STAFFORD – It was a Sunday drive on a Friday night for Doug Coby at Stafford Motor Speedway.
After a smooth ride at the front for most of the race, Coby survived three late restarts to win the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour TSI Harley-Davidson 125 Friday at Stafford Motor Speedway.
It was the first victory of the season for Coby, of Milford, the 2012 series champion.
The race was extended to 129 laps because of a late caution.
Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y. was second and Bobby Santos III of Franklin, Mass. third.
It was the first points victory for Coby with Mike Smerigio Racing, the team he joined with during the offseason. The pairing has been nothing but success of late.
Coby won the exhibition event at Daytona International Speedway in February in his first race with the team. He was third in the season opening Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway on April 6 and second in the Spring Sizzler April 27 at Stafford.
“[The win 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 … you’ve got to take what you can get.”
Coby went by Santos for the lead on lap seven and was easily cruising away from the field before the first caution of the event flew on lap 104.
Coby had enough to fight off his challengers through the final three restarts. On the final restart, Santos gave Coby a bump coming to the white flag, but it wasn’t enough to sway him from the lead. Bosnigore went by Santos on the final lap.
“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 accelerator] 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’m just really happy. This car has been awesome every time we’ve taken it out.”
Bonsignore pitted for tires after the first caution came out. On the final restart Bonsignore thought he was supposed to start third, but series officials deemed he would start fourth behind Ron Silk.
Bonsignore said his team got robbed by the decision.
“On one hand, we were running 10th or 11th with 20 [laps] to go,” Bonsignore said. “To come out here and finish second, you can’t be upset. 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.”