NWMT • June 04, 2013
Coby Looks To Regain Stafford Perch
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 3, 2013) â€“ Following a rainout on the originally scheduled race date, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour is set to return to Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway for the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 presented by G-Oil on Friday, June 7.
The race was to be contested on May 24, but instead it became the second rainout in a row for the Whelen Modified Tour, which was also supposed to race at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H., on May 11.
As a result of the pair of postponements, the resumption of racing action on Friday will draw to a close a period of 40 days between Whelen Modified Tour events. The last race took place on April 28, also at Stafford. The layoff marked just the third time in the 29-year history of the Whelen Modified Tour that there was no race contested in the month of May.
While 40 days is the longest in-season layoff since a 51-day span in 2006, defending tour titlist Doug Coby â€“ also the defending winner of the TSI Harley-Davidson 125 â€“ doesnâ€™t seemed to be phased by the unplanned lull in the schedule.
â€œIt is what it is, itâ€™s nothing we can control,â€ Coby said. â€œI think weâ€™re all used to having significant layoffs at the beginning of the season anyway. In the past, we havenâ€™t raced a whole lot in May and June, itâ€™s been a little better [the last few years] with the schedule.
â€œNobodyâ€™s really gotten into a groove on the tour yet, so 14 days or 40 days I donâ€™t really think makes much of a difference for anybody.â€
Like a number of his Whelen Modified Tour peers, Coby has kept his skills sharp by racing in other series, specifically the SK Modifieds as part of Staffordâ€™s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series weekly action. Coby has competed in three SK Mod events at Stafford since the tour last raced on April 28.
â€œIt gets me out there. Itâ€™s one of those things where itâ€™s good to just keep your brain in the mode of looking at cars in traffic, making decisions and seeing what works and what doesnâ€™t,â€ Coby said. â€œItâ€™s been somewhat similar (SK versus tour mods), but at the same time itâ€™s a little different style of racing, a little different style of car.â€
As focus shifts back to the Whelen Modified Tourâ€™s return to action, Coby will have his hands full on Friday if he wants to defend his 2012 TSI Harley-Davidson 125 victory. The Milford, Conn., driver actually won each of the first three tour races at Stafford last season, but the two events there since have gone to Bobby Santos.
Although the field will be overflowing with contenders for the checkered flag, Santos and Coby have separated themselves a bit from the completion the last few years as theyâ€™ve combined to win eight of the last 12 Whelen Modified Tour events at Stafford.
â€œI donâ€™t really know how that has worked out, and I think Bobby would say the same thing,â€ Santos said. â€œI think we both adapt very well to Stafford â€“ flat track, momentum, being smart. Conserving but at the same being aggressive is a trait that I think Bobby and I share.
â€œAnd obviously our crew chiefs are putting setups in the car that we just get in and donâ€™t screw the thing up,â€ Coby added.
Theyâ€™ve had to go head-to-head on the track as well. In this 125-lap race last year, it was Coby who made a pass on Santos with eight laps to go for the victory.
Now that the Whelen Modified Tour is finally set to resume action, Coby gives Santos credit as the favorite going in, but with a nod to the high level of competition theyâ€™ll both have to contend with.
â€œGoing back there Iâ€™d say Bobby is the favorite because heâ€™s won the last two and weâ€™re going back there with the same car we won both night races with last year,â€ Coby said. â€œBut then thereâ€™s Ryan [Preece], Ron [Silk] and Ted [Christopher] â€¦ and Justin [Bonsignore], Rowan [Pennink] and Donny [Lia]. Weâ€™re all equal in my eyes.â€
RACE: TSI Harley-Davidson 125 pres. by G-Oil
PLACE: Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway
DATE: Friday, June 7
TIME: 9:15 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .5-mile, banked asphalt oval
2012 WINNER: Doug Coby
2012 POLESITTER: Bobby Santos
EVENT SCHEDULE: Practice 2:30-3:30 p.m., Qualifying 6 p.m., Driver Autograph Session 7:30 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Scott Running, 860-684-2783, firstname.lastname@example.org
TRACK TWITTER: @StaffordSpeedwy
EVENT TWITTER HASHTAG: #TSIHD125
The Race: The 23rd Annual TSI Harley-Davidson 125 presented by G-Oil will be the third race on the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule and the second of four events this season at Stafford Motor Speedway.
The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 31 cars, including provisionals. The first 26 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 125 laps (62.5 miles) and the race tire change rule is two tires, any position.
The Track: A half-mile, slightly-banked oval, Stafford originated as a horse racing track in the 1870s. After seven decades as a horse track, the dirt oval started holding automobile races following World War II. Stafford became a NASCAR track in 1959 and was paved for the first time in 1967.
Race Winners: There have been 31 different race winners at Stafford all-time, led by Mike Stefanikâ€™s 20 victories. Doug Coby is the defending winner of the TSI Harley-Davidson 125, the second of his three victories at the track in 2012. Bobby Santos won this seasonâ€™s first race at Stafford.
Pole Winners: There have been 40 different pole winners at Stafford, led by Stefanikâ€™s 17. Ryan Preece holds the tourâ€™s track qualifying record at 17.924 seconds (100.424 mph). Bobby Santos set fast time for this event a year ago, as well as the first trip to Stafford this year.
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