Tire troubles haunt Matt Kobyluck throughout True Value 150 at Thunder Road. Matt Kobyluck's Mohegan Sun Racing team entered Saturday night's True Value 150 at Vermont's Thunder Road International Speedbowl as the NASCAR Busch North Series...
Tire troubles haunt Matt Kobyluck throughout True Value 150 at Thunder Road.
Matt Kobyluck's Mohegan Sun Racing team entered Saturday night's True Value 150 at Vermont's Thunder Road International Speedbowl as the NASCAR Busch North Series points leader, but a night of blown tires and on-track incidents on the tight quarter-mile track relegated him to a seventeenth place finish and third in the championship standings, though just ten points away from retaking the top spot.
Kobyluck's adventures in Vermont began early when a tire blew in the first practice session and he slid high off the track into a dirt embankment. The car was towed back to the pits and repairs began immediately.
"We picked something up on the track and the right front blew out," he said. "There was nothing we could do about it. It bent the sway bar, bent up all the radiator ductwork, and bent up the bracket that the radiator sits on in addition to a lot of cosmetic stuff. It put us behind and we missed one whole practice session."
With the car repaired, Kobyluck made his qualifying attempt and turned a time that had him start the race in the fourteenth position.
"For missing one practice session, I think we are doing all right," he said. "I think we have a decent car. We are just going to bide our time, be smart, and stay on the lead lap. That's all we need to do."
The race was only twenty-two laps old when Kobyluck blew another tire in about the same place on the track and again slid high in the fourth turn and stopped. Caution came out but before Kobyluck could get the car going again, the leaders had put him a lap down. Under caution, he came to pit road and the crew went to work making repairs and replacing the tire, without losing more laps.
"We blew out a right front, I don't know what happened," he said. "It was about twenty-five laps in after we worked our way up to tenth. We blew out the right front and we immediately went a lap down. We pitted and we tried to do the best we could."
Back on the track, Kobyluck was involved in a couple more on-track incidents, including one where he cut another tire.
"The 96 car spun me out on the frontstretch, I did a 360 on the frontstretch under green and I kept it going," he said. "Then the 0 car drove into me. He got into my right front and that must have punctured another tire since he had sheet metal hanging off his car. That tire started going down with a slow leak and at that point the 96 spun me out again, I don't know why. He just drove into the rear of me and spun me. I collected it and went back going again and just tired to salvage what I could out of here."
After a trying night on a short track, Kobyluck took the checkers with a seventeenth place finish.
"I like this track, it's a fun little race track to run, with a street stock or something," he said after the race. "But with Busch cars, there's just not enough room on that racetrack for us to be running two wide and not have somebody get off the bottom of turn four. It narrows up so much that nobody really knows if you're down low enough or up too high until it's too late. It's a tough little racetrack; it's fun, but it's tough to come out of here with your car in one piece.
"We got seventeenth, and that's about the best we could have expected here," Kobyluck continued. "The points got all swapped up now, we're back to third but Andy [Santerre, the new leader], Brad [Leighton, second place], and I are all within ten points of each other. I guess that'll be an interesting points battle to the end."
Next on the Mohegan Sun team's schedule is the make-up date for Beech Ridge, which had to call off its race on August 24th due to rain that fell after qualifying. Kobyluck, who finished second at Beech Ridge in June, will start that race from the fifteenth position.