New ride, another big win.
Doug Coby showed team owner Mike Smeriglio III Tuesday that he made a wise decision in putting him behind the wheel of his car for 2014.
Coby, of Milford, held off Jason Myers over the final two laps to win the NASCAR Modified Tour UNOH Battle At The Beach 150 at Daytona International Speedway Tuesday.
It was the first race with the Smeriglio owned team for Coby, the 2012 NASCAR Modified Tour champion. Coby landed in the No. 2 ride after the team parted ways with longtime driver Todd Szegedy following the 2013 season.
NASCAR Southern Modified Tour regulars Jason Myers and Luke Fleming were second and third respectively.
It notched another “icon event” victory for Coby, who has won the NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway and has also won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
“Stafford and New Hampshire are big for Modifieds but Daytona’s big for racing,” Coby said. “It doesn’t matter what you race here, to be a winner at this speedway and to be able to grab this trophy and bring it home to a brand new team –first time out in the car – it’s a really great feeling for us.”
For much of the event the race looked gift wrapped for 2013 Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece, who started on the pole and led every lap but the final three.
Preece’s night went bad when the lapped car of Dave Sapienza came accelerating from the low groove into the racing lane, driving right into Preece while he was leading. Preece’s car was clearly damaged heavily in the incident, but with the lead in hand, he stayed on the track for a restart with three laps remaining. On the restart, second place Patrick Emerling went spinning out of the groove and Preece drifted up the track, allowing Coby to easily move to the lead.
“I don’t even know what to say about it,” said Preece, who held on to finish fourth. “… It’s unfortunate. I don’t even know if [Sapienza] even turned right there. … This is horrible. It’s Daytona. It would have meant a lot to me win this race. I don’t even know what to say right now.”
Coby absorbed a couple hard bumps from Myers over the closing lap before securing the checkered flag and the $20,000 winner’s purse.
“We got lucky that that caution came out,” said Coby, who was fastest during both afternoon practices on the .37-mile temporary oval. “[Preece] had a great car and was driving away from everybody. But this is the Battle at the Beach man, there was no points. … UNOH and Daytona International Speedway put on a great show here.”