Matt Kobyluck, driving the Mohegan Sun Racing Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, made his first trip to the high-banked one-mile Dover Downs International Speedway. Despite having limited practice time due to rainy weather and this being...
Matt Kobyluck, driving the Mohegan Sun Racing Chevrolet on the NASCAR Busch North Series, made his first trip to the high-banked one-mile Dover Downs International Speedway. Despite having limited practice time due to rainy weather and this being his first time on the intimidating concrete track, he put together a strong run that resulted in a seventh place finish, his sixth top ten finish of the season.
Rain complicated the task of trying to get accustomed to the track on Thursday, and Kobyluck only got 25 laps of practice before the race. Qualifying was also rained out, and Kobyluck was given the twelfth starting position in accordance with his standings in the championship points.
"The car was great in practice, we were fifth fastest on the chart," Kobyluck said before the race. "The car was actually faster than I was I think, because I wasn't that familiar with the track, but I was getting faster with every lap. Right now I think there's still a little more in the car that I'm going to find throughout the race. The track was a little intimidating the first time out there, and it takes a little getting used to since we're going a lot faster than we're accustomed to and there's a lot more banking. You don't really use that much brake and you're on the throttle a whole heck of a lot. It took a little to get used to but I adapted pretty quick, we picked up a lot of time from when we unloaded off the truck yesterday just by getting laps on the track. I know there's a few more tenths out on the track that I haven't found yet that I'll find during the race."
Kobyluck quickly came to the top ten and held there until his first pit stop at lap 40. He came out of the pits in 22nd place but started working his way back to the front, coming to fifth just past one-third distance. A second pit stop was made on lap 89 and, after restarting in twelfth, he began another charge. He was tenth with 35 laps to go and eighth with 20 to go. A final caution caused the event to be extended beyond the original distance in order to finish under green, and Kobyluck took advantage of the extra laps to grab seventh place.
"We started off racing and the car was really good, and we were kind of just riding, getting some laps in," he said after the race. "We had a faster car than a lot of guys in front of us but we were having a little trouble getting by them, at that point I decided we were going to hang back and ride. The first caution came out and something happened with the right front tire. I'm not really sure what happened with it. We went back green and the car just took off up the race track on me, it felt like I had a right front flat. I was full-throttle coming out of turn two and the car just turned right on me, it felt like the right front blew out on me. Fortunately I was able to collect it, slow down and save it, and got going again. Then the caution came back out so we came in and took on tires because we thought there was a tire problem. We put on four tires and took on fuel. We thought we would have to come in again for fuel because we came in so early that we couldn't make it all the way on fuel. We made some chassis adjustments so the car wasn't tight. It wasn't great, if we had more practice on Thursday we probably would have made some different adjustments on the car so there would be a little more grip on the front tires."
Kobyluck was still impressed with how his team ran despite the lack of track time before the race.
"Considering how little practice we had, qualifying got rained out, we didn't have happy hour, and I've never been here before, to come out of here in seventh was a great day," he said. "We're real happy with that and we gained some points on guys ahead of us in points. There's a couple races left so we'll just race the races and let the points fall where they may."
Kobyluck now heads to Stafford Motor Speedway for the Carquest Fall Final on Sunday. In two previous visits to the Connecticut half-mile, Kobyluck has finishes of 21st and 12th.