He may have only led three laps – but he led the three laps that counted the most. Doug Coby made the pass on the final restart to take the win in the UNOH Battle of the Beach Modified race at Daytona International Speedway.
“It doesn’t matter what you race here, to be a winner at Daytona and bring it to a brand new team with my first time in this car – it’s really special,” Coby said. “I tried to keep putting myself in position. We got lucky that caution came out at the end. Ryan Preece had the best car but it’s the battle of the beach – anything can happen.”
Ryan Preece would start the 150 lap race on pole and pulled out to the early lead, holding off all challenges on the ensuing restarts.
After a late race restart with 14 laps to go in the 150 lap event, Preece once again jumped out ahead and began to close up on the back of the field. As he closed in on the No. 36 of David Sapienza, Sapienza went down towards the infield, and then kept the car pointed forward as he headed for turn one. Preece went into turn one at the same time, which caused the pair to make contact with Sapienza going around while Preece sustained heavy left rear damage.
Preece stayed on track with the left rear bent as the leader and went for the final restart with four to go. As the field went through turn one, Patrick Emerling would spin out of second while Coby would sneak underneath Preece for the lead. Coby then held on the rest of the way, holding off Jason Myers.
Myers finished second, followed by Luke Fleming and Preece.
“I don’t know what to say about it. All I can say is I can’t thank these guys enough,” Preece commented. “It’s unfortunate – I don’t know if he even turned there. This is horrible – Daytona. It would’ve meant a lot to me to win this race.”
Moving forward, Preece says he’s going to “keep it going for the rest of the year. There’s 14 races and I plan on winning most of them.”
Burt Myers rounded out the top five, followed by Thomas Barrett Jr., Cody Ware, Ron Silk, Eric Goodale and J R Bertuccio.
The race featured multiple cautions for single car spins throughout the course of 150 laps, though most drivers were able to continue. Two of the biggest disappointments were Cole Powell and Justin Bonsigmore, who both fell out of the event due to mechanical issues after running inside the top five.
“I think the motor is starting to break so instead of breaking it, we decided to come in with it being not for points,” Bonsigmore. “We’re trying out the NASCAR spec motor. It started to get hot and we couldn’t get it cooled down and watched it start to break up so we pulled in.”
The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour will kick off their season on March 9th at Caraway Speedway while the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour kicks off their season on April 6th at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.