Mohegan Sun Racing's Matt Kobyluck has suffered the cruel fate of bad racing luck in the last three weeks, robbing him of good finishes in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series in races where he had top-five qualifying runs in...
Mohegan Sun Racing's Matt Kobyluck has suffered the cruel fate of bad racing luck in the last three weeks, robbing him of good finishes in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series in races where he had top-five qualifying runs in cars that were capable of winning those races. After disappointments at New Hampshire International Speedway and the Waterford Speedbowl, Kobyluck hoped to turn things around at the third-mile Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway, where he came into the race as its defending winner.
Kobyluck posted competitive practice times in the afternoon sessions (seventh and fifth fastest in the two sessions), and made a bid for his second consecutive Bud Pole Award with a 13.160-second (91.094 MPH) lap in time trials, but when qualifying was complete, he wound up fourth on the starting grid.
"This is a totally different style of chassis than we've ever ran here before," he said. "So we're trying something different and it seems to be responding pretty good to what we're doing, so we're going to go with it. We qualified fourth, and we can't complain about a top-five qualifying effort, so we'll see how it shakes out in the race."
Kobyluck detailed the difference between the car run on Saturday and the other short-track cars in the Mohegan Sun Racing stable.
"The front end on it is different. We normally run a drop-snout here and we brought a car with a standard snout. Only because the car that we normally run here we tore up at Waterford. We didn't have a choice really, because the other short-track car we have is the backup road course car and we didn't want to change that back over after we already set it up for Watkins Glen."
Kobyluck, running fifth just a few laps into the race, became a victim of circumstances when Mike Olsen spun out of a battle for the lead in front of the whole pack. Mike Stefanik, running just in front of Kobyluck, slowed but Kobyluck couldn't react in time, and ran into the back of Stefanik's car. The damage to the nose of Kobyluck's car required many pit stops to fix, but he remained in the race and on the lead lap.
As the race continued, Kobyluck tried moving back up through the pack but found traffic difficult, and even suffered a cut tire through contact with other cars. But he persevered through to the end of the race, finishing on the lead lap but only in fourteenth place.
"I don't know what happened with the 61 [Olsen] and whoever he was running with, but he spun," he said after the race. "I was running right behind Stefanik, running bumper-to-bumper, and he checked up to not hit Olsen because he could see that he was stating to spin. I couldn't stop fast enough and ended up getting into the back of him, and the night just went sour from there. The nose is all bashed in. From that point on, the toe got screwed up, and it was just a long night struggling through it."
Kobyluck will try to put aside his last three finishes and look to rebound in next Saturday's Mohegan Sun 150 Presented by Pepsi, the Busch North race which will be held as the feature Saturday event of Watkins Glen International's Winston Cup weekend.
"There's really no pressure on me," he said of running in the race that bears his team's sponsor's name. "They make it a non-pressure situation where they sponsor the race as a separate deal from their sponsoring my team. But it's a great thing for the whole series to have one of the primary sponsors of one of the teams in the series to put up the money to be the primary sponsor of that race. There's a good purse, and it should be a good race. It's only fitting that the Mohegan Sun casino, a world-class resort and casino be involved with one of the most high-profile Busch North races of the season."