Matt Kobyluck Eleventh At Dover Despite Losing Cylinder (Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - After suffering a crash trying to qualify for the NASCAR Busch Series race at Dover International Speedway Friday, Matt Kobyluck strapped right into his ...
Matt Kobyluck Eleventh At Dover Despite Losing Cylinder
(Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - After suffering a crash trying to qualify for the NASCAR Busch Series race at Dover International Speedway Friday, Matt Kobyluck strapped right into his NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series Mohegan Sun Chevrolet to run the MBNA America 150, a race that he won two years ago. He could not repeat that success on Friday, though, as engine troubles cost him speed and relegated him to an eleventh place finish.
In preparations for the Busch race, Kobyluck had turned practice laps that placed him 35th on the practice charts. If he were 35th after time trials, that would put him in the show. But during his qualifying attempt, things took a turn for the worse.
"I took the green flag and went into one and two and the car was just awesome," he said. "I came down the backstretch and I went down into three, thinking it was going to be an awesome lap, definitely in the top twenty, maybe even better, and the car just got free on me and started coming around. I tried to correct it but got the left front down on the apron trying to correct it. Things happen fast here and it was up in the wall in a hurry. Kenny Wallace and his guys had taped it and watched it quite a few times, and they came to me to tell me what happened. It turns out that the thing was free even before I got down into the corner. I watched their video, and that helped. I saw that I didn't get down on the apron and get the car free, it was already free before I got there. When you get free going into the corner at Dover, it's usually not going to be a good result, and it sure wasn't here."
Kobyluck put that incident behind him and got ready to run 150 laps in the Busch North car, which he qualified eleventh on Thursday. At the start of the race, he quickly jumped to fifth place, though he settled into sixth place, and then seventh, for most of the early going. But after about sixty laps, the Mohegan Sun Chevrolet started falling back as the car became loose with the fuel load being burned off. He fell out of the top ten, and then was lapped by the leader, just as the second caution of the event came out.
After taking on four fresh tires and gas, Kobyluck went out to try and make up his lost lap and get back into contention. But his engine wasn't answering the call.
"When the green flew I went up through the gears and lost a cylinder," he said. "It probably broke a valve spring or something, and the motor was on seven cylinders for the rest of the race. We came in again to make another adjustment and checked to make sure it wasn't just a plug wire falling off, which is something we had problems with in practice. We came in under caution and all the plug wires were on so we pretty much figured it was a valve spring, because if it was anything else, the motor wouldn't have made the rest of the race without blowing up."
Despite the engine not being up to full song, Kobyluck did not lose another lap during the balance of the event, and almost got the car in the top ten. He finished eleventh, picking up a position in the points standings to run seventh with one more race remaining.
"It's unfortunate that we couldn't contend for the win, but we're bringing one car home in one piece," he summarized. "It's not what we wanted out of this weekend, but we survived. If we didn't lose that cylinder we easily had a top five car. The five cars in front of me, they were right in front of me and I could pass them in the corners, though they'd drive away from me when it's time to get on the throttle."
Kobyluck will finish out the 2004 season at Wall Township Speedway in Wall, New Jersey, next Saturday, Oct. 2nd for a 150-lap event. He tested there a month ago and heads into the event with confidence that he can finish the season on a high note.