(Stafford Springs, CT)—When it comes to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Stafford Speedway, Doug Coby and the #2 Dunleavy’s Truck & Trailer Repair team have proven they are the team to beat over the past several seasons. Since 2012, Coby and the #2 team have won 8 of the 19 NWMT races at Stafford and they have also collected 4 pole positions at Stafford in that time frame. Coby won the NAPA Spring Sizzler in April and the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 in June at Stafford and appeared to be heading to a dominating victory in the August Stafford 150 before his car ran out of fuel with 6 laps to go. This background has Coby feeling confident ahead of this weekend’s, October 8 & 9, NAPA Fall Final feature as he enters the race as the NWMT points leader by a 13 point margin over Justin Bonsignore with only 2 races left to determine the 2016 champion.
“Ultimately it’s going to be business as usual for us because there’s been some things happen to us that we just can’t control,” said Coby. “We should have won the last race at Stafford but we had a slight miscalculation on the fuel load and we ran out of gas. We’ve been really strong at Stafford the past few races but obviously there’s no given about anything and we’re approaching it like any other race. I’m pretty confident we’ll have a car that will contend for the win but there are a handful of other teams that have stepped up their game. The ideal thing would be for the other teams to step their games up to get by Justin but not catch us. We’re confident in the things we can control and hopeful for the things that we can’t control.”
Coby has been in the thick of the NWMT title chase for the past four seasons, winning the championship in 2012, 2014, and 2015. His championship effort last season was the result of taking pole positon and the checkered flag in each of the final 3 NWMT races. Coby’s chief rival Justin Bonsignore won the most recent NWMT race at Loudon and his only finish outside the top-3 in the last 7 races was the Bristol race where a crash left him in 22nd place. Coby knows that Bonsignore could be in the midst of pulling off the identical feat of winning the last 3 races but he would prefer to be right where he is at the top of the standings rather than chasing like Bonsignore is.
“Obviously last season we were able to make up some points in the last couple of races but I would certainly rather be the leader,” said Coby. “Having a good car at Stafford the last couple years makes us feel pretty comfortable but Justin’s team have really stepped up the last 8 races and they haven’t been outside of the top-3. Any time we run good they’re right there with us and when they win we’re right there a few spots behind them. Crazier things have happened so we’re looking at our lead as just a small margin.”
With only 13 points between himself and Bonsignore, bonus points will be all important to either driver and that means a good qualifying effort to start up front will be an easier task to get to the front and lead a lap for a bonus point.
“Bonus points are huge at this point,” said Coby. “All year you plan on trying to get them when you can and it’s always nice to get another point or two but right now you have to get them. We’re both in the same boat where we need to get as many bonus points as we can. Just one lap led can be a big difference and I think we’re both going to be trying as hard as we can to get up front and get a bonus point.”
Despite Coby’s track record at Stafford, he knows anything can happen in racing and there is always the strategy game that can be played to help another driver gain some all important track position as well as the specter of running out of fuel in the last Stafford race hanging over their heads.
“I feel more comfortable being in the lead rather than following,” said Coby. “If the caution flag comes out around between lap 50 and 80, we like to be the ones to bring everyone else down pit road. It all depends when the caution falls because some guys might play the strategy game and pit early and then wait for everyone else to pit. It’s really tough to say but it’s exciting when it happens because we know it’s a make it or break it situation. It’s going to be on me to save as much fuel as we can during the race and I think all the other teams are aware that [Bobby Santos] and myself ran out of gas in the last race. We have to be smart about it because we’re certainly not going to be making 2 pit stops and losing our track position. It’s not going to change how we approach the race but you have to make sure you have enough gas to get to the finish and we’re going to do our best to make that happen.”
The 2016 NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend gets underway on Saturday, October 8th with practice sessions for Stafford’s Whelen All-American Series divisions, Legend Cars, TQ Midgets, Mr. Rooter Truck Series, and the Whelen Modified Tour. Action continues with Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Whelen Modified Tour cars, along with heat races for all divisions except for the Legend Cars. Feature events for the SK Light, Limited Late Model, DARE Stock, TQ Midgets, and Mr. Rooter Truck Series divisions will wrap up Saturday’s on track activities. The NAPA Fall Final continues on Sunday, October 9th with the NAPA Auto Parts Pit Party from 11am-12noon followed by feature events for Stafford’s SK Modifieds®, Late Models, Whelen Modified Tour, and Legend Cars.
Tickets for the NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final Weekend are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office. Tickets are priced at $38.50 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 will be priced at $42.00 for all ages. All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax. Visit your local participating NAPA Auto Parts Store for discount tickets.
For more information on the 44th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Fall Final, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.