Break It Down: Doug Coby Analyzes Wild Conclusion Of Musket 250 At NHMS

Bobby Santos III (36, leading), Jon McKennedy (7, middle), Doug Coby (2, outside) and Chuck Hossfeld (21, inside) come to the checkered flag to finish the Musket 250 Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: Curtis DuPont/RaceDayCT)

LOUDON, N.H. – When New Hampshire Motor Speedway management announced in Sept. 2017 that they would host a 250-lap event for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour in 2018 the naysayers flocked almost immediately to social media to mock the idea. 

Of the criticisms leveled before the first running of the event, one of the most prevalent was that a race that long for the series would certainly lead to boring stretches devoid of action and likely a lackluster finish. 

After two years it has been proven there’s no worries about those finishes getting boring. 

The inaugural event saw a wild dustup between Justin Bonsignore and Ryan Preece battling for the lead in turn three of the final lap, with Chase Dowling ultimately taking the victory. 

Saturday’s second year saw a final lap where – based on the action of the eight laps previous – it could be fairly argued that five cars had a legitimate chance to win as the field passed under the white flag. 

In the midst of the drama oozing final 10 laps was five-time series champion and current points leader Doug Coby, who led briefly on the final lap but settled for a third place finish. 

Eventual race-winner Bobby Santos III spent most of the event far back from the lead pack, but Coby was not surprised to see him up front in the deciding moments. 

“He stays on the lead lap, they have a great car, he’s a great driver and he makes the right decisions at the end,” Coby said. “And I also think he’s kind of earned the reputation of going to the front and people move over for him. He was pulling these slide jobs and nobody wanted to give him the nerf bar and pinch him on the bottom because everybody wants to go with Bobby. So those moves work sometimes and sometimes they don’t. But today he was on his game again.” 

Working the closing laps in third place, Coby watched Santos and second place finisher Jon McKennedy jockey for position out front, trading the lead four times on track from lap 244 to 247. 

“They start moving around and I’m third and I’m thinking they’re likely going to clip each other and maybe wreck because a guy pulls down when you’re going to bump him you can turn him real easy,” Coby said. “And I just knew I had to get to second at some point. And I did. I don’t know how it happened, you couldn’t tell me how I managed to stay in front of [Chuck Hossfeld] and then with McKennedy and Santos I think I pushed Santos around the outside and then I wanted to do a dive bomb on Bobby to get the lead and that was actually coming to the white [flag]. I was thinking to myself, it was two to go going into [turn] three, push Santos by [McKennedy] and get by these guys. I don’t want the third, fourth, fifth place guys to have a chance to run me over, I’d rather just have Santos try to run me over. So I would have preferred to be leading, but then all of the sudden my spotter Brian [Sullivan] says ‘Stay there, you’re second, coming to the white.’ And I’m like ‘Oh crap, now I’ve got to come up with a game plan.’”

On the final lap Coby came off of turn two and Santos seemed to make an aggressive shift to block Coby’s momentum low. Coby went high down the backstretch and carried the lead into turn three, but Santos regained the lead through turn three with McKennedy following him under Coby in the low lane. Coby stayed on the outside of McKennedy coming to the checkered off of turn four with Hossfeld making a banzai run low under both of them. McKennedy in the middle lane beat Coby to the checkered for second by a car length with Coby edging Hossfeld for third by a bumper.  

“There’s all this head of steam coming behind you and they’re like desperate for action up front so they can sneak by like Chase [Dowling] did last year to win,” Coby said of the final lap. “Bobby blocked so good coming right off [turn two] that if I think about going down I think McKennedy would have turned me because I think McKennedy had a run with me and if I had tried to do a big move on Bobby I think I probably would have got wrecked. So I tried the outside and it didn’t work.” 

Another angle of the finish with Bobby Santos III (36), Jon McKennedy (7), Doug Coby (2) and Chuck Hossfeld (21) come to the checkered flag to finish the Musket 250 Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Photo: broadcast)

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  1. To think we get these great insights on a remarkable race at no cost to us. How lucky are we?
    Thankyou Mr Courchesne and Mr. Coby. I thought you ran a terrific race. Took some chances but none foolhearty, rallied from way back, smart pit stops, kept the points situation in sight and survived a couple sketchy situations with great corrections. I believe the first driver to shake the winners hand as well.
    Naysayers about this race you say. So how’d we do in RacedayCT peanut gallery? Check it out.

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