One week before the recent NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, nobody pegged Doug Coby as a favorite to win the race.
That is because nobody really expected Doug Coby to even be in the race. However, the Connecticut driver picked up a last minute ride in the #0 Ralph Solhem-owned Modified for the event. He almost turned the tale into a full Cinderella story too by coming close to winning the race.
The fans in stands saw Coby take the lead after not pitting for tires and might have been surprised at how well he ran with the lead pack after that. They then saw him fade later on to a finish of eighth.
What those fans might not know is that wasn't because of his pit strategy or worn tires. Coby actually encountered a carburetor problem late in the race.
“The only reason that we did fall back is because one of the bolts fell out of the float bowl,” said Coby. “We were down on power and skipping off the corners. But we had something for them, even with the old tires.
“I want everyone to know that on this car, the handling didn't go away. It was skipping like a bastard and there was nothing I could do. I kept trying to keep it wound up and shooting gas into it in the middle of the corner so it wouldn't die out on me.”
That kept him from battling with eventual winner Ryan Newman for the victory.
“I saw the #7 [of Ryan Newman] come up and he was trying to run the bottom, so I would get in front of him and try to get a push. Then I tried to get up top and beat him off the corner. That was fun.”
Not pitting wasn't something that the #0 team planned to do before the race. Coby just thought that car was so good that he didn't see the need to.
“That was not the plan. We ran on of the fastest laps really early and I saw that when we were picking off cars early that we were good. We had such a good car that I said, 'When these guys have new tires, let's challenge them to go by us.' I saw Santos was tight when he was in front of me and I was tight when I was in front of him. I was just so good when I was in second and third. The car didn't wiggle much. I was just waiting for the laps to click down.
“The car was really good. I had a top three probably and a top five car for certain. It wasn't a top three or five car at lap 100 only because it was down on power and skipping. “I just wish we could have gotten a better finish.”
“It really probably was the best car that I've ever had up here and I've driven up here. I've had some racy cars and some so-so cars. This thing was really stout in traffic. It didn't have the motor that the #4 [Bobby Santos, III] or the #36 [Ted Christopher] has, but I don't think it mattered when we were all tucked in line.”
Coby has no more plans to run the #0 again this year - or any other Modified either. But he's hoping for something to develop.
“None that I know of,” said Coby when asked of his future plans. “But I'm sure something will come up. Somebody is bound to get fired soon. We're getting close to August and that's when everyone's dream seasons start to fall apart and they get themselves fired. So I'm sure I'll be in something sooner or later.”