Odd Thompson Wreck Leaves Doug Coby With Questions; Deep In Whelen Mod Tour Standings

Doug Coby’s car is brought to the infield at Thompson Speedway Sunday after a first lap wreck in the Whelen Modified Tour Icebreaker 150 (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

Before the start of the 2017 season for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, there were few around the division that could in any way argue that Doug Coby and his Mike Smeriglio Racing team weren’t the favorites to win this year’s championship.

Coby and the team have won the last three series titles, and Coby himself has won four of the last five series championships.

But two races into the 16-event season, the challenge of winning a fourth consecutive title for Coby and his team has been made immensely more challenging.

A wreck in the season opening event on March 18 at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway relegated Coby to a 13th place finish to start the year.

Sunday at Thompson Speedway, Coby’s day was literally over before he could complete at lap in the Icebreaker 150 at Thompson Speedway.

Slowing under caution on the first lap of the event, Coby was hit by Brendan Bock and slammed the backstretch wall, ending his day.

The 31st place finish left Coby 16th in the series standing at the end of the day, 46 points behind standings leader Timmy Solomito.

“It’s racing,” Coby said. “You’ve got to take the good with the bad and I’ve had a lot more good than bad lately so what am I going to do?

“It’s a different way to start the season than we’ve been used to the last three years, probably for me the last five years. … It’s a reminder to us that we can’t take anything for granted and nothing is given to us.”

“It’s not the end of the world. And I don’t like that people try to make it the end of the world because our team is very capable of going out and winning a lot more races this year. The reality is, the whole points championship thing, that only happens when you just go race to race and try to win every race and we have better experience and knowledge at that than anybody. We’ll just take our lumps and move on to the next race. That’s all we can do.”

At the initial drop of the green flag for Sunday’s Icebreaker 150, Chase Dowling, who was starting on the inside of the front row, slowed, causing a chain reaction through the field. The caution flag flew when Max Zachem, who started 13th, spun.

After cars were slowing on the backstretch, Coby – who started third – ended up plastered against the backstretch wall after getting hit by Bock, who started 10th.

“All I know is that I have the best spotter [Brian Sullivan] on the Tour and my spotter told me the caution was out and to get my hand up and so that’s what I did,” Coby said. “I listen to him and trust that if there’s a wreck everybody is going to slow down. I think [Chase Dowling] slowed down, he was next to me on the bottom. So we kind of slowed down at the same time. I had also heard from somebody that the flagman threw the caution but that the tower didn’t call it. So I don’t know what that exact sequence of events is. I talked to Justin Bonsignore this morning and he also was told that the caution was out. He had seen the melee that had kind of had happened so he knew that the caution was out and he was a couple rows behind me, which was apparently where the car that tagged me came from. I don’t have a whole lot to say.

“I don’t know why or how he hit me. I was told by somebody that his spotter didn’t tell him the caution was out. If the flagman threw the caution and the tower didn’t call it, maybe his spotter only listens to the tower calling cautions. I don’t know. All I know is somebody made a mistake and it wasn’t me. That’s just it. That’s not a big deal. I don’t want to sound like a crybaby through the whole thing. It’s just racing. You say one bad thing about one person and everybody thinks you’re a crybaby.

“On lap one of a race, I’m not going like it’s lap 140 and I don’t think anybody should be. Especially when the car that starts on [the inside of the front row] had a bad start and checked everybody up. You just want to survive through that, so why are you going so hard anyway? Any one of us in that situation, with how bad the start of that race was, should have been able to avoid anything other than a spinning car. If somebody else slowed up, you should respect that just with how the whole race started. I get a little bit aggravated with that stuff because I feel like I’m very heads up with those situations. When somebody has a bad start three or four rows up ahead of me, I’m not clobbering the guy in front of me to try to push him through things. It’s just a different way of racing and a different level of experience.”

After the wreck Coby got a fan’s perspective of an entire event from the infield and came away with some with interesting evaluations. Rowan Pennink ended up winning the event.

“It certainly made me think ‘Man, certain moves work and certain moves don’t work.’” Coby said. “We’ve got two races into the season on the Tour and the last 20 laps of both races have been complete chaos with people trying to steal spots from each other. I think it’s a good indication that anybody is capable of having a bad finish with the way we’re racing each other at the end of the races. All these guys that think they’re golden because we’ve had two bad races, they could have several in a row with the way things are panning out. I’m not hoping for that, whatever happens happens. We’re just going to go out there and try to win races. The winning of the races is the key thing because of all the bonus points you get. So if we’re going to claw our way back into this we’re going to have to assert ourselves as a winning car at a lot of different places. It’s doable.”


  1. It’s going to be a fun point’s year. Coby is still very much in it.

  2. darealgoodfella says

    Well, they didn’t get to run a thousand laps of testing at Myrtle Beach to get the setup right. doh. When you run laps like that in test sessions, you are bound to get a better combination. Then add the carb and flux capacitor.

    Some days you are the windshield, other days you are the bug.

    After all that, this was the best, “I don’t have a whole lot to say.”

  3. Bill Realist says

    Coby says he doesn’t want to say one bad thing about anyone or else he looks like a crybaby….. then uses the next three paragraphs of the story to instead say 10-15 bad things. Classic.

  4. darealgoodfella says

    LOL!!! Bill Realist, if that really was “I don’t have a whole lot to say” , then I dread if he should ever have a whole lot to say.

    I thought that was an interview with Trump. Riddled with self-contradictions.

    The 2 had their bad luck early, that’s all. Everyone else will have a couple bad races by the end of the season, and that will be that. But the 2 has lots of races that it must be pristine, no mistakes at all. Must nail the setup every race, and stay out of trouble. Good luck with that.

  5. IMO guys,I think Coby’s remarks were well measured under the circumstances.Its a very young season and his team can overcome this start.Your forgetting about the flux capacitor.BTW Shawn great story this is what we pay you for!It would be great if you could talk to Ryan and find out what happened to him.100 laps to repair the car.I will also bet that Preece and Co.will be there at the end

  6. LOL I think hes a whack job one wreck and he needs a whole session with Dr Phil. Maybe too used to winning idk but Mike Stefanik he aint.

  7. Frank D I’ll take doug over Mike any day mike always thought he was the best but he wasn’t.richie evans was

  8. darealgoodfella says

    Anybody have the live interview that was played over the PA system right after the accident? Shawn, please transcribe that and print it.

    Read this article again, especially the section where Colbee talks about not going hard on the start, then find a video of the start of the race and watch the 2 banging the cars in front of him. I thought he was going to lose his front tires.

    All that blathering and “I don’t have a whole lot to say.”

  9. Hey give Coby some credit at least he didn’t accuse the Russians of meddling in the outcome of the race

  10. Frank I’ll take Doug over Mike any day Mike thinks he is best but he is not Richie Evans was

  11. darealgoodfella says

    Doug <<Mike < Richie

    Nobody accused the Russians of meddling. The Intel data proves they did.

  12. Grey Matter says


  13. Barney Rubble says

    Give Doug some credit, at least he didn’t nearly kill anyone with an immature rock spray when he exited this race. A personal apology to the teams at Stafford would have went a long way.

  14. speed kills says

    should have stuck to the script champ.. “it was just one of those deals on the restart …thanks to my car owner, crew, sponsors etc” we will get em next week. NEVER will have the number of titles or respect stefanick has

  15. darealgoodfella says

    That car looks like junk. Hope they were able to save the flux capacitor and carburetor.

    Better get another chassis on order, gonna need it.

  16. Not too worried, the 2 will be back in the points. Good to see the 3 back in victory lane, the 44 having a good run. Watch out for the 20, breakout season? It’s early yet.

  17. Did he ever compare himself to Stefanik? Must have missed that in the article.

  18. When does the tour start
    I was at louden and no one was there
    That’s OK I’ll chopper in again

  19. Stefanik was way better at whining , he was in a league of his own , a champ for about 20 years or so

  20. Hey Dick…….ask Mike who was the best driver of all time in anything, and he will tell you it is Richie….just so you know

  21. Sorry……I meant Richard

  22. Best driver ever is Tom petty

  23. Please comment on my comments or I will leave and take my money with me
    Current as of today
    700 shares of apple

  24. Fast Eddie says

    BUH BYE!!!! Don’t let the door smack you on the way out!

  25. Fast Eddie I am a great guy
    Why would you say that to a man who has donated millions to the local tracks
    I get letters from people who love me everyday

    Jeff gordan writes
    Jeffreyt1258 has been a great guy his whole life. Love jeff

  26. Crazy in NY says

    Best Driver ever was Bruce (wink)

  27. darealgoodfella says

    Jeffery1258, what are you waiting for? Just buy Waterford Speedbowl with your packet cash. Then don’t charge admission for 5 years and have $100,000 payout funds for every event, weekly races too.

  28. geoffrey doppelgänger says

    When I buy Speedbowl new surface will be dirt. Keith Rocco vs Brett Hearn in $5k to win match race.

  29. D. Trickle says

    TC racing this year on the tour? Or sk races at Stafford?

  30. D. Trickle,
    As of right now I don’t think Christopher has any cemented plans for the Tour. Maybe some part-time stuff. He’s scheduled to run full-time in an SK Modified at Stafford, Waterford and Thompson.

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