Uncasville, Connecticut's Matt Kobyluck celebrated his first NASCAR Busch North Series victory Sunday afternoon when he led the final 41 laps of the Nazareth 100 held at the one-mile Nazareth Speedway in conjunction with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck...
Uncasville, Connecticut's Matt Kobyluck celebrated his first NASCAR Busch North Series victory Sunday afternoon when he led the final 41 laps of the Nazareth 100 held at the one-mile Nazareth Speedway in conjunction with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Kobyluck began the weekend on a high note as the Mohegan Sun Chevrolet was fast in Saturday morning's practice, and turned in the fourth-best qualifying time.
"We were ninth on the speed charts this morning but the car was good all the way around the track except for the turn before the backstretch, we were lacking there," Kobyluck said after qualifying. "We made a change before qualifying and it helped it some, but now that we've got final practice we're going to go out and make an even bigger change to try to help it more there. It's a key corner to this track, to be able to get a run on someone and pass him down the backstretch."
Kobyluck was quickly up to third in the race's opening laps, and twenty laps into the event made a move under Ted Christopher on the track's frontstretch to take over second place. He moved up to race leader Dale Shaw's back bumper and threatened to take over the lead, even being credited with leading lap 56, before Shaw took over and caution came out.
Shaw ducked off the track onto pit road on lap 58 while Kobyluck, who planned on going the distance without pitting, stayed on the track and took over the race lead under caution.
When the race returned to green, Shaw and new threat Paul Wolfe cleared the traffic that was between themselves and the leading Kobyluck, but even with their new tires, couldn't make up the ground. Once the ten-to-go signal was given, Kobyluck was given instructions from crew chief Perry Waite to not hold anything back, and he won by over four seconds. The entire Mohegan Sun Racing team was ecstatic with its first win after three years of running Busch North.
"We were real optimistic coming in here," Kobyluck said after the race. "My tire guy, Jay Gentile, came on board with us four or five races ago and he added something to the team that we were missing. He's given my crew chief Perry Waite a lot of confidence. We've been having some great runs as of late and everyone's gelling real well together.
"We had a real solid car yesterday and we were toying around with some shock packages yesterday in Happy Hour," Kobyluck continued. "We tried a couple different combinations and looked at the tire temperatures and shock travels and tire wear, and we came up with a package that we thought was going to get us the whole race without having to pit. The thing was great from the first lap to the last lap, it was phenomenal. I saved the car when I was running behind Dale. I just wanted to run behind him, I didn't want to pass him, I just wanted to run behind him, put some pressure on him, make him use his car up. I didn't think they were going to pit but when he ducked onto pit road I said 'well he can pit, because I'm not'. Our car was great, it was just so neutral and we hit the combination perfect today. Everything came together. I saved the car for ten laps to go when Perry told me to let it loose, and we walked away. Everything came together and I can't be happier. I'm thrilled."
Kobyluck was not concerned about the drivers behind him with fresher tires.
"Dale came on like a ball of fire and my spotter, my brother Mark told me how far back he was, telling me to run my line, and then that last caution came out. With that we got the heat cycle in the tires, and we were even again. Then I was able to maintain what I wanted and for the last laps I just let it have it."
With his first win under his belt, Kobyluck is already looking forward to his second, which could come next Saturday night at the quarter-mile Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vermont. Last year's race was split into two days because of rain.
"When we ran there last year we were running in the top five before the rain came and we got the short end of the stick when the rain hit," he said. "We spun after the caution for rain came out and were scored in 25th. The next day we started 25th and worked our way back to tenth. It's a fun little racetrack to run. Tight racetrack, but a fun one to run so I look forward to going there."