Eye Opener: Doug Coby Hoping SRX Series Win Can Mean Victories Aplenty For Short Track Racing

Doug Coby is interviewed on CBS following his victory last week in the Camping World SRX Series event at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

On Saturday the Camping World SRX Series will return to action on dirt at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa. 

Multi-time Knoxville Raceway champion Brian Brown will be in competition with the series representing the “local driver” in the field. 

One might think Brown would be feeling some added pressure since this past Saturday when six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby beat the amassed stars and won the first SRX Series event at Stafford. 

The reality is, Coby already was putting the pressure on Brown all the way back to April 19 when they first met at a CBS production day in preparation for the SRX Series launch. The event also included former Whelen Modified Tour champion Bobby Santos III, who will compete in the SRX Series event on July 3 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind. and Kody Swanson, who will race in the SRX event on June 26 at Eldora Speedway on Rossburg, Ohio. 

“The pressure has been on me since I met Doug [Coby] at the CBS production day,” Brown said. “To us three other [local drivers] he said ‘Hey, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m winning round one so don’t worry about that.’ That was his exact words and I was like ‘Man, who is this guy?’ And then he backed it up. I guess it’s not cocky if you can back it up. How awesome for Doug to be able to do that?” 

Coby has been riding the high of his win since Saturday while also hoping the publicity generated will bear results globally across motorsports for short track racers and short track racing in general. 

Coby has been receiving accolades from across the racing world since the win. 

“Some of the guys I raced with called me,” Coby said. “Willy T. [Ribbs] left me a voicemail [Tuesday]. Paul [Tracy] and Marco [Andretti] reached out on Instagram in private messages. That’s awesome because they don’t have to do that. Everybody has been asking me about the drivers. They were all amazing. They cared about Stafford Speedway and the SK [Modifieds] and the Tour Type Modifieds that were racing there Friday night. … They were genuinely interested in the local racing that they were partaking in. 

“To have a guy like Mark Martin post congratulations for winning [on Twitter], they know how important it is for a guy like me to get that kind of respect and have people talking about it and tagging me. It’s stuff that I never in million years would have happened.” 

At 41 years old, Coby doesn’t expect his SRX victory to open any doors to him rising to the upper levels of NASCAR. He does hope though that it proves to be a victory that helps decision makers in the sport take a deeper look at short track racers. 

“This is a huge deal,” Coby said. “I always get questions my whole career, ‘Could you do it? Could you run a [NASCAR Cup Series] car? An Xfinity [Series] car? Could you do something like that or would you be good?’ And it’s hard to say because you just never have the opportunity. And at least now I can say ‘Well I beat those guys at Stafford.’ 

“Maybe it opens people’s eyes around the industry to make different decisions on who they choose to hire for some of their rides that are open. I’m not just talking about NASCAR, this goes to all of motorsports. Sometimes you have to look in undiscovered places to find some really good things. I’m super excited that the Modifieds, our brand of Modified racing in the Northeast, the Tour Type Modifieds and the SK Modifieds that run weekly at Stafford, that we’re getting people to talk about us. If 100 people who were at Stafford last Saturday show up for the next [Whelen Modified] Tour race, then that’s a win for me. 

“It’s all about exposure and it’s all about keeping the discussions going through all of motorsports that there are just some really smart people out there, good people. And I’m not only talking about drivers, I’m talking about spotters that work with us, crew chiefs, tire carriers, tire changers. They’re out there. It’s an unlimited pool of talent as far as I’m concerned. I’m overly excited about the spotlight on short tracks.” 

Coby took the opportunity over the weekend to preach the gospel of Modified racing to the drivers on hand he was racing against. 

“I did have conversations with both Tony [Stewart] and Greg [Biffle] about how great it would be to get either of them in a car,” Coby said. “Truthfully, a series like the [Whelen] Modified Tour needs those guys. We will get extra fans and extra viewers when we have them come race.” 

Former NASCAR Cup Series champion and SRX Series driver Bobby Labonte has been driving a Tour Type Modified on the Southern Modified Auto Racing Tour this year. 

“I talked to Bobby [Labonte] at length about starting his career after a career in the Modifieds,” Coby said. “He said ‘I wish I knew about these things earlier because they’re damn cool drive.’ I said ‘We all tried to tell you guys that if you’re asphalt racing and you’re not running a Tour Type Modified you’re missing out.’ … When it comes to asphalt racing the Modifieds are king. The people in the Northeast have realized that for decades.

“I told him I’d do whatever I could to tell him come race a [Whelen Modified] Tour race at Stafford or [New Hampshire Motor Speedway] or wherever they want to go. They’ve just got call me and my crew chief up and we’ll happily give them a base setup and help them get going because it’s really important when there’s somebody like that racing who has a fan following and a draw to come race with us.”

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing