Matt Kobyluck made the most of the last half of Saturday night's 150-lap NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race at Holland International Speedway, going from ninth to challenging for second by using the little-used bottom groove...
Matt Kobyluck made the most of the last half of Saturday night's 150-lap NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series race at Holland International Speedway, going from ninth to challenging for second by using the little-used bottom groove of the high-banked track to finish third in his Mohegan Sun Chevrolet.
Kobyluck, who finished fourth in this race last year, brought out a brand new race car instead of the short-track car he's run at previous races this year. The car responded well right out of the trailer, qualifying seventh.
"We wanted to try something different," he said. "The last couple years here we've had a top-five car, but never a car good enough to win. We wanted to change something and come back and see if a different car would make a difference.
"We're doing pretty good here considering we have a brand new car here," Kobyluck continued. "All in all, qualifying seventh, I'm not too unhappy with that. Obviously, we always want to be better, but we'll just make a little bit of an adjustment for the race. We know what our weakest link is right now, and we'll throw something at it and see how it works in the race."
At the start of the race, the third place car didn't get up to speed quickly, backing up the entire inside lane. Kobyluck went back to tenth before things settled down. Riding ninth at the halfway point, Kobyluck began working his way back to the front, using the inside lane which few other cars were using successfully to pass.
Kobyluck was up to sixth under caution with fifty laps to run. Four laps after the restart, he was past Tim Andrews for fifth, and just a few laps after that, passed Mike Stefanik for fourth. Following the final caution, he looked underneath third place Mike Olsen, but was denied. He regrouped and, ten laps later, tried again to pass Olsen. He was successful, but only had a handful of laps left in the race. He caught second-place Kelly Moore and tried to get underneath him, but cold not complete the pass before the race ended, having him settle for third.
"The car really came in there," he said afterwards. "We found a groove that really worked for us down on the bottom of the racetrack, and I could really get in the corners real good. I needed just a little more grip up off, but I was gentle on the throttle all night and saved the right rear tire, and I was able to just stay underneath people and wear them out. I caught Dave Dion when he and Mike Olsen were racing, and Mike went around Dave on the outside. I went to follow Mike and when I went to follow Mike, Dave moved up and got me in the left front. Right when that happened, the 22 [eventual race winner Joey McCarthy] went right underneath me, and that was all he needed for the win. At the end we were a little faster than the leader, but he got the right break at the right time and that's usually what it takes to win on these short tracks."
Kobyluck had a shot at second place, but just couldn't pull off a pass underneath Kelly Moore.
"When you get down on the bottom like that, you've really got to be easy on the throttle getting off the corner, and if you're running the high line you can get on the throttle harder because you're diamonding the race track and getting a good run off," he said. "I could get in underneath him, just like I ran alongside the 61 [Olsen] for a number of the laps. I could get in underneath him and stay there, but they'd get a little run on the straightaways, and you have to be really patient because it could take ten laps to pass somebody. Kelly and Mike ran me clean, and I just had a boatload of fun out there tonight. To bring out a brand new car that has never been on a racetrack before, and to have no problems and come home third, it speaks volumes to how hard my guys work in the shop putting cars together. The Mohegan Sun team is back in action."
Kobyluck returns to race in two weeks when the Busch North Series makes its annual stop at the Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway.