MATT KOBYLUCK TOPS BUSCH EAST SERIES AT THOMPSON; TAKES OVER SERIES LEAD AS CAISSE IS FIRST CAR OUT OF RACE; BRIAN HOAR SECOND; CHARLES LEWANDOSKI CAREER-BEST THIRD THOMPSON, Conn. -- Matt Kobyluck won his first NASCAR Grand...
MATT KOBYLUCK TOPS BUSCH EAST SERIES AT THOMPSON; TAKES OVER SERIES LEAD AS CAISSE IS FIRST CAR OUT OF RACE; BRIAN HOAR SECOND; CHARLES LEWANDOSKI CAREER-BEST THIRD
THOMPSON, Conn. -- Matt Kobyluck won his first NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race of the season, the Pepsi Busch East 100 at Thompson International Speedway Thursday night, and took over the series point lead. He took the lead when Sean Caisse suffered drivetrain failure after leading the first 13 laps. Caisse, the former point leader, was scored 28th and last in the field.
Brian Hoar chased Kobyluck to the checkered flag, less than half a second behind, with Charles Lewandoski recording a career-best third place finish. Mike Johnson was fourth, Bryon Chew fifth, and Mike Olsen sixth. Dave Dion, Jamie Aube, Ruben Pardo, and John Salemi completed the top ten.
Caisse won his third consecutive Busch Pole Award and looked strong in the lead before suddenly slowing on the front straight and pulling into an auxiliary pit entrance. Kobyluck was never headed from that point, but did have to fight off side-by-side challenges from Hoar on half a dozen restarts. "He could stay with us for four or five laps, but then we started to pull away," the winner stated, adding "Brian's a good driver and he raced me clean. I appreciate that.
Lewandoski was a strong climber from his eleventh starting position, moving into third place after dueling with Johnson just after the halfway mark. Kobyluck and Hoar were just too strong for the second-year driver who had never scored a top ten until the 2006 season opener. Chew and Olsen enlivened the final 10 circuits with a battle resolved in Chew's favor on the last lap.
Aube earned the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award for finishing eighth after starting in the last row. Hoar was the Featherlite Most Improved Driver, topping last week's finish by 16 positions. In addition to recording his first career top ten, Pardo was the top Sunoco Rookie contender.
Seven caution periods for 45 laps slowed the action as 23 of 28 starters finished, 18 of them on the lead lap. Kobyluck averaged 60.935 miles per hour and won $6,500 for his ninth career Busch East Series triumph.
Kobyluck unofficially leads Olsen by 14 points heading into next Saturday's Local Dodge Dealers 150 at Lake Erie Speedway in North East, Pa.