“I can’t describe how much I’ve learned from Curt,” said Coby.  “He wants to win really badly and he’ll probably joke with me when we don’t win, but I also know that he appreciates having the car in one piece.  That’s most important and goal number one because it costs a lot to fix it.”

The same goes for the rest of the #77 team.
Union With #77 Team Has Paid Big Dividends So Far
Based on the steps that he took on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour last season, there might not be anyone who is happier to see the 2006 season kick off this coming weekend with The Icebreaker at Thompson International Speedway than Doug Coby.
was 12th.  In 2005, we had six top-five finishes, which is more top-tens than I had in my whole career before then.  We finished seventh in points with a car that could have won probably three or four races.  I know that every team has the races that they could have won, but not every team will be as dominant as we were at certain points.  That’s cool.”

Coby knows that a victory might be just around the corner.

“You’ve got to play the game every week and you hope that you bring something that’s capable of winning and we do that,” said Coby.  “I think that we are capable of winning, it just hasn’t gone our way yet.  But one of these days it will.”

When that does happen, Coby expects to feel quite a sense of accomplishment.  Wins on the Modified Tour are rare and beating career Mod pilots like Ted Christopher, Tony Hirschman and Jerry Marquis is not something that happens overnight.
In 2005, Coby followed in the footsteps of names like Steve Park, Rick Fuller, Jan Leaty, Mike Christopher, Mike Ewanitsko and John Blewett, III by belting into the #77 car of Curt Chase.  The young Connecticut driver started with top-ten finishes, then top-fives, leading laps and even dominating races.  He was shut out after what looked like sure victories at Stafford and Thompson.

But Coby wasn’t bitter about lost opportunities.  He was just glad to be there.

“People have asked if it’s disappointing that I haven’t won yet,” said Coby.  “But I look at it like this.  Prior to last year, I had zero top fives and my best finish in the points
“It’s a very, very difficult series and it’s not easy to go out there and win,” said Coby.  “Everyone in the series know that.  Having to work so hard to get that first win makes it even more special when it comes.  Seeing guys show up and win in some series is different.  You see guys show up for an ARCA race with Cup backing and go win their first race in their first or second start.  That’s great, but if I showed up with a Supermodified on the Modified Tour, I’d win too.”

Aligning himself with Curt Chase might be a key that gets Coby to victory lane just a little bit quicker, though.
Doug races with the #3 of Eric Beers last season.  (Howie Hodge Photo)
Doug Coby and his #77 ride. 
Doug shows his lighter side when taking photos of his #77 car.  (51 Photo)
“We’re definitely looking for a sponsor,” said Coby.  “That is what’s hurting us the most right now.  The team is happy with me and I’m happy with them.  But it costs a whole lot to run this series.  If we could just find somebody who wanted to kick in some money for each race, that would be good.  We’re not looking for one of these sponsors that is amazing and gives us $200,000 for the season.  We’re just looking for someone to give us $1,000 a race so that we can buy tires.  This is a family-run deal that isn’t a family with a giant budget to go racing each year.  They are working people and racing people who work to race and race to work.”
“It’s really fun to work with these guys,” said Coby.  “They put a lot of work in and it shows when we come to a track, get two practices in and that’s just to find out how fast we are.  The car is good enough.  We know that we have a decent car and a good motor and it’s all about making sure that is working.”

During the week, Coby works a 9-5 job in an office.  He doesn’t bring a fat bankroll to the Chase team.  He does not have a sugar daddy behind the scenes either.  The Chase team has been able to substitute brainpower and hard work for an endless budget, but Coby is also aware of the realities of the sport.  To get to the level that the team is ultimately capable of, there needs to be some kid of extra financial boost.
Coby credits the #77 Curt Chase team for their 2005 success.  (Hodge Photo)
But even without that extra push, Coby and the #77 bunch are favored to win on the Modified Tour and win soon.  Doing it as a bit of an underdog will only make victory lane sweeter.

“It’s going to make us appreciate it a whole lot more when we do win,” said Coby.  “The Chases have won a lot of races with other drivers and I’ve won a lot of races in other series.  We expect to win and we want to win.”

They’ll get their first shot of 2006 at that this coming weekend at Thompson.