Matt Kobyluck Salvages Tenth From Tough Thompson Race (THOMPSON, CONN. - May 22, 2004) - Matt Kobyluck has two top-ten finishes to start his 2004 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series campaign, though the most recent, a tenth place...
Matt Kobyluck Salvages Tenth From Tough Thompson Race
(THOMPSON, CONN. - May 22, 2004) - Matt Kobyluck has two top-ten finishes to start his 2004 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series campaign, though the most recent, a tenth place in Saturday's Pepsi Racing 150 at Thompson International Speedway, came at a much higher price in the form of a heavily damaged race car.
The Uncasville, Connecticut driver was happy with how his Mohegan Sun Chevrolet was reacting to changes in practice, and stepped it up in qualifying, taking the sixth starting position on a cool track under the constant threat of rain.
"The track got really slick between the time we practiced and when we qualified," he said. "Everybody lost time compared to what they were running in practice. We could have been a little bit better, but we could have been a heck of a lot worse. We have a great car, so I'm looking forward to getting into the race and running some laps because the car was really consistent and really balanced. We found some different ways to make the car react the way I want it to. That's a great thing, because now if we do the same thing in the future, we'll get the same results. I'm excited because I can go out there and get up on the wheel and really drive the car."
Kobyluck certainly did get up on the wheel in the race's opening laps, going quickly to fourth before five laps were in the books and then moving up to third on lap 19 when early leader Brian Hoar crashed. He continued in third to the first pit stop, where a tight pit road caused him to lose some positions.
"On pit road, we have small pit boxes," he explained. "The 74 [Ryan Moore] was pitting behind me but he was running in front of me on the racetrack. When he made his stop he overshot his pit box and was half into mine, so when I came in I had to overshoot my pit box and I was half in the 61's [Mike Olsen] pit box. The official made me back up so I was in my box before they could do any work, but I couldn't because the 74 was there, so I was pitting at a bad angle, and then the 61 pulled in and blocked me in. After my tires were changed, I had to back up and then pull out of the pits, and we wound up losing a couple positions in the pits."
Back on the track in seventh place, Kobyluck showed he still had a top-three car as he charged to fifth and challenged for fourth before caution put a temporary halt to that race. When the race returned to green, he resumed his battle with Joey McCarthy for fourth, but found the going tough there.
"We were running fifth right behind the 8 car and he had a really loose car," Kobyluck said. "He got into the wall a couple times, and I'd try to get alongside him but he'd come down into my car, so I got away from him to let him recover. I had passed him once but the caution came out and the officials put him back ahead of me. After the restart it appeared he was giving me the high line so I got outside of him, but he drifted right out and drove me into the wall. It sent me right up into the outside wall when we got to turn three."
While heavily damaged, Kobyluck's car continued running and he brought it to pit road for quick repairs before what turned into a green-white-checker finish. By staying on the lead lap, he managed a tenth place finish.
"We had a great car tonight, we had a great shot at a top-three finish," he said. "You're going to have nights where you don't have a good race car and you have to accept that and drive within it, and I don't think other drivers accepted that tonight. But we salvaged a tenth out of that, and I'm still not sure how we did that. We'll move on to Lime Rock and go for the win there."
Lime Rock Park hosts its annual Busch North race on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend this year, and Kobyluck, who has proven to be among the fastest cars at the 1.53-mile road course in recent years, expects to continue that performance on Saturday.