Pit Box: Doug Coby Looks For Faster Start At Myrtle Beach

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Doug Coby

On opposite coasts, two more of NASCAR’s regional series take the green flag this week.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West kicks off Thursday with the Bakersfield 175 presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California, and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour gets underway Saturday night with the Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety-Kleen at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway.


Doug Coby’s first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start at Myrtle Beach Speedway was a forgetful 13th-place finish. But the Milford, Connecticut, driver closed the season strong to collect his fifth title in six years. He’ll look to get off to a faster start Saturday as the tour’s 34th season gets rolling in South Carolina.

Timmy Solomito capped a late-race charge to win the Whelen Modified Tour’s inaugural visit to Myrtle Beach last year, and came within six points of winning the championship. The Islip, New York, driver lead another strong crop of drivers looking to unseat four-time defending tour champion Coby.

There will plenty of contenders Saturday evening including Matt Hirschman, who is coming off a championship run in the tour-type Modifieds at New Smyrna Speedway’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, and former tour champions Burt Myers and Andy Seuss.

Six-time race winner Jimmy Blewett will be filling in for Ryan Preece in the No. 6, while championship contender Rowan Pennink will miss the race after having offseason surgery.


PLACE Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway
DATE Saturday, March 17
TIME 5:35 p.m. ET
TELEVISION NBCSN, Wednesday, March 21 – 6 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT .538-mile oval
2017 WINNER Timmy Solomito
2017 POLE Rob Summers
EVENT SCHEDULE Saturday— Garage opens: 9:45 a.m. ET; Practice: 1:05-2:30 p.m.; Group qualifying: 4 p.m.; Driver autograph session (on track): 4:30 p.m.; Performance Plus 150 presented by Safety-Kleen: 5:35 p.m.
TWITTER @MB_Speedway
HASHTAG #PerformancePlus150 #NWMT

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The maximum starting field is 30 cars, including provisionals.

Qualifying groups will be determined by each vehicle’s overall fastest single lap from the official practice sessions.

The first 24 cars will secure starting positions based on the two-lap qualifying session. The remaining six spots will be awarded through the provisional process.

The PERFORMANCE PLUS 150 presented by SAFETY-KLEEN will be 150 laps (80.7 miles). Maximum of three (3) crew members permitted over the wall at any time during the event. Teams may only change one (1) tire on a single pit stop. Teams will be permitted to swap/move tire locations.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is eleven (11) tires per team. Four (4) tires used for qualifying must be used to begin the race. The tire change rule is four (4) tires, any position.


It’s been 19 years since Kevin Harvick has been to Victory Lane in a NASCAR race in his hometown, and he’s looking to go back.

The 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion returns home to compete in the K&N Pro Series West opener, as a lead-in to the national series doubleheader weekend down the road at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Harvick, who will pilot one of the four Jefferson Pitts Racing entries, ran at the old Mesa Marin Speedway in the West Series as well as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the former NASCAR Southwest Series. While he had a best finish of third in six West starts and runner-up in five Truck starts, he won the final two of his 12 Southeast Series races at the now bulldozed half-mile.

The fast half-mile, state-of-the-art Kern facility now resides in Bakersfield, and Harvick will head a field of talented young drivers looking to make their own name.
Jefferson Pitts Racing will have a trio of rising stars as Harvick’s teammates, led by 24-year-old Will Rodgers, who impressed in a runner-up finish to Harvick in the West race at Sonoma last year. Austin Herzog, 15, will make his series debut, while Reid Lanpher, 19, is making the trek from Maine to get additional seat time prior to running in the K&N Pro East race at Bristol in April.

While two-time defending series champion Todd Gilliland, who has two wins at Kern, is not entered the event, his former team, Bill McAnally Racing, features a stable of drivers that also includes 2017 series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year Derek Kraus, NASCAR Next driver Hailie Deegan and Cole Rouse. Meanwhile, Bruncati Racing will look to end BMR’s run of three straight titles with former champion Derek Thorn and 2016 series’ runner-up Ryan Partridge. They’ll be joined by 2017 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national championship runner-up Trevor Huddleston, Kern’s 2017 Late Model Division champion.


PLACE Kern County Raceway Park, Bakersfield, Calif.
DATE Thursday, March 15
TIME 8:15 p.m. PT
TELEVISION NBCSN, Tuesday, March 20 – 11 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT Half-mile oval
2017 WINNER Todd Gilliland
2017 POLE Todd Gilliland
EVENT SCHEDULE Thursday — Garage opens: 9 a.m. PT; Practice: 1-1:45 p.m. and 2-2:45 p.m.; Group qualifying: 5:45 p.m.; Bakersfield 175 presented by NAPA Auto Parts: 8:15 p.m.
TWITTER @KernRaceway
HASHTAG #Bakersfield175 #KNWest

CREW CHIEF HANDOUT: The maximum starting field is 26 cars, including provisionals.

Qualifying groups will be determined by each vehicle’s overall fastest single lap from the official practice sessions.

The first 22 cars will secure starting positions based on the two-lap qualifying session. The remaining four spots will be awarded through the provisional process.

The BAKERSFIELD 175 presented by NAPA AUTO PARTS will be 175 laps (88 miles) to be run in three (3) segments. The five (5) minute breaks will occur at or near the conclusion of Laps 63 and 125. At the conclusion of the break, lead lap vehicles that elected to pit will line up – in the order they were running at the beginning of the break — behind the lead lap vehicles that elected not to pit in order of running.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: Four (4) tires for practice, four (4) tires for qualifying and to begin the race for a total of eight (8) tires.

The maximum tire allotment available for this event is as follows: Four (4) tires for practice, four (4) tires for qualifying and to begin the race for a total of eight (8) tires.


North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway will begin its 68th season with the Cosmo Motors Season Opener on Saturday, highlighted by twin 40-lap features for its Division I Late Model Stock.

In addition to his K&N Pro West race, Harvick will also serve as the Grand Marshal for Kern’s season-opening 50-lap Late Model race. Harvick won his first stock car championship at Mesa Marin in the Late Models.

East Carolina Speedway in Robersonville, North Carolina, celebrated its season opener this past weekend, along with southern California’s Irwindale Speedway. And the Jacks brothers doubled down as The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway opened the 2018 season on Sunday.


  1. darealgoodfella says

    Hopefully this will be a great race. Get the rust and cobwebs off so Thompson will be a cleaner race with less yellows.

    Good entry list, and hopefully a couple more enter.

  2. Man Coby is a winner, personable and a stud to boot. Wonder why he doesn’t get the accolades as much as Preece. Is anyone a diehard Coby fan? No passion with Coby it seems. Is it Preece is known to race anything, anywhere at any time and generally succeed. Coby has focus, it’s the NWMT and that’s it. Guy seems humble, likeable, why not more adulation? He doesn’t even garner the passionate hatred that many multi time winners get leveled at them. Even hatred is a form of respect. Last time there was a big thread with Coby it was more a discussion about the points system then him. A lot of go but not much show. Don’t wreck her, make it to and cash the checker. No drama Doug.

  3. Crazy in NY says

    No drama Doug
    LOL Comedy channel is looking for help maybe. Give them a call.

  4. Care to expand on that Crazy. Am I that off base. What’s the view from NY?

  5. Ooh, ooh, ooh. Tommy Catalano of the ROC racing Catalono’s and 4th in points last year in the ROC. A top 10 finish per chance?

  6. Prediction: every top gun will be shut out from the top 5 when they take the checkers. The top five, not in order of finish will include McKennedy, Dowling, whomever subs in the 3, Summers and Lutz. I know ridiculous aye.

  7. darealgoodfella says

    “No drama Doug.” says Doug.

    I mean… this is a target rich environment. People are begging for it.

  8. Fast Eddie says

    Hey Doug, check his NEMA Midget record. He hasn’t run many but has done real well in one.

  9. Thanks Eddie. Any thoughts yourself on Coby and where he fits into your scheme as a fan?

  10. This could be a Matt Hirschman day. This is his type of race and I definitely would not count him out.

  11. darealgoodfella says

    And Preece has far more experience in upper tier racing than Colby.

  12. darealgoodfella says

    What is Colby’s xfinity driving record?

  13. Try to imagine for a second. The Northeast teams emerging from a long winter hibernation. Loading up maybe even as snow is falling. It’s a long haul for sure to South Carolina. But imagine the adrenaline they must feel as they inch southword, the temps rise, the summer like warmth hits them and anticipation no matter what your goals are for the 150 is through the roof. It’s a new season and literally anything is possible.
    I’ll be watching the Fuller vs Baldwin battle. Two heavy weights with top tier reps fielding awesome cars and great drivers that were not there last year. The 7ny was impressive in the first race at New Smyrna with McKennedy at the wheel. Second night was a wreck that Baldwin couldn’t fix because of his commitment to the Monster Series so it was one and done. Can that one win experience carry over in South Carolina? Dowling should have the best of the best under Rob Fuller and be loaded for bear. Going from plowing the snow at Fullers storage facility and getting up to speed at Myrtle Beach Speedway will be quite the change.
    There have been complaints in the past about the limited number of cars with the top tier equipment and drivers capable of winning in the NWMT. It may have just expanded significantly with Baldwin and Fuller in SC.

  14. Fast Eddie says

    Doug, I’ve always watched him due to his drive and determination while working his way up. What #2 did last year, with the horrible start to the season and then winning the championship, to me is the WMT version of the Pats vs. Atlanta Superbowl. Like him or hate him, he deserves a lot of respect for the record he has. It will be interesting to see if there is a split or unified championship this year. Will it be #2 vs. #6 again? Or can #16 or #51 beat them both? I’d like to see #82 get a win or two. And you gotta root for #3 due to its icon status. Can’t wait! Great visual from your last post as well!

  15. Just want to wish GOOD LUCK to ALL the NWMT drivers and teams. Hoping for a safe competitive season. Will take Time Solomito for the win.

  16. I thought Coby rallying back to win was huge but many people seemed to think it was Preece’s championship were it not for the missed races.
    You’re right on the nose Eddie with what most peoples expectations may include. Except for Pitkat you’re mentioning the likely contenders. I wonder though if cars like the 7ny, 15 and maybe Goodale will throw a spanner into the works. Hope so.

  17. Fast Eddie says

    I agree on the championship Doug, I don’t think anyone could have surpassed him, maybe even if he missed only one race. And I’m sure the other teams you mentioned will prove to be spoiler material for sure. Goodale looked awful strong at the end of last season, and Dowling looked real impressive for a “new guy” on the tour. If they ran the whole season, the 7ny would be my dark horse championship pick. The name Tommy Baldwin speaks for itself and McKennedy has plenty of talent as well as experience on most if of the tracks. Ditto for Bobby Santos and the 44, as they’ve finally got a good handle on that car. I hope #44 can make the September NHMS race!

  18. Dr. Joe: I raced for 6 years @ the Speedbowl and occasionaly at Thompson in the Strictly Stock/Limited Sportsman divisions. Had a 5 1/2 roll overon the front stretch @ Thompson. Moved to South Carolina 20 years ago and watched the local track (Summerville Speedway) close. Went to the NWMT race last year at Myrtle Beach and loved every minute of it. It was the biggest crowd they have had in years.
    This year’s entry list is very formidable and it should be a great race.
    I will pull for Chase Dowling as a member of his crew, Steve Godfrey was a member of my crew, along with a young Ed Puleo back in the day.
    Wish all the drivers the best for a safe season!
    The tour will miss Ted Christopher, and we should always remember him!

  19. It is true, Christopher will be missed. But the grieving time is over, life is for the living and it’s time to move on. And moving on means a new season with what I agree is a more formidable field of cars in the NWMT. So far Coby looks like he hasn’t missed a beat according to practice time but we’ll see.

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