Done Deal: Doug Coby Wins First NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship At Thompson

THOMPSON – Nobody will ever question Doug Coby’s self confidence as a racecar driver.

Doug Coby celebrates his Whelen Modified Tour championship Sunday at Thompson Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/NASCAR)

Unwavering confidence, bordering some would say on brash cockiness, has long been one of the calling cards of the 33-year old driver from Milford.

And so it was without surprise in January, after team owner Wayne Darling said he was committed to running full-time on the Whelen Modified Tour with Coby as his driver that it was Coby saying the team had what it took to race in 2012 for the championship.

It was a heady statement considering Coby came into the season with two career victories in series events over his first 116 starts and Darling’s team had never run a full season on the Modified Tour.

Sunday at Thompson International Speedway, Coby showed it’s not cocky if you back it up.

Coby capped off an astounding 2012 season by capturing his first career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship.

“We kind of look at ourselves as kind of a bunch of misfits,” said Coby, who has driven at times for 10 different car owners since 2002 on the Whelen Modified Tour. “We always fished around for the right combination. They were looking for drivers and I was looking for the right team. We’re just it. We get along really well, we have fun and we communicate well. We got each other’s back and that’s what kept us going through this season. I just can’t thank them enough.”

Coby used a sixth place finish Sunday at Thompson to cap a statistical year that nobody around the division could have ever predicted. He finished the year with five victories, eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10’s in 14 starts. At one point during the season he strung together a streak of seven consecutive top-three finishes.

Ryan Preece of Berlin finished second in the race and ended up second in the point standings. Ron Silk of Norwalk, the 2011 series champion, finished 11th to clinch third place in the standings. Coby needed to finish 13th or better to clinch his first title no matter what Preece or Silk did.

After the race Sunday Coby was all about deflecting the praise for what he did to focus on what the team accomplished collectively.

“All these people here people believe in me and I just can’t thank them all enough for the opportunity to drive this car,” Coby said.

“We don’t point fingers when things go bad and nobody single handedly takes credit when things go good. My car owner passes praise off to the team. He won’t even get a victory lane picture when we win. He doesn’t look at it like ‘That’s my car, I love seeing it go and I spend all this money on it.’ He’s just a down to earth guy who gets a kick out of owning a car and wants to let the team and the driver be in the spotlight and that trickles down to the crew chief and everybody.”

Coby started ninth Sunday and spent most of the day running near the back of the top-10.

“It’s never easy out there,” Coby said. “Everybody is fighting for every inch and I was just kind of hoping that with six or seven laps to go these guys that were running around us would kind of realize that they weren’t going to win so don’t bother getting into me.

“We took what the lanes gave us, tried to be smart. I ran the bottom quite a bit. I kind of look at it like if you’re on the bottom and there’s an accident you have the whole infield to get into. So the fact that the car was good and fast down there helped. We just had a decent car. Not a winning car, but I think we had a car that could race for a top-five finish and that’s kind of all we really needed today.”

Coby wasn’t worried about what sort of statement winning a title meant to his career.

“I don’t care about a statement,” Coby said. “It makes a statement that I can drive a Modified and that’s the statement that I’ve tried to make since I drove all those different cars.”

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  1. A well deserved championship! And a truly good guy!

  2. Happy for you Doug. Congrats on your championship. Congrats on 2nd place Ryan 2 great guys!!

  3. Rob Wilson says

    congrats Doug, so happy for you and the whole Darling operation!

  4. Congratulations to the #52 team well deserved…..fantastic year…..Doug you never had to prove you could drive a modified to the people who watched…..You proved that every time you sat behind the wheel…But did you have to make it so dramatic….Reading about the race on "the Chrome Horn cover it live" waiting for the next post was killing me….Next year I've got to make the trip back to CT to see the Mod's race live and in person….Congratulations again to Doug and the entire #52 team from Sunny Florida….

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