. 19 will include a similar schedule
of qualifying races and 150-lap races for both the
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tours and NASCAR K&N Pro
Series. All three features are non-points races.
Event Coverage: All three UNOH Battle At The
Beach features will be carried live on SPEED, the
Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio while
all practice and qualifying sessions will feature
live streaming video at www.nascarhometracks.com.
Event Tweets: The official Twitter hashtag
for all events surrounding the UNOH Battle At The
Beach is #NASCARBattle. Join the conversation using
the #NASCARBattle hashtag as well as the official
Twitter accounts for NASCAR Home Tracks (@NASCARHomeTrack)
and Daytona International Speedway (@DISupdates).
Additional Info: For more information, please visit
Grandstand and garage admission can be secured via
the website or by calling 1-888-PITSHOP.
Source: Jason Cunningham / NASCAR