It’s the task faced by all champions in the quest for repeating. Taking what was the best and trying to making it better.
For many teams that likely means replicating at best the most successful ingredients that led to a championship, while fine tuning the weaker points.
But when it comes to Doug Coby and his Mike Smeriglio III owned NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team, the task of repeating their 2014 championship season will come with what in a lot of ways is a brand new team for the team.
Doug Coby begins the chase for his third championship in four years Sunday in the Whelen Modified Tour season opening Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway. And in the quest of making the best better, his team has decided to take much of what worked last year and leave it behind.
The team will go from a Troyer chassis to a new LFR Chassis for 2015 and at the same time go from their built motor program to a spec motor program.
“I’m not feeling a whole lot of pressure going into the season,” Coby said. “We made some big changes. If we run up front we run up front. And if not, we’re going to fix it so we do run up front. We’d like to think we’re making smart decisions trying to move our program forward.
“This year we’re hoping we had the same season we had last year. We’d like to win some more races. But our mindset is to dial in the new chassis and see where it goes. We could have a really good season or we could have a mediocre season. I’m just not sure. There’s nothing to go off of yet. I’m excited for the season to start and to see how things go and if bad things happen then bad things happen.”
After winning a championship in 2012 for car owner Wayne Darling, and finishing runner-up in the series standings in 2013 for Darling, Coby replaced Todd Szegedy in the Smeriglio owned car before the 2014 season.
He recorded one win, nine top-five’s and 12 top-10’s in 13 events in 2014 on the way to his second series title.
Despite rolling to a second championship in three seasons, Coby’s upcoming defense of his title has hardly been a hot topic of the storylines heading into the season. The story of Coby’s chase for a third title has been overshadowed by a Whelen Modified Tour Silly Season that literally began the day after the 2014 season ended and has raged on for months, with 2013 series champion Ryan Preece moving to a new ride and Szegedy, the 2003 series champ, returning to the series full-time with a championship caliber team.
Though not being the magnet for attention before the season starts isn’t something that bothers Coby.
“I don’t care,” Coby said. “… I don’t really care what story we are as long as at the end of the season we’re the story.”
Away from the Whelen Modified Tour, Coby will run a more limited schedule than usual. He decided not to return to running the Glen Johnson owned SK Modified at Stafford Motor Speedway weekly. Jeff Rocco will replace him in that ride.
Coby will run Open Tour Type Modified shows at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H., Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H. and Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway for the Czarnecki Bros. No. 20 car he has piloted part-time for a number of seasons. In addition he expects to run a a pair of Valenti Modified Racing Series events at Monadnock and a pair of Tour Type Open Modified shows at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl for his Smeriglio owned team. He also expects to run about five Northeastern Midget Association Races for Bertrand Motorsports.