Matt Kobyluck wins MBNA 150 at Dover International Speedway. Matt Kobyluck passed Paul Wolfe for the lead with just twelve laps from the end to win the MBNA All American Heroes 150, a NASCAR Busch North Series race held Friday afternoon at the...
Matt Kobyluck wins MBNA 150 at Dover International Speedway.
Matt Kobyluck passed Paul Wolfe for the lead with just twelve laps from the end to win the MBNA All American Heroes 150, a NASCAR Busch North Series race held Friday afternoon at the one-mile Dover International Speedway. The win was the second of the year for Kobyluck, an Uncasville, Connecticut native, and his third of his Busch North career. It enabled the driver of the Mohegan Sun Chevrolet to take over second place in the series championship standings, and he now stands just 28 points behind the leader with just two races left to run.
Kobyluck unloaded a new car at Dover and after only a few laps of practice he knew he had a good car for the race.
"This is a Billy Hess standard snout car, and that is an awesome race car," he said. "I've never ran that style car, but that car was awesome right from the time it came off the truck. I was so comfortable behind the wheel. The traffic never bothered me, the speed never bothered me, nothing even fazed me because i was so comfortable behind the wheel."
Following two hours of practice on Thursday afternoon, Kobyluck was third on the speed charts. Up next was qualifying, where he was again third. In final practice, he was fourth, but the team was working on making sure the car would work well on long runs.
"We had a fast car off the truck and parlayed that into a third place qualifying effort," he said before the race. "On a long run we have a real good car. It's real consistent, real stable. We're definitely going to race for the win today. We've got one of two or three cars to beat today. We're going to go out there, run what's handed to us, get our pit stop done, gain track position if we can, just click off some laps, and be in contention to win this thing."
Through the opening laps of the race on Friday, Kobyluck ran third but took over second spot from Dale Quarterley just before the first yellow of the day which occured on lap 21. When the race resumed, he fell to third briefly but fought Quarterley side-by-side for second place for a number of laps until taking over the position for good on lap 55.
Caution flew on lap 64 and Kobyluck pitted along with the rest of the lead lap cars. Rules prevented four-tire pit stops so he took on right-side tires and fuel, then came around again and the crew replaced the left-side tires. He resumed the race in eleventh, behind many cars that had not made second pit stops.
At the race's halfway point, Kobyluck was in eighth but was making up ground on those who had fewer fresh tires. He moved to fifth on lap 87, then fourth six laps later. He moved to third, then second with less than fifty laps remaining. While Quarterley's car, which was down a lap, dogged the two leaders, Kobyluck was working on finding out where the leading Wolfe was weaker. The two leaders eventually let Quarterley go and resumed their battle.
Kobyluck was on Wolfe's back bumper on lap 133, but stayed in line until four laps later. He pulled low heading out of turn two and, using a lapped car as a pick, completed the pass for the lead in turn three of lap 138. The only thing between Kobyluck and victory was lapped traffic, and he handled them well as he built a winning margin of .480 seconds.
"I could see that I was gaining on Paul in turns one and two," he said. "I could see he was a little tighter in the middle and I could get a run on the bottom underneath him. I just lurked back there for a while and waited till things sorted out. I stayed back there as long as I needed to and used a pick and roll type move. We got up on Billy Penfold through one and two and that slowed both of us up pretty good, but I was able to diamond the corner quicker than Paul did and got on the throttle quicker to get a run on him down the backstretch. I knew Billy would drop way down so me and Paul could stay side by side going into turn three. I used that to get by him.
"I never thought that I wasn't going to win," Kobyluck continued. "I don't get a big kick out of leading a lot of laps. What I do enjoy is following people and finding out where their weak spots are, and not showing all my cards until I need to. I had a better car than Paul and I was just kind of hanging back there waiting for the right time to get by him, and I knew that once I got by him, he would have used up his stuff and I would pull away from him. I like doing that. I like figuring out where people are at their worst, and running them hard and making them use up their stuff, and then take advantage of it at the end. When I do go by them, they're not going to give me any trouble once I get by them. I'm going to pull away from them and I'm going to win."
Kobyluck now looks forward to the final two races of the year, both in Connecticut, to settle the championship.
"We're going to take this championship by storm if we have to," he said. "We're going to do everything we have to do. We're going back to Stafford and I've definitely got a hot rod for there. We're really looking forward to going back there and then to Lime Rock. If our performance at Lime Rock is like it was at Watkins Glen, we're going to give them everything we've got. Hopefully we'll be able to perform well enough at Stafford to take the point lead back over, and cruise into the championship at Lime Rock."
The next to last 2002 NASCAR Busch North Series race will be held at the half-mile Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Connecticut on Sunday afternoon, September 29th.