Broken Axle Leads To Matt Kobyluck's Retirement From Lime Rock Race (Lime Rock, Conn. - May 29, 2004) - Matt Kobyluck is a driver to be reckoned with every time the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series goes to a road course, which...
Broken Axle Leads To Matt Kobyluck's Retirement From Lime Rock Race
(Lime Rock, Conn. - May 29, 2004) - Matt Kobyluck is a driver to be reckoned with every time the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series goes to a road course, which it does twice a year. The Uncasville, Connecticut driver is consistently at the top of practice and qualifying charts, but he has yet to get his first road course win.
In his latest attempt to rectify that situation, he ran as high as second in Saturday's Lime Rock 200K at Lime Rock Park before an early spin got him behind, and late-race contact broke an axle that forced his retirement from the event after 58 of 82 laps.
"It's unfortunate because this Mohegan Sun car was just outstanding. We definitely had a car capable of winning, and I would have loved to have been up there to compete with Brad Leighton and Dale Quarterley for the win," he said after the race.
Kobyluck's Mohegan Sun Chevrolet was robbed of a chance at winning a road course Busch Pole Award due to rain falling throughout Friday morning forcing the weekend schedule to be jumbled and qualifying to be eliminated. The field was set by final 2003 points, which meant Kobyluck would start the race in the ninth position.
At the start of the race, Kobyluck quickly rose to run sixth, then moved up to fifth when another front-runner spun on lap 11. As other cars made their fuel stops, Kobyluck ran as high as second before he made his own stop on lap 18. After almost everyone made their stops, he was third behind Mike Stefanik, who hadn't pitted yet, and Mike Olsen.
When Kobyluck saw an opportunity to take second place from Olsen on lap 28, he had his first encounter with trouble.
"I had rode behind him for a few laps," he explained. "I was faster than he was but I was trying to be patient, since we were second and third at the time. I downshifted into third, then I tried downshifting into second but the shifter jammed up on me and I couldn't get it into second. When I did get it into second, the car started to wheel-hop and I ended up spinning off course."
Kobyluck recovered but lost many positions and track position, though a lap 32 caution allowed him to catch up to the rest of the field while running back in 19th. He made a pit stop to have the car checked out and returned to the race. He made his biggest moves towards the front of the field after a lap 47 restart, going all the way up to twelfth when caution flew again on lap 54. The race returned to green on lap 57, but the field got jumbled, cars got into each other, and that led to a mechanical failure that the Mohegan Sun Racing team couldn't repair.
"Somebody missed a shift or something on that restart and everyone was scrambling, everyone was diving to the inside. I went to the outside where nobody else was running. I went by two or three cars going into the first turn and somebody just drilled me in the left rear and broke the axle, and the axle was stuck inside the housing so we couldn't get it out. That was the end of our day."
Kobyluck was frustrated by not being able to finish the race.
"I guess sometimes you put yourself in situations that you're not supposed to be in, sometimes you do things that contribute to it," he said. "I'll take the blame for being where I was when the axle broke because I messed up going into turn one earlier in the race when the shifter jammed up on me. That's the way it goes sometimes."
Those that missed the live broadcast of the race on HDNet will have another opportunity to see it again as it's replayed on SpeedTV on Saturday, June 19th at 11:00 a.m. The next race for Kobyluck and the Busch North Series will be on Saturday, June 12th at the third-mile Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway, located just outside of Providence, R.I.