DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ryan Preece dominated Monday night’s UNOH Battle At The Beach at Daytona Int’l Speedway, but it was Doug Coby who celebrated in victory lane.
Preece, who led the first 147 laps from the pole, hit the spinning lapped car of David Sapienza with eight laps remaining, giving Coby the break he needed.
The contact badly bent the left-rear wheel on Preece’s No. 16 and when the race resumed with three laps to go he couldn’t hold the bottom groove, allowing Coby to sneak from third to the lead.
Coby led the final three circuits on the temporary three-eighths-mile track located on the backstretch at the superspeedway and earned $20,000 in his first race in the No. 2 modified.
“Daytona is big for racing. It doesn’t matter what you race here to be a winner at this race track and bring it home for a brand new team in its first time out with the car,” Coby said. “I tried to be as patient as I could and tried to get spots on the restarts to put myself in a position to be there at the end. We got lucky when that caution came out. Ryan had a great car and was driving away, but this is the Battle At The Beach and there are no points.”
Jason Myers applied the chrome horn to Coby exiting the fourth turn on the final lap, but Coby held on. Myers finished second with Luke Fleming, Preece and Burt Myers rounding out the top five.
“I don’t even know what to say about it,” Preece said. “It is unfortunate. This is horrible. To win at Daytona would have meant a lot to me.”
Doug Coby, Jason Myers, Luke Fleming, Ryan Preece, Burt Myers, Tommy Barrett Jr., Cody Ware, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale, J.R. Bertuccio, Donny Lia, Patrick Emerling, Rob Fuller, David Sapienza, Justin Bonsignore, Cole Powell, Kyle Benjamin, Dalton Baldwin, A.J. Winstead, Jeremy Gerstner, Jimmy Zacharias, Jonathan Kievman, David Brigati.