Doug Coby brought his road show to Seekonk after taking second over the past three contests in the NASCAR Whelan Modified Tour. He hadn’t had a win this season but was high in the points race. He came back to Seekonk, where he has had a history of good luck and it worked like a charm. But not before Matt Hirschman, who had won pole honors, went out and led the first 62 of the 150 laps.
Coby pulled into fourth from his starting slot outside the second row to give chase as points leader Ryan Preece took up the cudgel and pursued Hirschman. Jon McKennedy swung into third as Coby settled behind him and the quest was on.
The front half of the field was single-file by lap two and Hirschman began to build a cushion over his pursuers. Coby went outside as Preece and McKennedy debated and he took third away from the latter. He dropped back in, to third and looked under Preece and went in. He was able to leverage into second and rushed up to Hirschman’s bumper. Preece, not to be outdone, fastened onto Coby’s rear steelwork.
Coby spent the next several laps working the leader high and low, then high and low again. Any opportunity would do, but Hirshman was giving none. They ran in this fashion until the first caution on lap 22 as two cars spun.
Now Hirschman had to defend against Coby on the outside, while Rowan Pennink and Preece made up row two. McKennedy was low and Timmy Solomito high in row three. Hirschman came out into the lead immediately and Coby had Preece underneath. He elected to stay outside. Three more laps and he was dropping in on Hirschman’s tail. By lap 35, he was again all over the leader’s bumper. The field again strung out.
Lap 41, and they were getting into lapped traffic and despite the added guests, Coby kept up his high-and-low attack. Rob Summers brought a lap 49 caution with a turn two spin. Calvin Carroll had to be pushed to the pits and Eric Goodale drove his car pitside. Hirschman and Coby lined up again.
Hirschman edged ahead and Coby stayed outside with Preece and Solomito behind them. Coby dropped under to challenge for the lead but was held off on lap 58. They were now nose-to-tail.
But Hirschman started to widen his path through the turns and the wily Coby was trying to take advantage. As Coby looked underneath, Hirschman dropped to get under a lapped car and there was contact, sending Hirschman into a spin. In the scramble to avoid, McKennedy took a battering from passing cars.
Coby now sat on the pole for the restart with Preece on his outside. Ted Christopher had come up to third and Matt Swanson sat on his shoulder. Dave Sapienza and Shawn Solomito were row three. They came out of the box side-by-side and Coby got the lead in turn two. He pulled away to a five-car lead. Christopher settled in behind Preece with Swanson following him.
They began to unleash some uninhibited lap speeds as the field quickly was strung out and by lap 87, Coby was beginning to lap the field. Each time he would work through pieces of traffic, Preece would stare at larger margins between them.
As the 100-lap mark came up, Coby was getting into heavier lapped traffic. In some instances, Preece could close, but in others, the gap would enlarge. By lap 104, Coby was a straightaway in the lead. Preece was caught up in the traffic, but Coby now had clear air ahead.
Another ten laps and Coby found himself in a cul-de-sac of two lapped cars in different grooves and Preece began to close. But before he could get to Coby’s bumper, the latter broke free and Preece had to deal with the blockage. Christopher had run up close to Preece’s rear.
Solomito bounced off the outside wall on the backstretch and had a sudden, brief fire near his front brake caliper. Caution flew and emergency crews converged as the field was halted.
Coby and Preece again went wheel-to-wheel as Christopher awaited their outcome. Coby grabbed the lead again in turn two and they ran hard for five laps until Wade Cole and Walter Sutcliffe, Jr. got togetjher on the front stretch and Sutcliffe brushed the outside wall. Again, the cars were stopped to facilitate the cleanup.
On the restart, Melissa Fifield ground to a halt on the backstretch and required a push start. They went at it again, with Coby again recapturing the lead in turn two. He had a length on Preece after a lap but quickly went to the afterburners and began to rapidly pull away.
Anthony Nocella, who was now moving well, came past Christopher and they roared on. But on lap 139, as Coby led by a half-straightaway, Jeff Rocco went into the wall on the frontstretch with a hard impact. And as he bounced off the barrier, Ronnie Williams was unable to avoid and hit him a hard shot. Rocco was able to quickly climb out and show the crowd that he was all right. Again, the cars were stopped for the cleanup. Again, Fifield needed a push to start to continue racing.
Eleven laps remained and careful decisions went out the window. As they came away, Nocella, coming from the second row, tried to drive under Preece. There was contact. Preece saved it, but Coby drove away.
One more caution rose its head as Max Zachem and Christopher were out of shape up by the wall coming out of turn four. Zachem drove away, but Christopher took it to the pits.
With five laps remaining, Coby and Nocella lined up and battled side-by-side out of the box. Coby nosed ahead in turn two, then went ahead by a length. Nocella dropped in. At the finish, it was Coby with the win and Nocella grabbing second. Preece nailed down third with Swanson and Dave Sapienza rounding out the top five.
Sixth went to Justin Bonsignore. He was followed by Hirschman, Zachem, Gary McDonald and Wade Cole.