Story By: JASON CHRISTLEY / NASCAR – MILFORD, CT – The biggest off-season question mark was answered recently: Who will Doug Coby race for in his chase for a seventh NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship?
In the end, the 40-year-old Coby found the answer by looking in the mirror.
“This is a good thing going forward,” Coby told RaceDayCT.com in an exclusive interview. “Becoming a driver/owner wasn’t necessarily what I expected to have happen. But the fact that I see how it’s unfolding makes me really excited for the team’s potential and what we’re able to provide for the sponsors that will help us out.”
Coby announced that he had purchased one of his race winning Whelen Modified Tour cars from retiring owner Mike Smeriglio III, and start his own team in pursuit of defense of his 2019 crown.
Coby also confirmed that he was again pairing with longtime crew chief Phil Moran, and they would keep the rest of his former team together. The Milford, Connecticut, driver confirmed he would again pair with primary sponsor Mayhew Tools, associate sponsors Reynold’s Auto Wrecking and Modzelewski’s Towing, and additional sponsors would be announced.
It isn’t the first time Coby has been looking for a ride following a successful season. He parted ways with car owner Wayne Darling after winning the 2012 title and finishing second in 2013. He paired with Smeriglio in 2014, and together they won 19 races and five drivers championships.
His sixth championship last year made him just he 13th driver all-time to to win six or more NASCAR national or regional/international series champions. It put his name on a list that includes the likes of Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Richie Evans and Mike Stefanik.
“I always try to remember that my last win could be my last win, and my last championship could be my last championship,” Coby said after the 2019 finale.
Coby appeared prophetic when news broke that Smeriglio committed to selling a pair of cars to the family driver Tyler Rypkema and selling the team hauler to Kevin Stuart Motorsports.
Friday, though, Coby confirmed exclusively to RaceDayCT his new team, Doug Coby Racing, will make its debut at the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour opener on March 21 at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway. He also told the outlet the team is committed to running the full season and chase title No. 7.