Richie Coy turned a disappointing start to the season into a cinderella story this past Saturday evening at the Waterford Speedbowl, as he took down his first ever NEMA Lites victory, extending the Coy legacy into NEMA’s record books.
Coy’s father, Johnny, retired from racing in 1992, after driving for the late Carl Kibbe – and had two NEMA wins to his credit. His uncle, Joey Coy, had three NEMA championships and fifteen NEMA wins throughout the years. Coy bested an impressive field at the New London Waterford Speedbowl enroute to his first victory.
When the feature took the track, Coy and Jim Cataldo brought the field to the green flag. Coy blasted out into the lead, setting a pace in the low 14 second bracket in the early stages of the race. Further back, Meg Cugini moved into second, and for a number of laps appeared to be closing the gap on Coy, running the second best time in the feature event of 14.179 seconds. At the halfway point, Cugini trailed Coy by .9/00th’s of a second.
One of the most impressive runs of the feature was the young Ryan Locke, running a feature best 14.034, as he was moving through the field. As the laps wound down, the green to checkered run continued, Coy, Cugini and Locke staying evenly spaced, and the feature wound finish in that order. Cugini would end up second, followed by Locke, Ryan Bigelow, Dan Cugini, Chad Labastie, Todd Bertrand, Ben Mikitarian, Alan Chambers and Jim Cataldo.
“This year has been a roller-coaster, we started at Thompson – terrible, probably worse race day I’ve ever had. From then on we have slowly rebuilt the car piece by piece. Every week we found another and would fix it. We even remounted the seat after Seekonk. Then we started finishing races and learning. We continued to make changes to the car and get better. It’s been a long season,” said Coy. “Last night was awesome. I’m not sure anyone was more surprised than we were. We were shooting for another top 5, to win was unbelievable,” he said.
“When we took the green, Jim jumped out first down the front stretch and I drove down into 1 knowing that if I wanted a good finish I needed to pass him. So I drove it in hard and it stuck and I came out of 2 leading. From that part I drove the race thinking everyone was 3 wide behind me looking for me to make a mistake. The race went quick, first thing I noticed was half way. Then I caught some lap cars, one of them almost spun in front of me. The next thing I see is 2 to go… Then it was, no way!!! I’m still leading, don’t screw up these next 2 laps. I guess I did ok and when I saw the checkered i couldn’t believe it, probably the most excited I’ve been for a win in a long time… I got my first ever feature win at Waterford in a tq back in 1994,” said Coy.
The NEMA Lites pick back up their schedule with a 65 lap special feature at Wiscassett on September 23rd in Wiscassett, Maine.