May 15, 2021
DOUG COBY POWERS HIS WAY TO LONG AWAITED FIRST CAREER RIVERHEAD RACEWAY WMT VICTORY IN MILLER LITE 200 SATURDAY
Bob Finan PR
Hard to imagine a driver who has earned six NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championships and is a 29-time WMT winner having items to still check off his racing bucket list but coming into the Miller Lite 200 Saturday at Riverhead Raceway Doug Coby of Milford, Ct. had one in particular, a win at the Long Island track where he'd come close before. By the time the Miller Lite 200 concluded not only was Coby able to check off the win at Riverhead Raceway box on the list he also in the process earned a milestone 30th career WMT victory.
In Mayhew Tools pole qualifying defending NASCAR WMT champion Justin Bonsignore won the pole award with a speed of 78.733 and his quest to win his fifth straight WMT at his home track was off on the right note. Bonsignore brought the 26 car field to green and raced his Ken Massa Motorsports entry to the race lead with Ron Silk of Norwalk, Ct who was second quick in qualifying in tow. The first of five cautions that would slow the race was displayed for a three car incident in turn four involving Walter Sutcliffe Jr, Kyle Ellwood and Dylan Slepian. When the race resumed Bonsignore and Silk assumed their positions at the front of the field with the race seeing a 58-lap green flag run until the second caution waved on lap 71 for a single car incident involving Gary McDonald whose car came to rest in turn three.
As the race moved along Bonsignore and Silk soon were joined by Doug Coby who started from third and was starting to make some noise of his own. A series of three caution flag periods on laps 115, 125 and again on lap 135 the final caution of the race would find plenty of dicing for position during the double file restarts. Bonsignore was holding his lead but Coby was able to make his way around Silk for the challengers role and quickly set sail for his friendly rival Bonsignore.
With an extended 57-lap green flag run closing out the Miller Lite 200 if Coby was to pass Bonsignore he'd do it without the benefit of a restart. However a long green flag can present another opportunity for a pass for the lead that being lapped traffic and the final stages of the race provided plenty of lapped cars as only seven of the twenty six starters were on the lead lap at the end of the race.
During the final 50-laps of the event those looking on took the opinion it wasn't a matter of if Coby was going to pass Bonsignore for the race lead but when while then tandem worked through traffic. That when came with just 25-laps remaining in the contest as Doug was able to sneak under Justin for the race lead on lap 175 in the third and fourth turn. Bonsignore would soon fell into the clutches of Patrick Emerling in a late race battle for second as the handle on the defending champions car seemed to be fading at the worst possible time all of which was just fine with race leader Coby.
When all was said and done Doug Coby and his self-owned Phil Moran led Mayhew Tools team had the trophy they long sought after at Riverhead Raceway. "My Dad told me the other day go get that Riverhead win" Coby reflected afterwards while sipping a Miller Lite in victory lane, "well not only did we get it but Dad is here tonight making it all the more special". As to his long standing friendly rivalry with Bonsignore the race winner noted with a smile, "he is so good here but I can't lie if feels really satisfying to win at his home track before he could win at mine Stafford Motor Speedway". When quizzed as to why his car seemed to work the bottom better than others Coby looked up with a quick response, "you know I can't tell you that". Doug Coby's first Riverhead Raceway win came in his 20th start at the bullring.
Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, NY would grab runner-up honors and the driver of the Captain Pip Marina & Hideaway Chevy reflected afterwards, "we run pretty well here and are getting better and better at it". Asked if he thought a late race caution would give him a shot a Coby for the lead, "Nah I don't think so, Doug was rolling pretty good".
After climbing out of his third place finishing Phoenix Communications Chevy Justin Bonsignore was left wondering about the way the race played out, "I don't know, maybe we used her up a bit too much early on" the 29-time WMT winner shared but also quickly added, "hey if I couldn't win it really is nice to see Doug and his bunch get it, they been waiting a long time here" However Justin also realizes his rival is not going to let him forget, "I guess I'm going hear it until I win one at Stafford Motor Speedway".
Kyle Bonsignore a Bay Shore native who now calls North Carolina home and is Justin's cousin was 4th in his Chateau Performance Chevy while Woody Pitkat of Stafford, Ct put on the drive of the night finishing fifth after starting twentieth in the Dunleavy's Truck & Trailer Chevy.
2020 Riverhead Raceway Buzz Chew Chevrolet NASCAR Modified championship runner-up Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills had the best showing among the Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series regulars with a 9th place effort. "After we got caught up in that early race jingle things went well" Dylan reviewed post race while enjoying an ice cream cone. "These tires are nothing and I mean nothing compared to what we run here weekly" he added.
For other weekly drivers the Miller Lite 200 was not so kind as John Baker of Brookhaven (17th), Kyle Ellwood (18th), Roger Turbush (21st), Kyle Soper (22nd) and Tom Rogers Jr. (24th) all had issues of one sort or another during the 200.
Patrick Emerling's runner-up coupled with Eric Goodale's 8th place finish find the duo tied for the 2021 NASCAR WMT championship lead at 125 after three races. The next event is Saturday May 29th when the Jennerstown Salute 150 is presented at 7:30 pm at the Jennerstown, Pa. Speedway.
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to Riverhead Raceway for the second of three races in 2021 on Saturday June 19th with another 200-lap event.
Miller Lite 200: 1. Doug Coby 2. Patrick Emerling 3. Justin Bonsignore 4. Kyle Bonsignore 5. Woody Pitkat 6. Chuck Hossfeld 7. Ron Silk 8. Eric Goodale 9. Dylan Slepian 10. Dave Sapienza 11. Tommy Catalano 12. Timmy Solomito 13. Craig Lutz 14. Anthony Nocella 15. Tyler Rypkema 16. Jon McKennedy 17. John Baker 18. Kyle Ellwood 19. Walter Sutcliffe 20. JB Fortin 21. Roger Turbush 22. Kyle Soper 23. Ryan Preece 24. Tom Rogers Jr. 25. Gary McDonald 26. Melissa Fifield