By Jason Cunningham,
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In 2012 it seems that Doug Coby can do no
wrong, but for the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour points
leader, it all began with the 2010 season finale at Thompson
Coby teamed with car owner Wayne Darling in the No. 52 Reynolds Auto
Wrecking Chevrolet for the first time at the Thompson World Series
two seasons ago. Until that point, Coby’s season had consisted of
starts between three different teams in just seven of the year’s 13
races. But a third-place finish in the 2010 finale event changed
Including that first race together, Coby and Darling have posted
five wins and 18 top 10s in 24 races. Entering this Thursday’s
Budweiser King of Beers 150 at Thompson, the No. 52 team leads the
championship standings by a commanding 41 points on the strength of
four wins and six-consecutive podium finishes.
Coby has won all three races this year at Stafford Motor Speedway,
including last week’s Stafford 150, but his success in the No. 52
has not been limited to that particular Connecticut oval. The Nutmeg
State’s northeastern speedway has also been kind to Coby and
Darling. Their first victories together came in the UNOH Showdown at
Thompson last year when they won both the Whelen Modified Tour race
and the exhibition combination event with the Whelen Southern
Modified Tour. In six points races at the .625-mile speedway in the
No. 52, Coby has posted an average finish of seventh.
With three races left at Thompson in 2012, Coby and the No. 52 team
will look for continued success at “Big T” as they forge ahead in
the championship chase.
Budweiser King of Beers 150
(Conn.) International Speedway
Thursday, Aug. 9
.625-mile, high-banked asphalt oval
2:30-3:30 p.m., Qualifying 5:30 p.m., Driver Autograph Session
Dowd, 860-923-2280, email@example.com
The Race: The Budweiser King of Beers 150 will be the
first race of the second half of the 2012 NASCAR Whelen Modified
Tour schedule, and the second of four events this season at Thompson
The Procedure: The maximum
starting field is 35 cars, including provisionals. The first 30 cars
will have secured starting positions based on two-lap qualifying.
The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional
process. The race is scheduled for 150 laps (93.75 miles) and the
race tire change rule is three tires, any position.
The Track: A .625-mile
high-banked oval that opened in 1940, Thompson was the first
entirely asphalt track in the nation, and was the largest in New
England for five decades. Thompson has played host to 117 Whelen
Modified Tour races all-time, more than any other track.
Race Winners: There have been 31
different race winners at Thompson, led by Mike Stefanik’s 14
victories. Ted Christopher is the defending winner of the Budweiser
150 and his next win at the track would tie Stefanik for the
all-time lead. Ron Silk earned the victory in the tour’s first trip
to Thompson this year.
Pole Winners: There have been
40 different pole winners at Thompson, led by Tony Hirschman’s 13.
Ryan Preece was the season’s first pole winner at Thompson while
Bobby Santos set the tour’s track qualifying record at 18.237
seconds (123.376 mph) on April 10, 2011.
THOMPSON RACE NOTES
Christopher Trying to Piece Schedule Together: Needing to
piece together the final half of the 2012 Whelen Modified Tour
schedule since his former full-time team closed operations in July,
on Monday morning Ted Christopher landed a ride for the Budweiser
King of Beers 150 on Thursday at Thompson International Speedway.
Christopher will fill in for the injured Keith Rocco in the Boehler
Racing Enterprises No. 3 at Thompson, which will mark the first time
in his career that he’ll get behind the wheel of the famed “Ole
Blue.” Aside from plans to run the No. 15 of Wayne Anderson at
Riverhead Raceway on Sept. 15, the balance of the 2012 schedule has
yet to be finalized for the driver that ranks third on the NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour’s all-time wins list. He ran the No. 00 of Joe
Brady last week at Stafford Motor Speedway. Christopher’s 13 wins at
Thompson are one shy of Mike Stefanik’s Whelen Modified Tour track
record. He’s been especially formidable there in recent seasons with
victories in seven of the previous 12 events, including four in a
row in 2010-11.
Szegedy Looks to Break Thompson Slump:
Thompson has been rather unkind to Todd Szegedy in his last two
visits. In the 2011 finale, with the Whelen Modified Tour
championship on the line, Szegedy was involved in multiple incidents
and ended up crashing out two laps short of the scheduled distance.
In this year’s opener at “Big T” Szegedy was involved in a mid-race
accident and was saddled with another DNF. Szegedy had a run of 11
top 10s across a 14-race stretch at Thompson from 2007-10, but has
finished outside the top 20 in four of his last six visits there.
Thompson Success Will Be Key to Title:
Three of the final seven events on the 2012 Whelen Modified Tour
schedule will be contested at Thompson, so it goes without saying
that if teams wish to contend for the 2012 championship, success at
the .625-mile oval will be key. From 2003-10, the eventual champion
earned at least one win during the season at Thompson. Current
points leader Doug Coby has finished in the top 10 in six of his
last seven starts at Thompson – including a victory – while second
place Ryan Preece reeled off top fives five times during a six-race
stretch at “Big T” in 2010-11. Defending Whelen Modified Tour
Champion Ron Silk has also experienced plenty of success through the
years at Thompson, where half of his eight career wins have come,
including the tour’s first trip there this year.
Thompson Racing Remains the Same:
The last two Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson have averaged 14
caution periods for 65 laps. While those numbers seem excessive,
they’re not that far out of line with what has transpired over time.
Since 2000, Whelen Modified Tour races at Thompson – typically 150
laps – have averaged eight caution periods for 44 laps. In fact, the
84 laps of caution in the 2011 finale is just the third-highest
total in the last 12 seasons, and seven times during that span there
have been races with more than 60 yellow laps. While there will be
eight drivers in the field Thursday night with more than 30 career
starts at the track through the years, the fast and high banks of
Thompson provide challenges to even the most-seasoned of racers.
HOME TRACKS: Preece On A Roll At Thompson
Through competition on Aug. 2, Ryan Preece had forged a
commanding 78-point lead on Kerry Malone in the NASCAR Whelen
All-American Series Sunoco Modified standings at Thompson
International Speedway. Preece has won seven of the season’s first
13 features. Ted Christopher, who has 97 career wins at Thompson
overall, has two victories and is third in Sunoco Modified points,
118 behind Preece. Through the latest Whelen All-American Series
national points update on July 31, Christopher ranked fifth and
Preece sixth, with the now-injured Keith Rocco leading the way in
Connecticut and second nationally.
LAST TIME OUT: Stafford
The most recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race was held
at Stafford Motor Speedway on Aug. 3. Here are some highlights from
the Stafford 150:
• Doug Coby made it three-for-three at Stafford in 2012 as he led
the final 102 laps for his sixth career victory, and fourth at the
historic half mile.
• Coby joined Mike Stefanik (1997) and Ted Christopher (2002) as the
only drivers in Whelen Modified Tour history to win the first three
races of a season at Stafford, which has historically held four
events a year. No driver has pulled off a season sweep at the track.
• Ryan Preece earned his fourth pole of the season prior to the
race. It was his third career pole at Stafford.
• Jimmy Blewett finished as the race runner-up, his best result
since a second-place finish in September 2010 at New Hampshire Motor
• In seventh place, Jon McKennedy recorded his best finish in 21
• Steve Masse made his Whelen Modified Tour debut in the race and
NEXT TIME OUT: Bristol
The fourth annual combination event between the NASCAR
Whelen Modified and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours is up next
on Wednesday, Aug. 22. The Whelen Southern Modified Tour will
continue to look for a breakthrough win as each of the first three
editions have been won by Whelen Modified Tour representatives,
including Donny Lia in 2009 and Ryan Newman the past two seasons.
The UNOH Perfect Storm 150 will precede the NASCAR Camping World
Truck Series on the race card Wednesday at the “World’s Fastest Half
Mile” and will be carried live by SPEED.