Doug Coby earns second NASCAR Whelen Mods title in three years

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Doug Coby (pictured, right) finished a season-worst 17th in Sunday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour finale at Thompson (Conn.) Speedway, but it was still enough to give him his second series title in the last three seasons.

Coby entered the Sunoco World Series 150 at Thompson with a 28-point lead over Ted Christopher. But even though Coby had a rough outing, Christopher had an even worse one as he was involved in a crash that relegated him to 20th at the finish.

At the sharp end of the field, front row starter Ryan Preece dominated proceedings by leading a race-high 137 laps that included the last 73.

Preece’s win enabled him to leap-frog Christopher for second in the series standings at 22 points behind Coby; Christopher ended up falling to fifth in the points behind Coby, Preece, Justin Bonsignore, and Ron Silk.

Consistency was the key for Coby in this Whelen Modified season. He claimed a non-points triumph at Daytona International Speedway to start the season in February and picked up his first points win of the year in June at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway.

In all, Coby would collect nine Top-5 finishes along the 13-race schedule. He’s now the fifth multi-time champion in the history of the Whelen Modified Tour.

It also marks a big payoff for a big decision he had to make earlier this winter. When his previous team owner, Wayne Darling, opted to cut back his team’s 2014 schedule, Coby decided to join Mike Smeriglio’s full-time program.

“Racing is a tough sport and you make decisions to move forward,” Coby said to reporters. “Everybody on this team made a tough decision this winter. They made some driver changes, some crew changes and the plan paid off. This is all about Mike Smeriglio and this team and this family and all the hard work they put in on the Modified Tour.

“He is the most deserving car owner in the pit area to get this championship. Phil Moran is a top notch crew chief, he knows what he’s doing and the guy can put a car together and this is really about those two. It’s a great feeling to be able to drive this car and represent them.”

As with the rest of NASCAR’s touring series champions, Coby will be honored this December as part of an awards ceremony in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Simon Pagenaud’s engineer relives 2019 Indy 500 victory on Twitter

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The Team Penske engineer for last year’s Indianapolis 500 winner is reliving Simon Pagenaud’s day by tweeting about what he was doing each moment a year later.

Starting with an observation that he awoke in his Indianapolis hotel room at 4:30 a.m., Ben Bretzman (@benbretzman) sent nearly two dozen tweets by 11 a.m. ET about how the morning before the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 unfolded.

Bretzman was through the infield tunnel and in Gasoline Alley by 6 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., he was wondering if his driver was awake yet, but he had heard for the first time from Pagenaud 45 minutes later.

‘BACK HOME AGAIN’Sunday at 2 p.m. ET, NBC

FIERCE FRIENDSHIPPagenaud, Rossi recall epic battle of 2019 Indy 500

Among other highlights: The team’s last strategy meeting was at 8:30 a.m.; final check of the weather was at 9:30 a.m. and Bretzman gave the No. 22 Dallara-Chevrolet a once-over at 10:35 a.m. before it was pushed to the grid.

Follow @BenBretzman to watch the day unfold from the pit box and tune into “Back Home Again at 2 p.m. ET on NBC as Pageanud and Alexander Rossi, who are good friends off the track, recap their epic duel with host Mike Tirico.

Simon Pagenaud and engineer Ben Bretzman debrief at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IndyCar photo by Joe Skibinski).