(Stafford Springs, CT)—When the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour was last at Stafford Speedway in April for the NAPA Spring Sizzler®, the weekend was dominated by Doug Coby and the #2 Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair team. The Mike Smeriglio owned team backed up a Saturday pole run with a dominating Sizzler victory, leading 193 of 200 laps on Sunday. When the Tour returns to Stafford on June 3rd for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125, Coby is hoping to have a car that as good as the the Sizzler® car.
“The Sizzler® was comparable to some of the best cars I’ve ever had,” said Coby. “There’s been a couple of races at Stafford, even when I was driving the 52 car that have been that good but it’s rare. I don’t know if the car would have come from like 15th to win the Sizzler®, but it was really good to be out front. We don’t necessarily show up with the fastest car right out of the box. I think we were like fourth and seventh in the two Sizzler® practices. We worked at the car all day and when the car is a little off, I have enough laps at Stafford to know exactly what I want in each corner at Stafford and we tweak on the car. The only worry is if we end up making the car slower with some of our adjustments. We’ll take things one step at a time depending on how our practice session goes.”
Whether Coby and the #2 team can replicate the dominance they displayed during the NAPA Spring Sizzler® is yet to be determined, but the car that the team will be bringing to Stafford has an impeccable pedigree.
“The car we’ll be bringing to Stafford has only raced Loudon and the Fall Final last year and the Sizzler® this year, so it has a pretty good track record with 3 poles and 3 wins,” said Coby. “This will be the first time we’ve raced this car at night, so it’ll be interesting because we don’t necessarily know what the car will want for a night race. I think the car will be fast and if we can qualify in the top-4 that will be a good start for the shorter 125-lap race.”
Coby and the #2 team have won the pole and the race for the last 2 NWMT races at Stafford and 3 of the last 5. While they’ve been the team to beat in qualifying at Stafford, Coby says that a combination of things need to happen in order to have a fast lap during qualifying and that the one hour of practice that the NWMT teams will have for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 will go a long ways towards determining if the #2 car will once again be a pole candidate.
“A lot of qualifying on the pole has to do with where you go out in the order and then how much do you screw up one of your laps,” said Coby. “We always joke with each other after qualifying that we screw up one of our two laps just about every time. It’s hard to put together two perfect laps and sometimes the car will not do the right thing on the first lap and you overdrive the second lap and you go slower. The list can go on and on. I just have to give good feedback to the guys and let them know what the car wants for that day. I think we’ll be close and hopefully we can either be on pole again or be close because that makes things easier during the race that you can set a pace out front.”
A major difference for teams will be the race distance coming from 200 laps down to 125 laps. With 75 fewer laps for the race distance, Coby says that the strategy options for this race can go several different ways and that each option could be a winning option.
“I think this race is one where someone might be able to pit and come through the field, or depending on how things fall, you might see no one on pit road during the race,” said Coby. “This race is a huge strategy change from the Sizzler® coming from a pitting standpoint. We won’t need to pit for fuel. If the car isn’t handling, you’re going to pit and make some changes but I kind of like my option of not pitting the best.”
The June 3rd TSI Harley-Davidson 125 will be the second of four Whelen Modified Tour events to be held at Stafford during the 2016 season. The NWMT returns to Stafford August 5th for the Stafford 150 and then October 1-2 for the NAPA Fall Final. Tickets for all three NWMT events are available and on sale now. Tickets for the June 3 TSI Harley-Davidson 125 are priced at $33.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult. Reserved seating is $35.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.