Pending: Agreement Made For Sale Of Two Smeriglio Team Whelen Mod Tour Championship Cars

Mike Smeriglio Racing crew chief Phil Moran with Doug Coby’s car at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September in preparation for the Whelen Modified Tour Musket 250 (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team owner Mike Smeriglio III confirmed to RaceDayCT Sunday that he has an agreement in place to sell two of the three cars from his 2019 series championship winning team.

Though Smeriglio did say a published report Sunday from the website Speed51 stating his cars have already been purchased by the family of New York driver Tyler Rypkema was inaccurate.

Finalization of the agreement would essentially end any hope that foundations of the championship winning team with driver Doug Coby, crew chief Phil Moran and the equipment from Smeriglio’s organization would remain intact as part of a new organization under different ownership.

In a story headlined: “NWMT Championship Cars Sold to New York Race Team” published Sunday, Speed51 reported that Rypkema’s family had already bought two of Smeriglio’s cars.

The Speed51 story read: “Rypkema confirmed exclusively to Speed51 on Sunday that his family-owned team has purchased two of the Modifieds previously driven by defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby.”

Smeriglio told RaceDayCT Sunday that the Speed51 story was inaccurate in reporting his two cars as sold or purchased. Smeriglio said there is a verbal agreement in place to sell the cars, but nothing has been exchanged as of yet.

Smeriglio said he was not contacted by Brandon Paul, the author of the Speed51 article, concerning confirmation of any sale.

“There’s no deposits, they haven’t picked anything up so, there’s so many things that could happen,” Smeriglio said. “But I understand [Rypkema] is excited.”

(Editor’s Note: Monday morning the headline on the Speed51 story was revised to read: “NWMT Championship Cars Being Sold to New York Race Team”. Also, the text of the story was revised to read: “Rypkema confirmed exclusively to Speed51 on Sunday that his family-owned team will be purchasing two of the Modifieds previously driven by defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby.”)

Smeriglio said he expects payment from the Rypkema family by the end of this week.

When Smeriglio announced in November that he was retiring and selling his team just weeks after winning a fifth Whelen Modified Tour title in six years with Coby and Moran, Coby was confident a buyer could be found to purchase Smeriglio’s equipment and keep the team intact to continue Smeriglio’s legacy. 

Smeriglio said he was disappointed a deal couldn’t be found to keep everything together.

“After exercise after exercise we just had no luck in trying to get one individual to purchase [the team],” Smeriglio said.

Smeriglio also confirmed that he is selling his team’s hauler to Kevin Stuart Motorsports.  

Coby, who has five Whelen Modified Tour Tour titles with Smeriglio and also won the 2012 series title driving for owner Wayne Darling, told RaceDayCT Sunday evening that he’s focused on finding a ride for 2020. 

“I’m focused on what I’m doing for 2020 and it’s not driving the [No. 2 car],” Coby said. “It’s Mike’s deal to sell the cars.” 

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  1. The radio silence was so obvious. It seemed certain a deal to keep one of the greatest teams in modified history in tact was in play. Turns out it may have been a white elephant languishing on the market waiting for a buyer to wait until the price was low enough to snap it up.
    Say it ain’t so Doug.

  2. Hauler sold, 2 cars sold, great ride for the team however, end of story. Time to make a new star, new team with top shelf equipment.

  3. I am STUNNED that at this point in time Coby does not have a ride yet. Obviously one of if not the best drivers today. If i had to start a team I would have jumped all over this.

  4. How many times in the history of the Earth has an entire Modified race team been sold lock-stock-and-barrel to another owner and continued to operate with the same people? How many times has a Modified race team simply changed owners and kept operating as if nothing else changed? Oh yeah, and continued to be a competitive operation? Make that list.

    I admire the optimism, but did you really think the equipment was going to be sold off as a single unit and the team was going to follow with it and everyone was going to live happily ever after?

    🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤪 🤪 🤣 🤪

    It looks like many of you will believe in anything, including pixies, magic, unicorns, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairies, Speedbowl, etc. The stuff you people will believe in is just stunning. You get gut hooked over and over, and keep going back for more. Absolutely stunning.

    Let it GO! Let it GOOOOOO!!!!!

    Let’s see how well these “championship” cars do without Phil Moran.

    Coby is desperate to stay with Moran. Coby would be ecstatic to drive a Red Wagon if Moran tuned it.

    🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣 🤣

    There are and have been plenty of previously championship cars that were not championship caliber after they were sold off and run by other talent. Chassis frames get far too much credit than they deserve.

    When are you people going see that the top performance comes from the Crew Chiefs? Follow the Crew Chiefs.

    Crew Chiefs don’t get the respect or credit they deserve.

    Anybody put in bids for Phil Moran?

  5. I’m surprised no one rushed to immediately buy all the equipment for 5x Super Doug.

  6. Maybe he can run the LFR house car until something else comes along!

  7. Tyler who?? Never heard of him. Gotta once again agree with Dareal ( that hurt). If anyone thought the team would be sold as a unit, and go on with just a different owner, you were dreaming. If anyone thinks the cars will perform the same, again dreaming. Teams are only as good as the people on them, period. I’ve seen allot of teams purchase the best equipment yet continue to under perform. As for Doug and Phil, hopefully they both find what they’re looking for. Best of luck to all. Just my opinion.

  8. Should be a lot of interesting stories over the next five weeks. My bet is Phil finds a gig before Doug. Just my opinion.

  9. The goal was to keep the team together is some fashion back in November. I don’t think it meant every person, car, piece of equipment, nut and bolt so much as fashioning some team around the team that was. After all Coby did have and as far as I know still has the support of Mayhew Tools. Was a reincarnation in some fashion with key elements so unlikely ?
    Doug Coby 11/23
    “We are just trying to line something up and make the right decisions because there are just so many moving pieces,” Coby said. “From me as the driver, the sponsors, Phil as a full time crew chief and then trying to keep as many guys together as we can. And that is the thing that I am most nervous about – being able to keep everybody together as long as we possibly can. We are just trying to find the right situation and hopefully it is out there. If it meant to be, it is meant to be.”
    It was in play for sure. They tried, they really tried to keep a nucleus together.
    It’s one thing to predict it after the fact Rob P but what was your thinking in November?
    “How much to retain Phil Moran, and Doug. What we do know is that based on some reports posted here in the past it won’t be cheap. Don’t know if MS3 will part out the team, which reportedly consists of 3 cars, 5 motors, Aton of spare parts, tools and the hauler, or if he wants to sell it whole. Are the other team members paid as part time help, or are they volunteer? I do believe in the end Doug and Phil will find a way to stay together, but wonder if they’ll have to rebuild the team. Wish everyone the best of luck, and hope for a fast resolution to this dilemma.”
    Seems to me Rob p you done good. Maybe not as sure of it as you are now but you did nail the fact there were a lot of moving parts. Do you still think Doug and Phil will stay together in some other effort in the not too distant future?
    Isn’t the big story now Coby with no ride and we’re right on the doorstep of the new season? How much of the magic success sprinkles did Coby bring to the 2 team and can he bring the same magic to another team. Was he just a decent driver lucky to be on an exceptional team or is he a charismatic force that makes any team better and will have success if not 2 like success in the future?
    Betcha he still has some magic sprinkles left.

  10. Goggles Paisano says

    Spot on Moran gets a gig before Coby. After all, Phil actually knows which carburetors are the good ones!

  11. With Phil Moran, this was his job, he was a full-time paid employee. Very few teams have that luxury. What team can afford a Moran? Unless he is going to retire, he needs a job. The full-time staff guys like Moran are the unicorns 🦄. What team can afford a full-time crew chief? Make a list of those teams… It’s a real short list. And those teams already have their favorite crew chief.

    🤣🦄🤣🦄🤪🦄🤪🦄🤪🦄🤣🦄🤣🦄🤪🦄🤪🦄🤪 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄 🦄

    Phil knows where the flux capacitors are.

  12. Not for nothing but Doug has proven many times that he can win without Moran behind the wall. Granted times have changed and I’m sure Doug has a vast memory bank of everything they did to be a championship team. You can have the crew chief of a lifetime but if the driver isn’t there, neither will be the wins.

  13. lightsout, the statistics for 5x super Doug are effectively two groups: With and without Phil Moran.

    From 2002 to 2010, 5x Super Doug had one win with the Curt Chase car. Drove most of three or so seasons for Chase and Don King, otherwise was a journey man. Only two complete seasons in this span. The one win he had with Chase was bizarre. I was there for that race and that car was insane. Can’t believe the race was legit, that car was fast and went anywhere, did anything. Thought for sure it would never make it through tech. But the rest of the season sucked. Best season of the ’02 to ’10 span was with Chase, a 7P.

    From 2011 to 2013, 5x Super Doug had 8 wins, with the Wayne Darling operation. That operation had pretty good talent.

    From 2014 to 2019, 5x Super Doug had 19 wins with the MSR III operation and Phil Moran.

    When MSR III bought the Don Barker operation, most of Wayne Darling’s crew left and went to the MSR III operation. Phil Moran was with the Don Barker operation, Crew Chief for Todd Szegedy. That was the demise of the Wayne Darling team.

    If you think 5x Super Doug has a vast knowledge of setups and whatnot to make a car fast, think again. 5x Super Doug is a helmet bagger, that is all. Very few drivers were effectively Crew Chiefs, like TC was. You can be sure that DC is no TC. In no way will or can 5x Super Doug function as his own crew chief.

    A truly super Crew Chief such as Phil Moran can perform miracles and make a driver look far better than he really is. The same way lots of horsepower can make a bad chassis look good. A great chassis can not make deficient horsepower look good.

    Hey, here’s a great idea… Fuller, make sure you are paying attention… run the all-important LFR R&D car and you can have 5x Super Doug the Driver. Then you can sell the cars off because 5x Super Doug ran them. Great marketing. This would be great… Fuller as Crew Chief and 5x Super Doug the Driver. What could go wrong? 🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞

    🤣 🤪 🤪 🤪 🤪 😜

  14. It goes beyond just the crew chief and driver. It takes a TEAM to field any competitive race car, regardless of the division. Everything must click to be successful. You can have the best of the best, but if your TEAM sucks you won’t have success. Just my opinion.

  15. Good Dope fella first off it’s 6x Doug second if you were at the race the time 6x Doug won you must of missed Donnie Lia tracking down the cheating 77 and all most passing it with 3 to go So Lia must have been cheating to go run stupid fairy tales to yourself.

  16. Racer, I don’t care, it could be 10x, Colby will never have the respect and admiration as of the likes of Stefanik, Richie Evans, Jarzombek, Spencer, Baldwin, Tony Hirschman, Santos, The Reg, Jerry Marquis, etc. Never.

  17. Doug Coby is focused on what he is doing for 2020. What exactly is he doing for 2020? I think that is the question everyone is curious about. Unless I missed it, I haven’t heard anything announced yet. Does Timmy Solomito have a ride for next season? Didn’t the 16 close up shop end of last season? It would be a shame to see both championship caliber drivers not running the tour next season.

    Looks like its going to be a Bonsignore year on the Whelen Tour. Maybe Silk, Lutz or Emerling can give him a run for the title. Ole Blue 3 and Swanson looks pretty racey at times. Any chance Santos or Nocella run full time next season. Perhaps its still a little early but I need an article on who is running the tour this year. Just over a month until South Boston. Race season is coming.

  18. Different times. Doug Coby is a 6X NWMT champion. He deserves the respect that comes with that. I’m not a Coby fan, for the past couple of years I was an “anybody but Coby” fan. The guy paid his dues, won 6 championships. He deserves respect. Yes the 2 Team was a powerhouse team, Doug was lucky to be the driver on that Team. Yes Phil Moran will most likely be referred to as the best Crew Chief, again deserved. And yes they had the best of the best for equipment. All that didn’t make all the hard work any easier. All that didn’t make the season, or races any shorter. Doug worked very hard to earn every one of those championships, and as a “never Coby” fan, he definitely has my respect. I hope Doug finds a ride for 2020 so he can defend his championship, maybe win another, but he’s got my respect as well as that of allot of other fans, and racers alike, who may not like him, but respect him. Just my opinion.

  19. csg, are you seeing that there are plenty of drivers available, and not that many cars?

    About 15 years ago, Mike Stefanik said in an interview that modified racing as we know it is threatened by a lack of car owners.

  20. Just look at things now. Last season the tour lost 2 prominent car owners, Mike Smeriglio, and Eric Sanderson, leaving 2 drivers without full time rides. The 16 team was purchased intact, and will run part time with Ronnie Williams out of the Skowyra stable and It’s rumored that Timmy Solomito will run his own car, although not sure if it will be full time. The Smeriglio equipment is being split up and going to various teams, but Coby is still without a ride. It’s unclear if the 44 team will run at all leaving Santos out in the cold. So yes right now we have a net loss of 2 full time teams. When you consider that in reality there were only about 10 or so ” top tier” teams, and now down to 8, things look bleek for the NWMT. But modified racing in general seems to be growing, and healthy. After all there is more to modified racing then the NWMT.

  21. Rob P.,
    The Tinio team did not run last year. And Santos will run a part-time schedule for Dave Sapienza Racing in 2020.

  22. Dadope now that you’ve told us what Coby can’t do without Moran how about informing us what Moran has done with out Coby , maybe what other types of cars he’s won with , late models , midgets etc. Not a Coby fan either , but not wearing blinders either

  23. January 19 Facebook Solomito said he is running a part time schedule in his new LFR pending sponsorship. See Facebook for list of races.
    Is Phil Moran the only guy responsible for Coby’s success in winning those six championships. Doesn’t look like it.
    It’s not hard to imagine both Coby and Moran have talked to people and had offers. It’s also not hard to imagine that they weren’t with teams that could be contenders on a regular basis. So no announcements.
    Moran needs to make money. Is it possible for a wizard of modified setups to make a buck consulting with teams? Stash Butova does that doesn’t he? The inn is full as far as high profile, high dollar teams go so what’s one of the best to do? Do it for fun?
    Thank you CSG for being forward looking. I too am concerned the 51 will be the one car capable of winning any race whereas the others you mention capable of winning some races but only the one car in the elite category now. Maybe the 85 to challenge?
    Is it bleak? I’m not seeing that. If the equipment had sat dormant with no market to sell it to that would be bleak. If the deal is consummated the equipment will be a part of a new full time entrant in the NWMT. One that is no wide eyed novice without a clue and just happy to be there. They are a serious team with a record of accomplishment the latest of which being the second at New Smyrna.
    Yup there he is, still there. Doug Coby 6 championships and no one can take that away. I see no way it can be as good again for him in terms of resources but we’ll see.
    I’ll be watching Dowling. I think he is more then a driver. A driver that can interpret what the car needs but also suggest ways to make it better and maybe do some of the work himself if he had to.
    This is a banner year that any person with at least 5 Mbps of download speed and $20 can see every race on the NWMT. A year when an entirely new revenue stream his opening up for modifieds with more people across the country able to view them. That’s the opposite of bleak.

  24. Moran was the Crew Chief with Szegedy when he won the Championship.

  25. Thanks for the information Shawn. Keep up the great work 👍👍

  26. With the 2 team no longer, the 51 would seem to be a sure bet for the championship, but there are some strong teams out there, and allot of new equipment. I’d say it’s a toss up, and anyone’s to win at this point.

  27. Here’s a nugget fo you. What if in a perfect world Phil Moran decides to help out Mellisa Field? I believe if she gets a good car under her she will do something with it. Chew on that. One step further. What if the 01 team purchased the remaining 2 inventory, with Phil tuning? I see the smoke coming out of Dareals ears LoL. It could happen. Just my opinion. Best of luck to ALl the NWMT teams. May the best man or woman win

  28. Missy can have any equipment she wants, any Crew Chief, and she’ll still be the Red Lantern. She’s already been through every chassis out there. Some well known driver took one of her cars out for a shakedown (Stafford I believe) and did well over a second better than Missy. It ain’t the hardware. She drives as if they are trying to get three or four races out of a set of tires.

  29. Just when I was almost convinced it was 90 percent crew chief and 10 percent driver , Dadope changes again

  30. Coby could drive Wade Cole’s car in 2020 lead every lap and win every race In 2020 and dareal would not give Coby any credit

  31. Not defending Dareal, especially his comments about Coby (and I’m not a Coby fan). I’ve found that Dareal serves a purpose, he makes me laugh, and sometimes even says things I can agree with. That’s the beauty of it all, Shawn provides us with this forum to state our opinion (thanks Shawn). If you don’t like Dareals, or anyone’s comments, just scroll past them. It works for me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Just my opinion.

  32. Rob p., with any luck, you’ll be agreeing with me more often. Lots more often.

  33. Coby on a Stafford Speedway Podcast being released today. Now we shall know from the horses mouth where he stands for this season as well as some other juicy nuggets regarding the band break up and his former crew chief if we’re lucky. Should be interesting. Coby is not one to hide his light under a bushel.

  34. We’ll see Dareal. Although I disagree on some stuff, there is some common ground we share. That’s the beauty of this forum, many people sharing many views. One thing I think we all share is the love of racing.
    Safety is a somewhat touchie subject. How do you keep the drivers safe, while still allowing them to go fast. The super speedway debate has gone on for years now, and will most likely continue for many more. It’s a delicate balance of speed vs stability. Drivers are paid to go fast,even though some situations they are put in are dangerous, it’s their job. I don’t think you’ll ever hear an active driver say we need to slow the cars down, that doesn’t mean the sanctioning body can’t slow them down. But they won’t. Why? Ratings, plain and simple, fast on the edge racing makes for better ratings. Sad, very sad. Just my opinion.

  35. Technology won’t fix this problem.

    Superspeedways are superspeedways. Speeds are supposed are higher, that’s why the track was designed that way.

    The drivers are their own problem. The contact has to stop. 🛑 That they are allowed to do it is enabling. Like bad parenting, really bad parenting.

    “Have at it” is a total failure.

    ESPECIALLY on the super speedways.

    The rear ends of these cars are incredibly aero-light, the lightest touch can send a car loose. They know it and take advantage of it.

    It’s CRAZY to use 3,300 pound cars as battering rams at 200 MPH.

    Racing should not be a full contact sport.

  36. Oops too many threads open. Back to modifieds. Doug mentioned a podcast, it’ll be interesting what Doug Coby reveals. Someone else brought up that maybe he could drive an LFR house car. Great idea, who else but a 6X champ might be able to help shake down new designs both LFR and Triyer. Who would crew chief though? I think if Rob Fuller wanted to field a house car that all the elements would be in place by now. If anything I could see him Fielding a Late Model team to get that new car out of the box. Fuller doesn’t need a house modified his chassis make up a vast majority of the Tour field, and I’m sure he solicits feedback from all of them to make his products better. The show street outlaws had a saying ” if you race long enough you’ll find where you belong” Maybe this is where Doug belongs, seeking a new ride. I think it’ll be tough for him and Phil to stay together, unless they pool their resources and do their own thing. Just my opinion.

  37. Rob P, I don’t care what crew chief helps the 01, the net result is nothing from nothing still equals nothing.

  38. Rob p., Missy can run a big block with dual four barrel carbs a regular built with a 950 CFM, Phil Moran as Crew Chief, the best flux capacitors, and all that will happen is she’ll have to change her panties more often.

  39. WOW

  40. Yeah WOW. And Dareal maybe she’s a boxer briefs woman. All joking aside, She shows up at the track, gives it her best, and probably is content with the results. But I believe if she had a car she felt comfortable and confident with she’d have better results. Plus I’d be willing to bet, that she’s faster then you’d be in that same car. Allot faster. It may look easy on TV or from the grandstands, but I guarantee you, driving a modified is anything but easy, especially if your not comfortable or confident with the car. Just my opinion

  41. Liz Cherokee says

    Easy there darealmisogynist! Melissa is ready to run in 2020 and I hope she has her best season ever!

  42. Liz Cherokee says

    Easy there again darealmisogynist! What you bloviate here is not appropriate. If I gave you a barstool at an Avon convention with the biggest flux capacitor and Phil Moran as your swing man, you need direct injection, fresh jockey shorts, and the Richard Petty driving school to make a single lap around the track!
    Please be nice; it’s not even March yet… Get me a Harvey Wallbanger please!

  43. . “A lot of people don’t know this….well people know that my father raced modifieds here at Stafford and also Riverside Park back, I don’t know when it really started, I’m going to say the early 70’s, mid 70’s. He just did it with his buddies for fun, they didn’t know anything about set ups, they never really ran good, he told me they didn’t even know what stagger was when they ran their car so they were probably just a bunch of misfits and car guys”.
    I know Coby loves his dad but that was the most he had to say about the guy that essentially made his career possible while very likely encouraging him to get a college education as well. Mike Smeriglio barely a mention and Phil Moran only a little more but with no indication he was anything exceptional. Mayhew Tools……….nothing.
    After 90 minutes I was almost convinced the sun revolves around Doug Coby. If he can find a team that can house his single biggest resource that is his self confidence they better have a good supply of oxygen because he tends to suck most of it up.

  44. If after all these years and different cars a driver is still not comfortable, it’s time to get a new hobby.

    Liz, how would you measure “her best season ever”?

  45. I guess if you define a lot faster as qualifying a WMT car at Thompson turning SK modified times rather than SKL modified times. You just keep on dreaming Rob P.

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