BNS: Nazareth: Race preview

After learning how to win at Nazareth Speedway in 2001, Busch North driver Matt Kobyluck brings confidence to Burnham Boiler 100, May 18. NAZARETH, Pa. (May 9, 2002) - A popular theory in NASCAR racing is that the last thing a driver and team ...

After learning how to win at Nazareth Speedway in 2001, Busch North driver Matt Kobyluck brings confidence to Burnham Boiler 100, May 18.

NAZARETH, Pa. (May 9, 2002) - A popular theory in NASCAR racing is that the last thing a driver and team learn is how to win. Chassis setup, pit strategy, handling lapped traffic, and a dozen other skills finally fall into place and victory becomes a realistic goal every time the green flag drops.

Long-time Winston Cup fans remember how Harry Gant and Mark Martin struggled to find the winning combination, but once they reached victory lane the first time, the wins started to pile up. On the Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring, Mike Olsen found that "sweet spot" in 2001, and it carried him to a series title. Now Matt Kobyluck and the Mohegan Sun Chevrolet team seem to be on the verge of becoming regular contenders after learning how to win at Nazareth Speedway in the latter stages of the 2001 campaign.

The Busch North Series returns to Nazareth's unique five-turn, one-mile oval for the Burnham Boiler 100 on Saturday, May 18, a change from the midsummer appearances of years past. The Busch North Series race will be the first event of a weekend tripleheader which also features the Stacker 2 200 for the NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division and the Service Electric 100 for the Featherlite Modified Series, NASCAR Touring on Sunday. Practice and Bud Pole Qualifying for the Burnham Boiler 100 is set for Friday, May 17. The Burnham Boiler 100 is the second of seven Busch North Series, NASCAR Turing events to be televised nationally by SPEED Channel in 2002.

Matt Kobyluck fashioned his 2001 Nazareth win by choosing track position over fresh tires when the other leaders stopped. Dale Shaw, who had led most of the first half of the 100 laps, charged back to second but the effort took a toll on his tires and he was eventually relegated to third behind Paul Wolfe."Last year, Nazareth taught us a lot about patience, about how to feel the car out and save a little bit, not to run 100 percent all the time, to use it when you need to and save it when you need to," Kobyluck reflected. "It was a breakthrough for us and we're looking forward to going back," he added.

Making Kobyluck's first win even more impressive is the fact that Nazareth is perhaps the most demanding track on the Busch North Series. No two turns are the same and most of the track runs either uphill or downhill. Turn two, which sweeps almost blind over the brow of a hill, has been likened to the toughest corners on the classic Grand Prix circuits.

"Everybody refers to it as being like a road course," Matt Kobyluck observed. "I think they do that because you have to be alert every millisecond of the time. There are more turns than a normal circle track, and its much less forgiving than a normal circle track. It's more like a road course where if you miss your point, the whole lap is junk. To keep your attention, to hit your points every single lap, that's what you do on a road course, and that's what you have to do at Nazareth."

Crew chiefs will need to be at the top of their game in the Burnham Boiler 100, too, since their existing chassis setup logs will be obsolete. The race is not being run in midsummer's heat for the first time, and it marks the first Nazareth outing for the Busch North Series on Goodyear Eagle tires. While his 2001 triumph was built around the no-stop strategy, Kobyluck expects that to change in 2002. "Our game plan is more than likely to come in and take tires at Nazareth because it will probably make a difference," he declared.

Why abandon a tactic that helped to bring victory just nine months ago? That's the confidence that comes from learning how to win.

-nascar-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Paul Wolfe , Matt Kobyluck , Harry Gant , Mark Martin