World Beater: Doug Coby Tops The Stars In Inaugural Camping World SRX Series Event At Stafford

Doug Coby (center) celebrates with second place Greg Biffle (left) and third place Tony Stewart (right) after winning the Camping World SRX Series 100-lap feature Saturday at Stafford Speedway (Photo: Fran Lawlor/RaceDayCT)

STAFFORD – A worldly group of motorsports luminaries and legends descended on Stafford Speedway on Saturday for the first event in the history of the Camping World SXR Series. 

And when the night was over the world got to know who Doug Coby was. 

The Camping World SRX Series, the vision of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Tony Stewart and NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief Ray Evernham, brings together some of the biggest names in motorsports to compete in six short track events this year. 

Five of the six events will feature a hometown hero of sorts, in a race invited to compete based on their experience at that venue. 

Doug Coby’s stock car racing career started at Stafford Speedway when he was a teenager. The now 41-year old six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, got the nod to fill the spot of the local in the inaugural SRX Series event Saturday at Stafford. And the Milford native made the most of that invitation. 

Coby held off the charges of Greg Biffle and Stewart to win the 100-lap SRX Series event Saturday at Stafford. 

“It’s a special night for short track racing in America,” Coby said. “This is a special night for Stafford Motor Speedway and everybody who is a short track racer around the country. To have these guys here and this amazing crowd at Stafford. I really want to thank Ray Evernham and everybody at SRX and Camping World.” 

Biffle was second and Stewart third. 

“Just a big night for short tracks racers and I consider myself a kind of rise to the challenge kind of short track racer,” Coby said. “I’ve had a lot of odds stacked against me in my career. Racing against these professionals from all across the globe who are just true craftsman but true gentlemen about approaching me and including me in everything. They really wanted to know tips and tricks about the track. They didn’t want me to stink it up because they knew I was fast in practice. And then they raced the crap out of their cars like anybody would.” 

The 12-car field included former NASCAR Cup Series champions Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Bill Elliott and former Indianapolis 500 champions Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan. 

“I don’t feel the slightest bit bad for beating them,” Coby said. “I understand the fans want to see them. You hear the cheers for Bill Elliott, Tony Stewart. These are people that, I guess it hasn’t even sunk in, it’s freaking Bill Elliott. What the heck? I was focused on racing and racing with other racers. And it just so happens that one of them is the guy that won the Indy 500 two weeks ago [Castroneves], and I don’t know where the hell he finished, but it was behind me. I’ve got NASCAR Hall of Famers racing door to door with me. … It was just a fun experience.” 

Coby led 80 of 100 laps in the feature event and at times seemed to be almost toying with Biffle in second place. 

“I tried to dictate the race,” Coby said. “You don’t dictate the race from 12th place, you dictate it from first. Biffle was stalking me for a while. It was kind of a cat and mouse game. I was saving some and then he’d save some. Everything worked in our favor tonight. I got up front and saved my stuff and that’s the way I like it to go around here.” 

Coby dominated the speed charts in the first SRX practice on Friday and most of the drivers in the field quickly took notice. 

“One of my strengths is always knowing who my competitors are and none of my competitors knew this track,” Coby said. “None of my competitors had stood out here. None of them have sat in the stands and watched the Street Stocks to see how Frank L’Etoile just passed Chris Meyer for the win the other night. You’ve got to know this track to know how he pulled that off.”

Stewart said it wasn’t until he had time during the feature to get behind Coby and glean information did he get comfortable on the unique half-mile layout. 

“This isn’t the easiest track,” Stewart said. “It’s unique the way you’ve got to drive it. The best thing that happened was when he went by me and then I learned a bunch and my lap times smoothed out and I just learned a lot watching him. You’re not going to learn that on your own. You’re trying to learn a new car, a new tire and a new track. I learned the race track more following him.” 

Coby’s biggest miscue of the evening came in victory lane when he fell trying to climb the car. 

“The only thing I screwed up today was my exit and I’d do it all over again if that’s what it takes to win this race,” Coby said. 

Coby took pride in his roots as Stafford home track racers and a Whelen Modified Tour stalwart. 

“Modified drivers in the Northeast, we’re not bullshitting everybody when we say it’s tough to race at Stafford,” Coby said. “… It’s tough to run on the Modified Tour and do all the things that we do. We’re just good racers and smart people. We’ve proven time and time again on a national stage. I’m happy to log this as one more notch in the belt of Modified guys.” 

Coby dedicated the win to former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team owner Don King, who passed away last week. 

“I lost a very good friend of mine last week, Don King,” Coby said. “He was one of my best friends, gave me my first [Whelen] Modified Tour ride. I know the whole King family is watching tonight. … I did this for Don. That’s what short track racers do.” 

Doug Coby’s helmet, adorned with a decal in memory of former team owner Don King (Photo: Shawn Courchesne/RaceDayCT)

Comments

  1. What a night, it was incredible.

  2. Awesome job by Doug Coby and great work by Stafford Speedway! On the other hand, the “superstars” didn’t look too good. Will the “Balboa” drivers dominate for the next 5 weeks, too? If so, I don’t think the SRX series will be back next year.

  3. First congrats to Doug Coby for winning. Watched on TV, and I’m glad I didn’t pay to see that. Very boring overall, cars are turning lap times slower than most Stafford Late Models even though they’ve got allot more horsepower and a bigger tire. Maybe being there added something, but I was disappointed after all the hype.

  4. C’mon people, THINK.

    Kobe has done thousands of laps in a couple different classes at Stafford. He knows every inch of that track. The “superstars” did a couple dozen laps before the event. Cars are identical. Who has the advantage? This ain’t no Balboa situation. The driver that knows the track has a huge advantage.

    The Indy drivers are gonna be a blast on the dirt tracks… they have no idea what to do with a car that’s supposed to be driven in a slide.

  5. Good for Doug and brand Coby.. that’s a big deal and Stafford looked great on the big stage. Hats off to SRX for putting together a good product – not without its hiccups but they seem to have put together many of the right pieces for success, I’ll be watching.

    I’m not sure the homeboy will come out on top again.. maybe, but I think Doug had a big advantage here in the first event. Doug’s a racer and it showed.. it’s not all about the crew chief…

    Congrats to Doug and Stafford.. like Doug said, a great night for short tracks across the nation.. bravo!

  6. .. and I failed to mention, great job by Doug to dedicate the win to Don King, real nice touch. I wasn’t aware Don had passed away, he was a great guy and will be missed. RIP Don and condolences to the King family.

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