For the third consecutive time in 2015, Doug Coby took home the trophy at Thompson Speedway. However, this time around, the victory in the Budweiser King of Beers 150 didn’t come easy for the dominant car on the night.
In a rare weeknight race for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Coby led a race-high 89 laps en route to his fourth victory of the season. The wild event at the .625-mile track in northern Connecticut featured a 10-lap duel to the finish after eight cars were battling for the lead for the previous 40 markers. However, it was Coby that was able to come back to the front, gunning from fourth to first within the first three turns of the restart to take home the checkered flag ahead of Woody Pitkat. Todd Szegedy was third, while Eric Goodale and Donny Lia rounded out the top 5.
“The cautions went our way and that is probably the only reason it happened,” Coby said. “If the cautions didn’t go our way, we wouldn’t have won. We just have to keep plugging away. We’re in this for the points and we have another win on the way.”
Coby, who is the reigning Whelen Modified Tour champion, won the title with one win last year, but has won three races at Thompson and one at Monadnock. With his victory, he inches closer to championship leaders Pitkat and Ryan Preece, who are separated by one marker with Coby eight points behind Pitkat.
After receiving a penalty on a Lap 86 restart, NASCAR officials sent Coby to the rear of the field during the following caution on Lap 96. But with the green flag coming out with 49 laps remaining in the 150-lap contest, he worked his way back into the top 10 within 20 laps, and dive-bombed into Pitkat on the final restart to take the lead over Pitkat and Szegedy.
“I understand why Woody was so pissed off because the 2 just completely body-slammed him,” said Szegedy, who finished third and sits fourth in the standings. “That’s not racing to me, just driving into the side of guys. They have Cup technology in that No. 2. He doesn’t have to drive into the side of guys to go by them. I’m surprised he kept his cool and didn’t junk him by the end of the race.”
Replacing an injured Keith Rocco (broken hand), 2008 Tour champion Ted Christopher moved over from his No. 13 car to pilot the No. 22 Our Motorsports entry. Leading a season-high 27 laps, he was en route to his first victory since Oct. 2, 2011 at Stafford. However, with 25 laps remaining in the race, Pitkat got into Christopher while leading in Turn 3, causing the No. 22 car to lose control and more importantly, the lead.
“He has a weird line here where he tries to make the straightaways long as he can,” Pitkat explained. “But his entry is on the bottom and then drifts up. He pretty much takes away your line. I was underneath him and he chopped me and I spun him out. It sucks because that’s how he races. That’s his line around here and there is no really easy way to pass him besides to get a run, pull up and try to get underneath him. When he blocks the bottom, that is what is going to happen.”
Pole sitter Patrick Emerling, who won his second straight pole award, finished seventh on Wednesday night. He led six laps at Thompson, which surpasses the four laps he led in his previous 63 starts in the No. 07 car.
There were seven cautions during the race, including one brief red flag to clean up damage to Dave Salzarulo‘s No. 37 car in Turn 4.