MATT KOBYLUCK ACCEPTS ROLE OF FAVORITE BUT PUTS THE ACCENT ON PERFORMANCE IN HIS QUEST FOR THE 2006 NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, BUSCH EAST SERIES TITLE DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 8, 2005) - Matt Kobyluck has always stood out from the crowd in...
MATT KOBYLUCK ACCEPTS ROLE OF FAVORITE BUT PUTS THE ACCENT ON PERFORMANCE IN HIS QUEST FOR THE 2006 NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, BUSCH EAST SERIES TITLE
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 8, 2005) - Matt Kobyluck has always stood out from the crowd in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series. At 6-foot-5 and driving a car whose livery mixes shades of gold and purple with black, it's hard to blend into the scenery.
Now the 36-year old driver from Uncasville, Conn. has another reason to attract attention. By most accounts, whether from media pundits, internet polls, or the teams preparing their own cars for the forthcoming campaign, Kobyluck is the pre-season favorite for the 2006 title.
His credentials? After finishing third in the 2005 standings, he's the highest-ranking driver returning for a full season. He also led the circuit in victories in '05 and captured the Busch Pole Award championship. His Mohegan Sun Chevrolet team returns with its personnel, led by crew chief Perry Waite, virtually intact. And in April he showed the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series field the fast line around Phoenix International Raceway for 45 laps until engine trouble put him behind the wall.
Kobyluck and the rest of the Busch East Series teams open their season, and inaugurate the new identity of the former Busch North Series, at the historic Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C. on Saturday, June 10. The half-mile oval, which played host to the first live, flag-to-flag NASCAR national telecast in 1971, will this time be covered live in high-definition by HDNet, with an enhanced replay to follow on SPEED.
Like football coaches, race drivers differ when it comes to the role of favorite. Some wear it as badge of honor, while others seek to hide from the limelight and expound on the reasons they shouldn't even be considered a contender. Kobyluck chooses to let the speculation pass him by. "Being a pre-season favorite doesn't amount to much," he said, adding "I guess if we perform as well as we did last year, we have a good shot at the championship, but it's all about the performance out on the track. We have to get the job done out there."
"It's not really a disadvantage," Kobyluck continued, speaking of his pre-season status. "Everybody has expectations, but a lot of times those expectations are based on things that happen out on the race track which you don't have control over. We're going to go out there and try as hard as we had already planned to do."
While the long haul to Phoenix and back for April's AutoZone West Series race at PIR's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend only produced 30th place in the final boxscore, Matt Kobyluck considers his own spring training in Arizona to be time, money, and effort well spent. "We learned a lot as far as chassis, aerodynamics, and team chemistry," he declared. "The team was able to get back into the groove of getting out on the track, doing pit stops, and being ready for race time. Our performance out there was exactly what we wanted."
"We were leading the race and dominating until the engine went on us, so although we didn't get the results we wanted, we got the performance we wanted, which is a good indication for our Busch East season," he explained.
Pre-season favorites from Tiger Woods to Joe Torre are always asked about the pressure that comes with the expectation of success. Matt Kobyluck, who combines the roles of executive with his family's wide-ranging construction and transportation business, active spokesman for his sponsor, and father to a growing family with his racing career, offered a simple answer.
"I work well under pressure," he said. "Trust me, the least amount of pressure in my life is being out on the race track."