ELITE COMPANY WITH THIRD TOUR TITLE
Continues Career Resurgence With Impressive 2015 Run
the three-act structure of storytelling, the
segments include the setup, confrontation and
resolution. Doug Coby’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
career fits quite well with this mold, and he’s
providing plenty of resolution in his third act.
Coby’s first two acts have been well-chronicled at
this point, but to briefly review:
Act 1, The Setup – The Milford, Connecticut, native
debuted on the Whelen Modified Tour in 2002 and
competed full-time from 2003-07. He became
established as a regular in the garage.
Act 2, The Confrontation – From 2008-10 he was
without a full-time car, with various opportunities
here and there, but nothing stable. His future on
the tour, and his place in it, was in question.
Act 3, The Resolution, is where we’ll pick up the
story. This act is still very much a
work-in-progress for the 36-year-old. The story is
not yet complete, but lose ends are getting tied up.
Act 3 began in 2011 when he returned to full-time
competition. In the five years since Coby began The
Resolution, success has been abundant. One win and
no championships in the 100 races that comprised
Acts 1 and 2 compared with 16 wins and three
championships in 72 races of the evolving Act 3.
In addition to the experience gained over time, and
being associated with top-tier teams, Coby also
attributes an evolving mental approach to his
success of recent seasons.
“I go back to 2010 and 2011 when I really started to
have fun racing,” Coby said. “At that time it wasn’t
necessarily about winning races. Those years were
just about getting back to what racing is about –
having fun, meeting people.”
He didn’t let The Confrontation weigh him down. That
was crucial to the wealth of success that has
followed in The Resolution.
“It was more about the mindset, about being thankful
for what I had, which was an opportunity to drive a
bunch of different cars,” Coby said.
His first Whelen Modified Tour crown came in 2012 in
his second full season with Darling Racing. That
team left the sport following a runner-up finish in
its 2013 title defense. Coby quickly latched on with
Mike Smeriglio III Racing and has won the title in
both of his years behind the wheel of the No. 2
Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair Chevrolet.
This year’s championship defense wasn’t all smooth
sailing, however. An early crash at Bristol in
August had them in third place, 32 points out of the
lead with four races to go. They finished second the
next time out at Riverhead and closed the season
with three consecutive wins from the pole at New
Hampshire, Stafford and Thompson.
It marked the greatest conclusion to a season by one
team in Whelen Modified Tour history.
“The three-in-a-row, it’s weird because we just took
them one at a time. It wasn’t like we put pressure
on ourselves to win them,” Coby said. “It really
started at Riverhead with the second place finish
when we were a bumper away from winning that race,
“That’s probably not something I ever could have
scripted or even thought about, but it happened so
we’ll enjoy it while we can and move on to the
With the elements in place for a dynastic run by
Coby and the MSIII team, Coby’s not comfortable
predicting a future of continued success though. He
instead chooses to focus on what can sustain the
team from one year to the next.
“I think a lot of that depends on sponsorship,” Coby
said. “Even championship teams need more sponsors to
keep moving forward. Certainly nobody is going to
sit back and let us ride around and win
championships, so we’ve got to keep moving forward.”
Jason Cunningham /
December 9, 2015