Crash ends Matt Kobyluck's day early at New Hampshire Matt Kobyluck, driver of the No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet, came into New Hampshire International Speedway's New England 125 with momentum on his side. Second in points and closing in on ...
Crash ends Matt Kobyluck's day early at New Hampshire
Matt Kobyluck, driver of the No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet, came into New Hampshire International Speedway's New England 125 with momentum on his side. Second in points and closing in on championship leader Andy Santerre, Kobyluck had a rebuilt car and a good test session at the one-mile track in his arsenal for Saturday's race. But Kobyluck was late to the pre-race driver's meeting, forcing him to give up his fifth place starting position to go to the rear of the field. Because of this, he was caught up in an accident on the frontstretch, ending his race just 23 laps in. He was classified as 38th in the final rundown.
Driving the car that was crashed heavily at Phoenix in February and rebuilt, Kobyluck showed the car was still fast as he was third fastest in the first practice, and second best in the second practice. In time trials, he took the fifth starting position with a fast lap of 30.466 seconds (125.018 MPH) around the 1.017-mile oval.
"We've been progressing all day," he said after qualifying. "We turned a quicker lap in qualifying than we did in practice. I honestly thought we were going to be a little bit quicker. We took some gear out of it for qualifying because I thought we were running out of steam at the end of the straightaway, but that wasn't the case. All in all, we qualified fifth, we put some gear back in it for the race, and we should be in good shape."
In Saturday morning's final practice, Kobyluck was again third fastest.
After that practice, though, things took a turn for the worse. Kobyluck was just a few minutes late to the mandatory drivers meeting, and as required by the rules, had to start the race at the rear of the field. He and Mike Johnson, another driver who had to start in the back due to having to go to a back-up car, hooked up and started racing to the front. After just ten laps of racing, Kobyluck was already halfway through the field. He continued moving up as twenty laps were in the books, but trouble was ahead.
Paul Wolfe and Brandon Miller tangled coming off turn four, and Wolfe spun across the track. Kobyluck had nowhere to go and collected Wolfe's car, with both careening into the inside wall. Kobyluck was quickly out of his car uninjured, but the car was heavily damaged. It was taken to the garage area where the damage was assessed to be too severe to continue, and the Uncasville, Connecticut driver was done for the day. His 38th place finish knocked him down to seventh in the points standings.
"The day just started off bad and ended bad," he said after the race. "I shot myself in the foot right off the bat this morning by being late for the drivers meeting and put myself at the tail of the field. Things just got worse from there. I have nobody to blame but myself for how we ended up today. Granted, I had no place to go on the track when the wreck happened, but if I had made it to the drivers meeting on time I would have never been back there to get involved in that. That's how I'm looking at the whole weekend.
"We qualified great, we had the Mohegan Sun car running great all weekend long," Kobyluck continued. "We had a fast car in practice on Thursday, a fast car in qualifying, a fast car in practice Saturday morning, and a fast car in the first however many laps we ran out here. I was hoping to be able to just skate up through without getting into a mess like that, and I made it through one on the backstretch where there were cars spinning all over the place, but I just had no place to go in that one. The driver of the 9 car [Wolfe] told me his spotter told him that he was clear, and he wasn't, and I was just a victim of circumstances. But I'm also taking blame for everything myself this weekend because I shouldn't have been late to the drivers meeting and that was just a product of my negligence earlier on in the day."
Kobyluck will look to rebound next Saturday night at Waterford Speedbowl, which is just a couple miles from his team's headquarters.
"We'll go to Waterford next week, a nice short track, a nice short trip from home, my home track, we'll go out there and give it everything we've got," he said. "We've been running good, and we'll just try to keep going. We've been chasing the points and we let it get away from us today, but we'll be back."