BNS: Matt Kobyluck gears up for 2002 season

Matt Kobyluck's Mohegan Sun Racing team, which competes on the NASCAR Busch North Series, has spent a busy winter upgrading both its facilities and its racing equipment in anticipation of a title run in the upcoming season, which opens up this...

Matt Kobyluck's Mohegan Sun Racing team, which competes on the NASCAR Busch North Series, has spent a busy winter upgrading both its facilities and its racing equipment in anticipation of a title run in the upcoming season, which opens up this month at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, New Hampshire and continues through 18 more races in seven states.

Kobyluck, who has a new 5,000 square foot race shop to house the team, will start the season with a fleet of brand new Billy Hess-chassis Chevrolet Monte Carlos. The switch from NRP cars is part of Kobyluck's plan to run some Busch South races late this year.

While thought was given to gradually change over some cars to new chassis while keeping others the same, Kobyluck decided to change them all at once.

"It made sense to keep everything consistent, both as far as setups and adjustments are concerned, as well as spare parts inventory and things like that, rather than have a mixed fleet," he said. As opening day approaches, there are now five race cars complete, with Wegner and PCCW engines, with two more awaiting completion.

Kobyluck will get a chance to try out his new cars with mid-week test sessions scheduled for the Waterford Speedbowl and Thompson Speedway. This will start a testing regimen that will continue as the racing season and Kobyluck's work schedule will allow.

Making all this preparation and testing easier for the team is a crew that has returned completely intact from last year, including crew chief Perry Waite and team manager George Andrade. There will also be a new addition to the crew late in the season, as Matt's wife Lori is expecting the couple's third child in September.

While Busch South races are in the cards for the Mohegan Sun team, Kobyluck said that he has not decided which ones he will race, but those he will run will not conflict with his chase for the Busch North Series championship, where he will remain focused for the foreseeable future.

"We're real content running Busch North," he said. "It's a great, competitive series with great people. I expect to be running Busch North for another two or three years before thinking about racing Busch South full-time."

Kobyluck took his first win in the series last August at the one-mile Nazareth Speedway. While he had two other top-five finishes and a total of eight top-tens, he was the victim of bad luck in some races' early goings and has set about to changing that.

"In the past I've been guilty of not paying attention to where I was in the race or how far into the race we were," he said. "I've got to do a better job of thinking about the bigger picture and being more patient in traffic."

With this in mind, Kobyluck expects a better 2002, even coming off a season where he was voted the "Most Improved Driver" by his peers.

"I believe we can run in the top five in points, and maybe make a strong run at the championship," he said. "We're going to have to be smart and give the kind of respect we expect to receive, and hopefully things will play into our hands. We're real optimistic about the season getting started. We're excited, and we can't wait to get on the track."

-msr-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Matt Kobyluck