A STORY BY NASCAR.COM/Kyle Souza
THOMPSON, Conn. — Celebrating on the highest stage of modified racing for the sixth time.
Doug Coby sealed his sixth NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship on Sunday, completing a season that put the Milford, Connecticut, driver back on top after one year away from tasting glory.
The title was the sixth in the last eight years for the 40-year-old, and also helped him break a tie with Tony Hirschman with five series titles. Coby now only trails Mike Stefanik (seven) for the most Whelen Modified Tour titles in the modern era.
RACING-REFERENCE: Sunoco World Series 150 Race Results
"It’s just hard to put into words," Coby said. "We try to come out to have the best season of anybody, and win every race, everyone out there does. My team just finds a way to do it."
Coby finished seventh in the Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, but it was enough to win him the title by eight points. It didn’t come without a bit of drama.
Coby started third, but during a red flag for a multiple-car crash on lap 12, received some crucial information over the radio — oddly enough, from a fellow competitor. Woody Pitkat told Coby’s team the left-rear tire looked low on air pressure, and he was right. Coby pitted during the caution, changed the tire, and restarted deep in the field. It wasn’t long before he was back up inside the top 15, positioning himself where he needed to be to keep his points lead. By the end, seventh was enough to seal the deal.
Justin Bonsignore won the season-finale, his sixth victory of the season, which helped him close the gap to just eight in the championship standings. Even though he came up short of his second consecutive Whelen Modified Tour title, Bonsignore scored victories in three of four races at Thompson this season — extending his active drivers lead to 12 wins at the Connecticut oval.
"We spotted them way too many points in the beginning of the year. I’m really proud of our effort — we won a handful of races at the end of the year, and we didn’t get the championship, but we backed up our eight wins last year with six this year. Great car and a great pit stop (today)."
Ron Silk finished second, while Matt Swanson, Bobby Santos III and Woody Pitkat finished the top five. Eric Goodale was sixth, followed by Coby, Chase Dowling, Rob Summers and Timmy Solomito. Behind the top two in the championship standings, Silk finished third, 62 points back, while Craig Lutz and Swanson finished the top five. The Sunoco World Series 150 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, October 17, at 7 p.m.
STORY BY NASCAR.COM/KYLE SOUZA
After eight months of battling up and down the east coast, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion will be crowned on Sunday at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in Connecticut. Thompson’s high-banks will end the season for the 13th consecutive year.
CHAMPIONSHIP CLINCH SCENARIOS PDF
SUNOCO WORLD SERIES 150 AT THOMPSON SPEEDWAY
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Each of the two championship contenders are no strangers to success, either at Thompson, or in the championship battle. Doug Coby, who has five Whelen Modified Tour championships, is a six-time Thompson winner, including the Bud 150 in August. Justin Bonsignore, the defending Whelen Modified Tour champion, is an 11-time Thompson winner, including six of the last seven, and two this year.
RACING-REFERENCE: Coby at Thompson | Bonsignore at Thompson
Both of them are set to clash in Sunday’s 57th annual Sunoco World Series season finale. As part of a weekend that includes 20 different divisions from across New England, including the five NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track classes, the Whelen Modified Tour takes the spotlight as the final race of the weekend.
If Coby earns the title, it will be his sixth in eight years, which would push him past Tony Hirschman, and into second all-time for Whelen Modified Tour titles in the modern era. The only driver ahead of both modified greats is the late Mike Stefanik, who had seven titles. Coby’s season includes four victories in 15 races, with 10 top five finishes, and eight Mayhew Tools Dominator pole awards.
RACING-REFERENCE: Coby in 2019 | Bonsignore in 2019
Bonsignore, who walked away with the title last year, enters the finale looking to gain on some lost ground. His two DNF’s early in the season, combined with a finish outside the top 10 in the season-opener at Myrtle Beach Speedway, have him coming from behind. However, the Holtsville, New York, driver leads the series with five wins this season and also has nine top-five runs.
Outside of the title battle, the race for third in the championship standings is tight, with Ron Silk leading Craig Lutz by just four. Lutz is coming off his first career Whelen Modified Tour victory in the NAPA Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway, while Silk has three wins driving for Kevin Stuart Motorsports. At the bottom of the top five, Matt Swanson leads a group of five drivers separated by just 10 points in the battle for fifth.
RACE: SUNOCO WORLD SERIES 150
PLACE: Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, Thompson, Connecticut
DATE: Sunday, October 13
TIME: 3:30 p.m. ET (approx.)
TELEVISION: NBCSN, Thursday, October 17, 7 p.m. – FansChoice.TV (Live Broadcast) – 3:30 p.m. (approx.)
TRACK LAYOUT: .625-mile banked oval
2018 WINNER: Justin Bonsignore
2018 POLE: Ronnie Williams
Saturday: Garage Opens: 8 a.m., Practice: 11:15-12 p.m., Final Practice: 12:30-1:15 p.m., Group Qualifying: 4 p.m.
Sunday: Garage Opens: 10 a.m., Autograph Session: 2:15-2:45 p.m., Sunoco World Series 150: 3:30 p.m. (approx.)
TWITTER: @ThompsonSpdwy, @NASCARHomeTrack
HASHTAG: #SunocoWorldSeries, #NWMTRACE CENTER | ENTRY LIST
CREW CHIEF HANDOUT:
The starting field for the Sunoco World Series 150 is 36 starters, including provisional positions. The first 30 drivers will secure starting positions through the qualifying process. The remaining six positions will be awarded through the provisional process.
NASCAR group qualifying is in place for this event. Qualifying order will be determined by each vehicle’s fastest single lap from the official practice session(s). The number of groups for qualifying will be determined by NASCAR. Each group qualifying session will be five (5) minutes in duration and the fastest single lap speed of each vehicle will determine starting positions 1st through 30th. Adjustments or repairs may not be made on a vehicle after the vehicle enters the track to begin the qualifying session. Vehicles may not return to the track or make any further qualifying laps unless directed to do so by a NASCAR Official or in the event of a caution. Once a vehicle’s qualifying attempt is complete, the vehicle must proceed directly to the designated impound area once it enters pit road.
The maximum tire allotment available for this event is eleven (11) tires per team. Four (4) tires must be used for qualifying and to begin the race. The tire change rule is four (4) tires, any position.