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Two in a Row for Coby
It took 19 Whelen Modified Tour starts for Doug Coby to find victory lane at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the first time. Since then, it just seems to have gotten easier. On Saturday, in his 26th race at the Magic Mile, Coby pulled his Dunleavy Repair Chevrolet into Sunoco Victory Lane for the fourth time in his career, fresh off a win in the New England 100.
"We had the best car here, but when you fall back to seventh or eighth, it's all in how you respond to that adversity," said Coby, a three-time Whelen Modified Tour champion and the current points leader. "I just tried to do everything I could to stay ahead of the 8 (car) in those last couple laps. I just raced my line and held him off. It was a great battle."
In a race that featured only one caution, Coby led 55 laps on Saturday for his third win of the season. It was the second straight victory for Coby at NHMS, having won last September's F.W. Webb 100. In what was a back-and-forth tight battle for most of the second half of the race, Coby beat Donny Lia back to the finish line by a nose.
"We had a car that could definitely win the race," said Lia, a two-time NHMS winner. "When all is said and done, we will think back and there is 20 different things we could have done different to win a race, especially when you win by a bumper. But I'm happy to come out of here with a solid day and a car with all four wheels on it."
Patrick Emerling finished third for his third straight top-five finish at New Hampshire. Emerling led a pack of cars that included Ryan Preece (16 laps led) back to the Granite Stripe.
"The lead pack got away from me and by the time we broke out they were already gone," said Emerling. "Towards the end in the closing laps the car came to me and we were a little bit better than the guys behind us. It was a solid day for us."
Ron Silk, Ryan Newman, Preece, Woody Pitkat, Justin Bonsignore, Eric Goodale and Todd Szegedy (who started last in 33rd) round out the top-10.
Bobby Santos, winner of Friday's modified All-Star Shootout, finished 27th after having a right front tire go down on Lap 13.
It was the first mod race at NHMS since July 12, 1997 to feature just one caution flag.
Coby dominated much of the first 50 laps before a mandatory caution forced the field into the pits. Coming out of the break, Coby fell back on the restart before pushing back toward the front and eventually taking the lead back with a little less than 20 laps to go. From there it was a dogfight with Lia, who lost the lead with three laps remaining. While he fought hard to regain it, Coby beat Lia back to the Granite Stripe.
"All of us (in the series) have a history together and everyone has a choice to race like you're thinking about the past or race like you are going to try and win today," Coby said. "If you are a New England modified racer that is what you work for, you want to win at Loudon."
NASCAR's best in the Sprint Cup Series will race for Loudon the Lobster in Sunday's New Hampshire 301 at 1:30 p.m. A limited number of seats for both Saturday and Sunday's events are still available. To purchase tickets please call the NHMS ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit www.nhms.com.