Doug Coby of Milford, Ct will look to go where no NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour driver has ever gone at Riverhead Raceway Saturday night September 18th as he’ll aim to sweep the three WMT events at the venerable Long Island bullring for 2021 in the Miller Lite 200.
Coby after coming so close to winning at Riverhead until completing the fete on May 15th in his 20th start at the track backed that victory up on Sunday June 20th on Father’s Day with a rain delayed triumph for his only two wins to date in 2021 on the WMT.
By Bob Finan
During the inaugural NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season in 1985 and for the two season following in 1986 & 1987 Riverhead Raceway hosted three WMT races a season all of which unfolded on Wednesday nights. In those three seasons no driver ever scored the hat trick at Riverhead. In 1985 Jimmy Spencer won the first two events before the late Richie Evans took the August finale. “Mighty” Mike Stefanik took the first WMT in 1986 with Riverhead Raceway regular Dan Jivanelli winning the second while the late “Tiger Tom Baldwin won the ’86 finale. Baldwin would have a two race Riverhead WMT win streak going when he won the first of three in 1987 but rising start Mike Ewanitsko swept the final two events with those wins propelling Mike to 11 WMT wins at the quarter mile. Under the two race per season format several drivers have swept the Riverhead WMT season, Mike Ewanitsko in 1998, Mike Stefanik turned the trick in 2001, Ryan Preece in 2014. Justin Bonsignore has been the most successful in that format having swept the two races in 2015, 2018 and 2019. Timmy Solomito swept the 2017 WMT races.
Fast forward to the Miller Lite 200 Saturday and the Phil Moran led Mayhew Tools team of former six time WMT champion are hoping the set-up they have hit upon for the May and June wins will hold serve in September. After his June triumph Coby remarked, “In victory lane for round two at Riverhead. Who would’ve thought that Doug Coby would be in contention to sweep Riverhead when we come back in September” When quizzed on what is different in 2021 than years past at Riverhead Coby replied, “It’s so hard here but we hit on something”. By the time Doug arrives at Riverhead Saturday he’ll have already made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut two night prior on Thursday evening in the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics at Bristol Motor Speedway driving a GMS Motorsports entry.
Coby is not the only driver finding sudden success in 2021 at Riverhead as WMT championship contender Patrick Emerling of Orchard Park, NY has finished runner-up to Doug in both races and he hopes to put his Jan Leaty prepared machine in the winner circle Saturday. Defending WMT champion and 8 time winner at his home track Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville and the Ryan Stone led Phoenix Communications team who have finished third in both races hope to snap the win streak of Coby and increase their championship lead they held going into Richmond Raceway on September 10th.
Ron Silk of Norwalk, Ct. rode a two race WMT into the Richmond event is always good at Riverhead where he has won Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series event prior hopes to score his first WMT at the quarter mile as are Jon McKenndey of Chelmsford, Ma., Kyle Bonsignore of Bay Shore and Woody Pitkat of Stafford, Ct. After a hard hit in the June WMT race Eric Goodale of Riverhead is hopeful of another WMT win at the track that gave him his first career victory on the circuit in 2014.
Anthony Nocella of Woburn, Ma driving for L.I. based Danny Watts Racing will be contenders Saturday along with WMT regulars Tyler Rypkema of Owego, NY, JB Fortin of Holtsville, Timmy Solomito of Islip who’ll return to the series at his home track, Craig Lutz of Miller Place who will do likewise, Chuck Hossfeld of Ransomville, NY and Dave Sapienza of Riverhead.
The Riverhead Raceway Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series teams are also gearing up for another run at the WMT teams. Kyle Soper of Manorville, John Baker of Brookhaven, Dylan Slepian of Dix Hills, Roger Turbush of Riverhead, Kyle Ellwood of Riverhead and Chris Turbush of Wading River all readying for action in the Miller Lite 200. As of press time defending track champion Tom Rogers Jr. and his car owners Denise & Ken Darch were on the fence about entering the 200. The team ran the May race but skipped the June event.
The Eagle Auto Mall Crate Modifieds, INEX Legend Race Cars, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks will compliment the Miller Lite 200 Saturday. Spectator gates open at 3:00 pm, with WMT final practice running from 3:15-4:15 pm and qualifying at 6:00 pm. The Miller Lite 200 is set for approximately 8:00 pm. The Riverhead divisions will practice, qualify and run their feature just prior to the announced WMT times.
Admission is $40 for adults, kids 6-12 $10 with 5 & under free. Riverheadraceway.Tv will live stream all on track activity beginning with WMT final practice at 3:15 pm right up until the Miller Lite 200 when NBC Sports Gold Trackpass starts their live stream. Camping is free with no hook ups with camper required to utilize the SE corner of the property behind the pit area.