.Teams and Drivers,
Submit your FREE profile
 for 2010
   The Chrome Horn - NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour




Mike Smeriglio Owned Team Gets
First 2014 NWMT Point Victory
Denise DuPont

The TSI Harley-Davidson 125 race was postponed twice due to rain, but finally blue skies prevailed and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour (NWMT) finally got the race in the books at Stafford Motor Speedway. There were a lot of green flag racing, but in the end the race came down to late race cautions, pit strategies and a chase for the checkers with a green-white-checker finish. So once again it is not over until it is over.

Doug Coby of Milford, CT, took over the lead from Bobby Santos on lap 7 and charged forward for the win in the Dunleavy's Repair/HEX Performance Chevrolet. “I know all the people in the stands thought I used all my stuff up early,” Coby said. “I’m sure they heard me lifting (off the gas) at the start-finish line for as long as I could because I knew it was going to happen, I knew a caution was going to come out. I just tried to save what I could. I knew that Bobby and a couple of guys behind us also did not pit, but then I saw the #51 there and he pitted with tires. So I’m just really happy (for the win). This car has been awesome every time we’ve taken it out. We are really clicking. It is a new team and it is awesome to be with these guys.”

There were a lot of green laps from lap 8, to the first caution on lap 103. Coby had to pace himself while making his way around lapped traffic. “I like that, I knew that I was killing them off of turn two. My spotter by himself is awesome. He kept telling me that Bobby (Santos) is rolling me to the bottom on turn three and four and that I was killing him off of two. So I figured it out and kept doing what I was doing and drove him kike he would drive me. I know how Bobby races and I know how I race. I would have gotten aggressive there at the end if I had to.”

“I think that if Justin (Bonsignore) had lined up third on that restart that it would have been an interesting deal,” said Coby reflecting on the race end. “I would have had to fend Bobby (Santos) off on the outside and Justin off with the forward drive with the new tires. We just got lucky with the scoring loop. I had a good car and it is what it is.”

Justine Bonsignore of Holtsville, NY, pitted for two rear tires after the first caution came out. On the final restart Bonsignore thought he was supposed to start third, but NASCAR tour official’s decision was that he would start fourth behind Ron Silk. He thought it was just enough to throw him off on the last restart. In the end, Bonsignore still felt his team was robbed by this decision: “We were in position (for the win). But we got robbed.”

Running about tenth or eleventh with 20 laps to go the #51, chem3.com Chevrolet team, needed a caution if they were going to be a contender for the first spot. “To come out here and finish second, you can’t be upset.” Bonsignore commented on his second place finish. “On the other hand, when you think you’re going to line up third and you’ve got better tires than the other two guys and you think you could drive by them with ease. I think we definitely had a good shot at it. It is what it is.”

Even though Bonsignore thought the team was robbed of their restart position, they did go forward and pull out from under Santos second place. “I pretty much did steal a second here tonight,” confessed Bonsignore. “It was a one-hundred percent deal here tonight. My crew chief called the pit and that was almost a winning move. So my hat off to him and my guys on the crew. We had a real good pit stop and they got us out in a good spot. We stole one tonight but that is how you are going to be in the title fight when it gets to the end of the year. We took a so-so car tonight and we stole a second. I am really impressed and very happy with that. But on the other hand I kind of felt that we could have won the race when it got down to the end of it.”

Bobby Santos of Franklin, MA started on the pole, dominated the beginning laps and then settled in to save what he had for the end. But Coby was thirsty for his first 2014 win and he held Santos in second coming out of the last caution. Then at race end Santos did not have enough to hold off Bonsignore’s charges and he had a podium finish. “I wish that that last yellow did not come out because I think that I had a shot at Doug there just needed a couple of laps to get my tires in to make a charge on him (Doug Coby),” said Santos. “I am kind of mad at myself for giving up second. I just should have settled in and finished second. I tried too hard down here and gave the spot up. Still though I have to that the guys on the team, they gave me another great race car. Since I have started with the team they have given me really great race cars. It is just working together more and more. We are just working together and getting the experience working as a team and getting better and better.”

Rounding out the top five was Rowan Pennink in fourth and Woody Pitkat for fifth.

With this victory, Doug Coby took over the tour points lead from Justin Bonsignore by a margin of four points.

The NWMT returns to racing at Waterford Speedbowl on Saturday, June 21st for the Mr. Rooter 161.

Notes from Stafford Motor Speedway:

Did you know the caution was going to come out?

Doug Coby

“It was inevitable. I started to see cars that were lapping. The track gets small when the leaders are coming and there is a line of cars from about eighth to about fifteenth that do not want to go a lap down. I figured that one of them would dump where the lapped cars are or get tangled.”

You won exhibition race at Daytona but getting a points race with a new team what does that mean?

Doug Coby

“It is huge,” Coby said. “Not just that, but it’s the second and third in the other two races to start the season. It’s really clicking. It could all go away in one race, we could be awful from here on out. But the first three look pretty good. With this 14-race schedule you’ve got to win when you can and if you finish sixth one week, you finish tenth and you’ve got to take what you can get.”

Ron Silk made a move for the lead around lap 112 and almost stole the lead. What actions did you take?

Doug Coby

” I just kept my line in turn or three and just used the width of the car to keep him behind me in turn three and four.”

The next two races are short track. Your thoughts:

Justin Bonsignore

“I grew up on the bullring at Riverhead so it is definitely more of my driving style. Stafford, I love coming here but statistically it seems to be one of my worst tracks. I just do not have a great feel on it and it is tough to gain on them when these guys race here every week. And it does show. Look how good the #2 and #44 cars perform every time that we come here.”

Did two tires made a difference in your race?

Justin Bonsignore

“We needed one or two cautions at the en but there might have been one too many to get where we needed to. I am going to have to get clarification on the rule of why we were put back to fourth. I think it is because everybody completed the lap. It is what it is. Like I said, we stole one. On one hand you are going to be upset that you lost the race when you are so close. But on the other hand to get a second after the night we ran, it was a huge accomplishment.”

If you had to do it again, would you have pitted for ties?

Bobby Santos

“No, Doug run the race without tires. I think that Justin just was in the right place at the right time at the end. Like I said I screwed up and gave him the spot for second. If there was another 50 laps it would have been a different strategy but for this race the deal with no tires was the right decision.”

Source: Denise DuPont / TheChromeHorn.com
Posted: June 7, 2014

©2014 GeeLaw Motorsports/Wolf Pack Ventures, Inc.