THOMPSON, Conn. – Two races, two first-time winners at Thompson International Speedway.
A pair of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour 125-lap points events set the stage for the UNOH Showdown later this afternoon, with Doug Coby running away with the Northern Thompson 125 not long after George Brunnhoelzl III won a controversial Southern Thompson 125 on Sunday afternoon.
Coby, who had never won a feature event in any division at Thompson, led all but the first nine laps to capture the Northern Thompson 125.
"It's always been a dream of mine to make that right-hand turn into Victory Lane here," said Coby, a two-time Whelen Modified Tour race winner. "This thing is stout at this race track.... What an awesome car for this race track."
Coby, who was leading with three laps to go at Thompson in the season finale last year before an engine issue popped up, beat James Civali to the checkered flag by half a straightaway. Pole-sitter Ryan Preece finished third.
"We kind of lost one at the World Series last year, if anybody was here, we definitely had that one wrapped up," Coby said. "This track kind of owed us one."
But Coby's popular win was preceded by a far less popular one.
Brunnhoelzl, the Whelen Southern Modified Tour points leader, crossed under the checkered flag in second-place behind Bellingham, Mass., driver Steve Masse. But when Masse tried to pull his car into Victory Lane, NASCAR officials stopped him.
Despite dominating the Southern Thompson 125 – leading the final 56 laps – Masse was black-flagged for jumping the final restart inside the final 10 laps. He was penalized two laps to finish 17th, while Brunnhoelzl was credited with the win.
"There restarts all day had been early," Brunnhoelzl said. "There are double red lines on the wall. If you don't abide by (NASCAR's rules), then..."
Burt Myers and Tim Brown finished second and third, respectively.