For years Doug Coby wanted to be part of the prestigious “guest driver” program for the Bertrand Motorsports Northeastern Midget Association team.
It’s a program with Bertrand Motorsports that over the years has included the likes of Ryan Newman, Cole Carter, Ted Christopher, Lou Cicconi and Mike Stefanik to name a few.
Now guest who isn’t leaving anytime soon might be the best way to categorize the Milford driver’s place with the team.
After running three NEMA events for Bertrand Motorsports in 2013, Coby said he expects to expand that schedule for 2014.
Coby will look to squeeze NEMA events into a schedule that already includes full-time duties on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and in the SK Modified division weekly at Stafford Motor Speedway along with some spot starts on the Valenti Modified Racing Series.
He might not know exactly all the events he’ll be seen driving a Midget at this year, but he knows at least one of them will be the NEMA opener Sunday at the Waterford Speedbowl’s Budweiser Blastoff weekend.
“We’re going to work a schedule around the [Whelen Modified Tour], my Stafford [Motor Speedway] SK [Modified] schedule and the few races that I run with the No. 20 car [on the Valenti Modified Racing Series],” Coby said. “We’re going to do more than we did last year. I think we’ve all been having fun with it. I just don’t know right now which places we’re going to be. I don’t know their schedule well enough to know what we could get to. It all depends on my availability based on their schedule.”
Team owner Tim Bertrand said he hopes to run Coby in as 5-6 events in 2014.
Last year Coby finished fifth running for Bertrand Motorsports in the season opener at Waterford. He followed that up with his first victory in the division in the prestigious Boston Louie Memorial at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway in June. In his final race of 2013 with the team he finished second in an event at Seekonk in July.
“I like having fun in whatever I’m driving and I have fun driving those cars,” Coby said. “I like challenging myself to do something different and showing people that I can drive something other than a Modified, so it’s fun to go into different divisions and win if you can.”
Coby made his first NEMA start for the team in 2012 at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H.
“I like racing with Tim and his family,” Coby said. “They’re really cool people. I’ve known them since I was probably eight years old. I think the reason why both of us started working together on a limited basis was because we had always joked about it back when I was coming up through the Modifieds. I always told him when I started seeing all these guest drivers he was having in the car, I always said ‘One of these days I’m going to drive one for you.’ And he always said ‘One of these days I’m going to have a third car and you can do it.’ When he got the third car I said ‘Does that mean I can drive it?’ and he said ‘Yes.’
Coby got his first chance in a Bertrand car during a test at Waterford in 2012.
“In 2012, I was building the original [No. 74] car, and asked Doug if he wanted to come test it with me one Thursday at Waterford,” Bertrand said. “Within about four laps he was running down around the track record, and we decided to run the final race that year in October [at Lee].
Bertrand Motorsports fields full-time cars for Randy Cabral, who has won four NEMA championships for the organization, and for Todd Bertrand, Tim’s brother.
“Our goal is to have some fun and turn a few heads when the ‘Modified Guy’ shows up into the very tightly knit NEMA club,” Bertrand said. “I think having some of the Modified guys like [Bobby Santos III], Coby, and [Ryan] Preece get into Midgets from time to time really raises the level of visibility for this end of the sport – which is a great thing.”