Matt Kobyluck's top five Lee USA Speedway run ruined by late race spin. Mohegan Sun Racing Chevrolet driver Matt Kobyluck, of Uncasville, Connecticut, was within thirteen laps of getting his 2003 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North...
Matt Kobyluck's top five Lee USA Speedway run ruined by late race spin.
Mohegan Sun Racing Chevrolet driver Matt Kobyluck, of Uncasville, Connecticut, was within thirteen laps of getting his 2003 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season off just like he started his 2002 campaign, which ended with his finishing second in the championship standings. Running in the top five of Sunday's Freedom 150 at Lee (N.H.) USA Speedway, Kobyluck's race, and race car, were turned around by the sixth place car, sending Kobyluck spinning into the turn one wall and relegating him to a fifteenth place finish.
Kobyluck's Sunday was starting out on a high note after qualifying, where he posted the fourth fastest time (15.759 seconds) around the third-mile oval.
He settled into the fourth position at the start of the race and held that position through two early cautions. The third caution, which flew on lap 61, saw most of the leaders hit pit road for their only planned stop of the race. Kobyluck entered pit road fourth and picked up a position, restarting third of those cars that pitted, though there were four cars that did not pit restarting ahead of them.
Lapped traffic and caution flags were the two biggest characteristics of the race's second half. For the first time on a short track, restart procedures were changed to allow lapped cars to restart on the inside row while lead lap cars were on the outside row. This immediately mixed lapped cars with lead lap cars and proved to be problematic with lapped cars bringing out cautions. With this new challenge, Kobyluck drove patiently, moving back into the top five with just under fifty laps to go.
Still riding fifth, Kobyluck was just thirteen laps from the end of the race when he was hit and spun by Eddie MacDonald, who was later penalized for his part in the accident. Kobyluck spun high in turn one, striking the outside wall with his car's left rear corner. Caution came out and he drove to pit road where the damage was assessed and he returned to the race. He finished a disappointing fifteenth.
"We were just clicking off some laps," he said after the race. "We were looking at ending up fourth or fifth; maybe we could have got by one more car, we might not have. But with thirteen laps to go, the 17 [MacDonald] decided that he didn't want to race anymore, I guess. He drove into my left rear and spun me coming down into turn one, and that was pretty much the end of our day right there. I was hanging with Andy and Kelly coming back through after our pit stops, just clicking off laps. You never race until there's twenty laps to go, and when you get to ten to go that's when you let it all hang out. But you can't start wrecking cars and getting penalized. You take what you can get, and it may not be what you want that day, but it's what you got and you have to settle for that sometimes.
"Sometimes it takes a bigger person to settle for something than it does to make something better than what you've got, and you wind up getting penalized for wrecking another car," Kobyluck continued. "Hopefully they'll learn from it. We'll come back at Stafford. We've got a different car to run there, all brand-new equipment, and we'll put on a good show. It's one of our home tracks, and we'll run there looking for the win."
The second race of the season, at Connecticut's Stafford Motor Speedway, will be held on Friday, May 2nd.