THOMPSON, Conn. – Doug Coby capped his winningest season on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with his first career championship Sunday at Thompson Int’l Speedway.
The 31-year-old driver from Milford, Conn., finished sixth in the Sunoco-Town Fair Tire World Series to claim the title by 11 points over Ryan Preece. Bobby Santos held off Preece to win the race, his second straight win on the tour to close out the season.
Coby entered the season with two wins in 116 starts but led the tour with five wins – including four in the first seven races of the year – in his second full season driving the No. 52 Reynolds Auto Wrecking/Furnace & Duct Chevrolet for car owner Wayne Darling.
After three straight finishes outside the top 10 took a chunk out of his points lead, Coby needed a finish of 13th or better to wrap up the title. He spent most of the race safely inside that zone before picking off spots in the closing laps.
Preece led a race-high 56 laps but Santos led the final 21 of the 150-lap event. It was Santos’ second World Series win, with the other coming in 2007.
Todd Szegedy finished third, followed by Eric Beers. After Coby was rookie Tommy Barrett Jr., Patrick Emerling, Keith Rocco and Woody Pitkat. Rocco earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.
Defending tour champion Ron Silk, the only other driver with a mathematical chance of catching Coby in the finale besides Preece, finished 11th. He ended up 23 points behind Coby. Two-time champion Donny Lia was fourth in points and Szegedy fifth.
Coby, by virtue of his race win earlier in the season, already earned a locked-in spot to the UNOH Battle At The Beach next February on the .4-mile oval at Daytona International Speedway. Race winners and the champions of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour have a locked-in spot to Modified race at Daytona.
Coby will be honored for his title run along with NASCAR’s other touring series champions on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards at the Grand Ballroom of the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.