Defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby has another opportunity to upstage
Ryan Preece the WMT point leader in Saturday's FW Webb 100 at NHMS. (NASCAR Home Tracks)
With just three races left on the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour calendar, Saturday's F.W. Webb 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway could be defending champion Doug Coby’s last stand.
Following last week’s event at Riverhead Raceway where Coby finished 14th and season points leader Ryan Preece celebrated in Victory Lane, the reigning titlist trails the challenger by 45 tallies heading into Saturday’s event in Loudon, N.H. Trailing by essentially one race’s worth of points, Coby will look for the “Magic Mile” to once again deliver on its nickname.
Coby has reason for optimism, however. While Preece has had a decided advantage on Coby at the bullrings like Riverhead, Coby has performed much better at NHMS. The Milford, Conn., veteran has won the last two Whelen Modified Tour events at the 1.058-mile oval and has an average finish of sixth there in six races since he joined forces with the No. 52 Darling Racing team in 2011. Preece has just two top 10s at NHMS in that same time period, although he was third there in July.
On a smaller scale, Coby will look to become the first driver since Ted Christopher in 2004-05 to win three races in a row at NHMS, but his bigger picture goal will be to finish ahead of Preece and gain some ground in the standings. Anything can happen in the final two dates on the schedule at Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway, and it often does, but Coby needs to hold serve this week at NHMS to have a realistic chance when the Whelen Modified Tour returns to Connecticut to close out the season.
As the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East makes its annual stop Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the North American Power 100, third-year competitor Daniel Suárez is hitting his stride.
Suárez heads to Loudon on the heels of the best two months of his career, and aside from championship leader Dylan Kwasniewski, has been perhaps the hottest driver of the season’s summer stretch.
Suárez’s first two seasons of K&N Pro Series East completion, 2010-11, were characterized by mixed results. Competing part-time, he registered three top 10s each season, but the consistency wasn’t there from one race to the next.
For the 2013 season, Suárez’s situation stabilized. He joined Rev Racing for a full-time schedule as part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity initiative, and after an up-and-down start, the 21-year-old member of NASCAR Next has since exhibited his true potential.
It all started to come together for Suárez on June 22 when he finished second to Kwasniewski at Langley Speedway, the best finish of his K&N Pro Series East career at the time. Suárez needed only one race to top that, however, as he drove to his first American victory in the at Columbus Motor Speedway on July 13.
Suárez, hailing from Monterey, Mexico, had won in the past in the NASCAR Toyota Series in his native country, but the Columbus triumph was a landmark victory in his still-burgeoning career. It marked just the third race in the 27-year history of the K&N Pro Series East that was won by a Mexican-born driver.
Proving that his back-to-back podiums were no fluke, Suárez has since recorded two more in the three races since, and was in position to compete for the checkered flag at Virginia International Raceway on Aug. 24 before suffering a blown engine.
Suárez now heads to NHMS, which has been one of his best tracks. In three previous races there, he’s recorded a top-10 average finish. If he’s able to keep the recent run going, Suárez could contend for a second victory and yet another place in the history books as the first international driver in series history to win multiple races
Also on Saturday's card is the ACT Tour Invitational 80, Legends-Bandoleros International and NASCAR Sprint Cup practice. Sunday's card offers the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup race. Post time both days is 1 p.m.