Matt Kobyluck's NASCAR Busch Series Debut Ends Early (Loudon, N.H. - July 24, 2004) - Uncasville, Connecticut's Matt Kobyluck had higher hopes for his first race in the NASCAR Busch Series than to finish 34th. Even after an early race spin left...
Matt Kobyluck's NASCAR Busch Series Debut Ends Early
(Loudon, N.H. - July 24, 2004) - Uncasville, Connecticut's Matt Kobyluck had higher hopes for his first race in the NASCAR Busch Series than to finish 34th. Even after an early race spin left his Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino Chevrolet damaged, he had a competitive car capable of carrying him to the finish of the Siemens 200. But contact from another car entering turn one forced him to spin into the first turn wall, ending his race at the halfway point.
Kobyluck, who had qualified for the race 29th fastest out of fifty entries, saw his race take a turn for the worse on just the second lap.
"Right off the bat the car was pretty decent, I got by a few people right after the initial green and kept getting by more people," he explained. "But I was trying to follow Johnny Sauter on the outside and I got into the corner and got up out of the groove and lost it all by myself. That was my fault, I turned it around and I got into the fence a little bit."
No caution came out for Kobyluck's spin, so he got right back to racing and only four laps after the spin he was catching and passing cars in the back of the field. While he was fighting his way back from being 43rd, the leaders approached and he gave them a lane to go by without holding them up.
The first opportunity to pit came on lap 30 when Kobyluck was running 33rd and a lap down. The Mohegan Sun crew was called into action to repair the damaged left rear corner of the car, add fuel and raise the track bar. The time required to fix the sheet metal meant Kobyluck could not beat the pace car to the end of pit road, and he lost a second lap before he could rejoin the race, with the additional disadvantage of not being able to come in and replace tires as the race was about to return to green.
As the race crossed one-fourth distance, Kobyluck was fighting a tight race car, and was adjusting his brake bias from the cockpit to try and improve his corner entry. He lost a third lap on the track just before the second caution came out on lap 63, but he wasn't worried about that, instead concentrating on what would be changed on the pit stop. In the pits, the team changed all four tires, added a spring rubber to the right rear, went up on the track bar, and did some more crash repair.
Back to racing, Kobyluck found the car to be vastly improved. He was up to 32nd place and gaining experience running in traffic. He even was the beneficiary of the "Lucky Dog" rule that gives the best car not on the lead lap a lap back under each caution, and he took the lap 94 restart just two laps down.
Kobyluck had wanted to line up on the inside lane of that restart, but rules state that the recipient of the "Lucky Dog" pass must restart at the rear of the field. This put him back in traffic, running with, among others, Ashton Lewis Jr. in the No. 46 car.
"The 46 was low and I was trying to get by on the outside of him going into the first turn," he said of the lap 99 incident that forced Kobyluck's retirement. "I don't know what happened with him, whether he messed up or whatever, but he locked up his brakes going in, smoking the tires, and got into my left rear. It spun me out and I backed it into the fence."
Kobyluck was unhurt, but he was done for the remainder of the race. Up until that point, though, he had been enjoying a good, clean race.
"I was just trying to run some laps and get some seat time," he said. "As the lead laps cars were coming, I was moving over and letting them by, just like I'd expect to happen to me in that same situation. I wasn't up to speed to race with the leaders, so I wasn't going to try to get in their way and race with them. I pulled over and let them go.
"But when you're running in traffic, if you're faster than them, you're faster than them, and if you're not, you let them go," he continued. "But when you're racing for 25th or 28th position or wherever the 46 was at that point, there's no need to be getting crazy and missing your marks on the racetrack and taking out other cars. There's no need for that."
Kobyluck, who is also contending the full NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series schedule to chase that championship, expects to make his second NASCAR Busch Series start of the season in September at the one-mile Dover International Speedway.