Matt Kobyluck Sees Top Three Finish at Phoeniz as Building Block For Return to Title Contention in Busch North Series. WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (March 8, 2004) -- Matt Kobyluck started the 2003 season as a favorite for the NASCAR Grand National...
Matt Kobyluck Sees Top Three Finish at Phoeniz as Building Block For Return to Title Contention in Busch North Series.
WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (March 8, 2004) -- Matt Kobyluck started the 2003 season as a favorite for the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series title. He chose to start his season early, traveling to Phoenix International Raceway to compete with the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series at the end of January last year, where he ran strongly in practice and qualifying only to finish 23rd after an accident in the race. Little did he know that would prove to be an omen for the 2003 campaign.
After missing the 2002 Busch North Series title by just seven points, Kobyluck struggled throughout 2003 and only edged into top ten of the final point standings at the last race of the season. He failed to win a race and saw his top-ten finishes drop from 15 to nine.
Undeterred, Kobyluck and his team made the cross-country trek to Arizona again in January 2004. This time the results were strikingly different. Although he was forced to start near the back of the field when qualifying was rained out, Kobyluck charged to a third place finish. That made both the trip home and the preparations for the upcoming Busch North Series opener at Lee USA Speedway in Lee, N.H. on Sunday, April 25, a lot more upbeat.
"This time we were able to go out and represent our sponsors and the Busch North Series really well," Kobyluck remarked at the Racearama trade show in West Springfield, Mass.
"We're going into the season with just as much confidence as we had last year, and if the start of this season is any indication of how the season is going to go, compared to the how it started at Phoenix last year, we're off to a good start," he continued. In fact, after a 15th place finish in last year's opener at Lee USA, Kobyluck rallied to move as high as second in the standings for one fleeting week before back-to-back 38th and 24th place runs sent him tumbling out of contention.
One theory would suggest that a disappointing season can become an advantage by putting a team out of the pre-season spotlight, and allowing them to "sneak up" on the competition. Matt Kobyluck gives no credence whatever to that idea. "I'd like to say we could keep a low profile, but that wouldn't do our sponsor any justice, so we try to be as high profile as possible," he said, pointing to his vividly painted red-orange Mohegan Sun Chevrolet on display nearby.
A key change in the Busch North Series schedule also plays into Matt Kobyluck's hand as he seeks to capture the title he so nearly won two years ago. The annual visit to the Lime Rock Park road course in Lakeville, Conn., the season finale for over a decade, is now the third race on the schedule, following Lee USA Speedway and Thompson (Conn.) International Speedway. "I'm a big advocate of that," Kobyluck observed. "It's going to be a great Memorial Day weekend race. We excel at the road courses and it's a great venue to go to early on where we're able to put up a good showing and we can get Mohegan Sun some good exposure, with them being the title sponsor of the event."
It's clear that Matt Kobyluck expects to build on his Phoenix success to take the spotlight in the Busch North Series as soon as the green flag falls at Lee USA on April 25. He has the experience, the team, and now the momentum to challenge for the title. "Plus," the 6-foot-5 driver added with a chuckle, "I'm big enough where it's tough to sneak up on anybody!"