Michael Smeriglio III


After multiple near misses, Mike Smeriglio III gathered his first title as car owner in 2014, his ninth season fielding an entry for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. It felt so good, he couldn’t let it go.

“You don’t really know what it’s like to be a champion until you come down to Charlotte and celebrate and see your car in the NASCAR Hall of Fame with the championship trophy,” Smeriglio said. “That’s unbelievable. You can’t anticipate that until it actually happens, and when it does, it’s almost a double-edged sword. You got here, but now you want to continue to be here.

The Michael Smeriglio Racing Corp., MSIII Racing, has won the Nascar Whelen Modified Tour Championship three years running. Along with his driver, Doug Coby and crew chief, Phil Moran they are creating a dynasty in short track racing on the east coast.


Doug Coby

4 x Time Champion Driver

After winning three Quarter Midget national championships, Doug Coby made the jump to stock car racing at Stafford Motor Speedway. He won the 1998 Late Model championship at the track, followed up by a championship in the track’s old Pro Stock division in 2000.

Coby made his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut in 2002 with three starts that season. In 2003, he finished 14th in points after making 15 starts. Jumped to 12th in the standings in 2004. In 2005 he had six top-five finishes and was seventh in the final standings.

In 2006 he won his first Whelen Modified Tour event, capturing the prestigious Sprint Sizzler at Stafford Motor Speedway. He made 11 starts over the 2007 and 2008 seasons. In 2009, Coby finished 11th in the standings after starting 11 events. He ran for five different teams in 2010, finishing in the top-10 four of eight starts that year. In 2011, Coby put together a deal to drive half the season for car owner Wayne Darling and half for George Bierce and finished fifth in the standings, then a career best.

He recorded his second career victory after winning the Whelen Modified Tour portion of the North-South Showdown at Thompson International Speedway. He also won the North-South Showdown exhibition event pitting Northern tour and Southern tour teams against each other. In 2012, he drove exclusively for Wayne Darling and won his first career Whelen Modified Tour championship. He finished the season with a series high five victories over 14 events and 11 top-10 runs. At one point during the season he recorded seven consecutive top-three finishes. He finished the season with a series best average finish of 5.9. In 2013, despite only starting 13 of 14 events, he finished second to Ryan Preece in the Whelen Modified Tour standings.

In December he announced he would leave Darling’s team to replace Todd Szegedy at Michael Smeriglio Racing in 2014. In 2014, Doug started the season in Victory Lane on the short track at Daytona in the non-points UNOH Battle At The Beach in his first outing with Michael Smeriglio III Racing. Thanks to a tour best 12 top-10 finishes in 13 outings and winning the 125 at Stafford Motor Speedway, Coby drove to his second Whelen Modified Tour championship in three years giving team owner Michael Smeriglio his first title.

In 2015, Doug became just the third driver in Whelen Modified Tour history to earn three or more championships. He set career highs for wins (7), poles (6), top fives (11) and laps led (830), Doug became just the third driver to record a season sweep at Thompson; earned his first career bullring victory at Monadnock and became the first driver in tour history to win the last three races of a season, and the first to win three-consecutive races from the pole.

In 2016, Doug won his fourth career NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship. In the process he joined NASCAR Hall of Famers Jerry Cook and Richie Evans, as well as NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Mike Stefanik and Tony Hirschman Jr., as the only drivers in NASCAR Modifieds 69-year history to win four or more championships. He also became the first driver in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour era, which began in 1985, to win three straight titles. All three have come since he teamed up with car owner Michael Smeriglio III. Coby won five times in 2016 to move to seventh all-time on the tour’s win list.

Phil Moran

Crew Chief

Long considered one of the elite crew chiefs on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the case for that exclusive status was significantly bolstered in 2016 when Phil Moran added a fourth tour title to his résumé.

Originally from Preston, Connecticut, Moran got his start in NASCAR modified racing in 1985 with car owner Art Barry and driver Greg Sacks. He’s attained varied experience along the way, including his first Whelen Modified Tour title in 2003 with driver Todd Szegedy and car owner Don Barker.

Barker sold his team to Michael Smeriglio III after the 2005 season and Moran went to work for Chassis Dynamics before eventually returning to the tour to work with Szegedy and Smeriglio and manage the team’s shop in Newtown, Connecticut.

In 2014, Moran was able to lead this team to its first Whelen Modified Tour title with Doug Coby behind the wheel. In 2015 he successfully defended the Championship and in 2016 he pulled a “three-peat” helping Doug Coby to become only the fifth driver in NASCAR Modifieds history to win four or more championships.

“Doug is very meticulous, he thinks out every race,” Moran said. “We’ll talk about strategy before the race starts and nine times out of 10 we’re on the same page. That’s a big thing for us to be on the same page. Usually we’re right on the money right out of the box as far as what we’re going to do for a race.”

Being on that same page has showed in their results.

“The chemistry and communications we have on this team are two key ingredients to our success.” Moran said. In their four years together they have 11 wins, 11 poles, 26 top 5’s and 33 top 10’s.

“We finish consistently in the top five so that is of huge significance to a championship winning team.”

With the championship-winning team remaining intact, Moran feels confident of their continued success.

“There are a lot of good teams out there; Ryan Preece is going to be tough with his new deal, Timmy Solomito and Justin Bonsignore are going to be tough, but we’re going to be tough too,” Moran said. “We know that we’re going to be a team to be reckoned with right out of the truck.”

Moran certainly isn’t going to rest on the team’s laurels though.

“You’ve got to keep on moving forward to be the best,” Moran said. “We’re just getting the best bullet in our gun that we can get.”

Smeriglio entrusts Moran for all racing related decisions the team makes.

“My business is as an accountant and financial planner, and I don’t have any sophisticated or technical knowledge as it pertains to race cars, so I give complete reign of the racing side of the operation to Phil, and I couldn’t be more proud of what he has done for the No. 2 team,” Smeriglio said. “He’s been the best crew chief that I’ve ever had and hopefully we both retire together.”