Five-Time NASCAR Whelen Modified Champion Doug Coby Expects Speed, Excitement For South Boston Race
Doug Coby rolled into South Boston Speedway for the first time a week ago unsure what to expect.
After a day-long test session, Coby had a grin on his face and a good feeling about the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150 at South Boston Speedway on March 30.
“We’re excited. We tested there last week. It’s going to be awesome,” Coby said of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour’s return to South Boston after 18 years’ absence. The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour ran 11 races at South Boston from 2009 to 2016.
“My first reaction was how nice the place is kept. From the way that place is kept up, I’m ranking it in the top three of any track I’ve ever been to and I’ve been to a lot.
“My reaction to how it drives … it’s made for Modifieds as far as I’m concerned. I think the locals are going to be very surprised at how quickly these guys learn and how quick we’ll get around that place.”
And Coby knows a bit about the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, which runs the bulk of its races in New England states.
He is a five-time Whelen Modified Tour champion, winning four straight titles from 2014-2017. He’s amassed 25 tour victories in his 17-year career and in 2016 won an amazing nine pole awards.
His most recent pole and race win came last Saturday at Myrtle Beach Speedway, the first of only two southern stops on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this year. The victory wasn’t as easy as it sounds, though. Despite winning the pole, he had to start at the rear of the field after his team found a screw in a tire just before the race and made an unapproved tire change. He fought his way back through the field and took the lead for good on lap 122.
“It all worked out in the end, I’ll put it that way,” Colby said of the Myrtle Beach win. “We had a really good car and we made the right changes. That’s what led to the win.”
Coby said he knew the South Boston racing surface had been repaved a couple of years ago, but he was surprised at its smoothness and consistency during his recent test.
“There’s not a track we race on up north that can compare to South Boston. There are lots of little pieces of tracks that compare, but nothing just like it,” said Coby. “I think the pavement makes a big difference. With the smoothness of the new pavement and the grip to match … and the corners are wide and smooth. Most of our tracks have lots of bumps and character.”
Coby said fans need to expect more speed than they see in weekly shows. Peyton Sellers set a Late Model track record last Saturday afternoon, winning the pole with a time of 14.676 seconds around the .4-mile oval. Coby said during last week’s test session at South Boston cars were consistently in the low 14-second range and the 14-second mark was eclipsed several times.
“It’s all about the corner speed,” said Coby. “We are lighter with lighter tires. The south is so focused on Late Models, having a different type of racing, a different type of car ripping around there is going to be fun.”
Coby said South Boston is a perfect fit for his driving style.
“I love short tracks with grip. I tend to struggle on tracks that don’t have grip,” said Coby. “It suits my driving style as good as any could. But at the same time, I think it’s going to suit anybody’s driving style.
“I’m excited. I think it’s a great fit for me personally and a great fit for the tour.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150 on Saturday afternoon, March 30, will feature the 150-lap Modified race and a pair of 75-lap Late Model Stock races.
Advance adult general admission tickets are $10 each and will be available until 5 p.m. on Friday March 29 by stopping in South Boston Speedway’s office or calling 877.440.1540. Adult general admission tickets on race day will be $15. Children 12-and-under will be admitted free with a paying adult.
Grandstands open at 11:30 a.m. on March 30 with an autograph session at 1 p.m. and the first race of the day starting at 2 p.m.
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