It seems like the 2017 NASCAR WMT season was just put in the books, Doug Coby driving the #2 Mayhew Tools LFR chassis Modified notched another championship. Ryan Preece driving the #6 TS Haulers Troyer won the owners championship for Eddie Partridge, the first time that the owners championship did not belong to the championship drivers car owner.
But that was 5 long months ago. As the northeast digs out of its its 3rd Nor’easter in 10 days NASCAR WMT teams from New England and all over the east coast have made their way to the state of South Carolina for the start the 2018 season at Myrtle Beach Speedway.
30 teams from up and down the east coast have entered the only event in the state of South Carolina, we will have a final car count later this morning.
We had a chance to talk to three people who will be a big part of the upcoming NASCAR WMT season.
Doug Coby 2017 Champion:
We are ready for the 2018 opener. 2 LFR cars are ready and by the time we get to the Icebreaker at Thompson a 3rd LFR car should be ready giving us a solid stable of cars to look to win a 6th championship.
Mayhew Tools is back for a second season as the primary sponsor of the team and are very happy with the relationship. Mayhew is a 160-year-old company and has used racing the last 2 years for brand awareness and name recognition. Mayhew also likes the TV exposure that the tour gives them and the huge rolling billboard that the hauler for the #2 takes to the track
Doug spoke about last year’s 5th championship. When we asked if he was confident on championship #5 after his early season troubles his answer was if I said yes, I would be lying. He didn’t think he had a shot to continue the championship streak until Stafford in August when he finished second to Ryan Preece.
We asked Doug if he feels the teams that go to Fla. have an advantage In February and why his team does not head south. Doug said that absolutely some of his competitors get a small advantage as they work the bugs out of new equipment, but work commitments keep him up north.
Doug won his 5th championship in unusual style. 2017 he flipped flopped his successful tracks with tracks he normally did poorly. NHMS and Thompson were not his best tracks in 2017 which is very unusual. Putting aside the Icebreaker at Thompson where he barely made 1 lap being caught up in a wreck he feels the completion has really stepped up at those tracks closing that gap.
Riverhead which for many years was a thorn in his side including the 2013 when his throttle hung during his time trial run costing him a race and probably a chance at a championship. That changed last year he came away with a 2nd and a 3rd and feels the focus on getting better at Riverhead helped those finishes.
Last year Doug won only 1 race, the first time with that total since 2014, we asked Doug if he felt he could increase that number this year. Doug said they come to the track with the mentality to win each race and this year would be no different so he hopes he can increase that number.
This season Doug will have a few new crew members and crew members doing different jobs than they had in the past. Doug said many of the crew members are also his friends and have been for many years and that helps
Series Director Jimmy Wilson:
We reached out to Jimmy as we get close to opening day to ask his views on the state the tour for 2018.
Fist we asked Jimmy about his outlook for the 2018 season.
We are very pleased with the scheduling for 2018. With the Seekonk race being moved to June 2nd NASCAR has broken up the long stretch during the summer. With the longest road trip for the teams heading to Bristol it gives them a week off at the end of August before the stretch run to the end of the season.
As far as rules for 2018 there are no major rules changes for the upcoming season
Jimmy is also pleased with the young drivers that are coming up in the series, it bodes for a bright future for the tour.
Two things that Jimmy really likes about the 2028 season are the winners purses , point fund and the new crown jewel event at NHMS.
Whelen Engineering Winner of the Race award has increased this year from $500.00 per race to $3,500.00. That will push the winner of most of the races to a minimum of $10,000. The only races below that will be the 2 Riverhead races plus the Thompson mid-week race. When we spoke about the purse money Jimmy always likes to point out the NASCAR pays more than any tour out there. The purse, bonus and point fund the money is second to none of any Modified tour.
Jimmy is also very excited is the Full Throttle weekend Friday September 21st and September 22nd. The weekend will feature the WMT, K & N East and for the first time Pinty series from Canada. The winner of the Modified feature will take home a minimum of $25,000. With bonus and announced lap monies a driver who dominates the race and leads many laps could win upwards of $40,000 or more.
We asked about the format of the race and the expected tire count that will be needed. He said there will be a 5-minute break at a lap to be determined. As far as the tires, there will be a Hoosier tire test before the Eastern Propane 100 July 21st to determine the needed compound. Hoosier had some uncharacteristic issues with the right front tires that they want to resolve before the next WMT race at NHMS.
NHMS will be issuing press releases with more information about the race format as the year progresses. Increased access to the cars and drivers that the fans have not enjoyed in the past will be part of the show. Unfortunately, NHMS lost a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup weekend but they are putting a significant effort into making the WMT/Pinty/K & N as great a weekend as any Cup race they have hosted..
Eddie Partridge owner of the TS Haulers #6:
Eddie took 2 cars to Fla. With Ryan Preece but only came back with 1 intact car.
What is the status of the white #6 that left the park at Bronson Speedway?
“The white #6 was not repairable, Troyer is building us a new one hopefully to be finished by the Icebreaker. The team will run the 2018 season splitting races between the beautiful new black #6 that they shook down at New Smyrna Speedway and the white #6 that will be delivered shortly.
Ed pointed out that while Ryan Preece is still his full-time driver he will have to miss a minimum of 2 races as Ryan continues to race for Joe Gibbs on the Xfnity Tour.
When asked if Ryan could have a shot at the championship Ed responded that they have a shot at the owners championship again Ryan and his fill in, Jimmy Blewett . Jimmy will drive the car today at Myrtle Beach and at one race at Riverhead.
Making the task a little tougher this year, at Thompson Ryan will start last at the Icebreaker after racing at Texas in the Xfinity series on that Saturday. With veteran Jimmy Blewett filing in the team should not miss a beat.
Lastly as we start the 2018 season the tour will have a big void. While there is always great optimism as a season starts, this year there is a feeling something is missing. One of the all-time greats TC Ted Christopher will not be in the field. Teds untimely passing last year left us stunned and saddened. Ted was not only a great driver but a great friend to many. Ted touched many with his bumper, his humor, his friendship and his hard as nails attitude. Ted will be missed and surely never forgotten.
Notes: The Myrtle Beach opener March 17th is called the St Patrick’s Day 300 Race. The program will feature Late Models, Chargers, Super Trucks, Mini Stocks and NASCAR WMT Modified division.
The official entry list-http://racing-reference.info/entrylist/2018-01/N/E
The NBCSN TV schedule is out, Derick Pernesiglio and company will be back covering the NASCAR WMT starting with the opening day Myrtle Beach race. It will be broadcast the following week Wed. March 21 at 6:00PM on tape delay.
Myracenews will be at the track as the gates open Saturday at 9:30AM and give you updates throughout the day. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.