Mohegan Sun Racing's Matt Kobyluck endured a tough night at Stafford Motor Speedway in the running of the CarQuest 150, where he was put into the wall by another competitor, suffering a blown tire. The Uncasville, Connecticut native never quit, ...
Mohegan Sun Racing's Matt Kobyluck endured a tough night at Stafford Motor Speedway in the running of the CarQuest 150, where he was put into the wall by another competitor, suffering a blown tire. The Uncasville, Connecticut native never quit, though, racing to come back from a lap down to get back on the lead lap, and finishing thirteenth.
Kobyluck and his crew, led by Perry Waite, struggled through practice, where he was only tenth fastest. Preparations were made for qualifying, where Kobyluck had an early draw, which is usually disadvantageous at Stafford. After turning a lap of 20.319 seconds (88.587 MPH), he wound up with the eighth starting position.
"I'm not totally discouraged with it, having gone out fifth," he said before the race. "I'm not totally impressed with the lap that I gave. We're eighth, that's not all that bad. Guys tend to get tight as we go, so we're going to make sure we keep the nose clean and get the car so it rotates in the middle of the corner. We're going to make a few changes here to help it do that, and we'll be good at the end."
Kobyluck ran in eighth, then ninth, as the race went through its first 35 laps. His race took a turn for the worse, though, when a bump from Kelly Moore sent Kobyluck up into the turn two wall. This blew the right front tire out and left Kobyluck with sheet metal damage. As caution flew on lap 42, Kobyluck came to pit road. Moore was black-flagged and given a stop-and-go penalty for his part in the incident.
Following a tire change and checking over the car, Kobyluck returned to the track thinking he was still on the lead lap. A checking with scoring revealed that he lost a lap on pit road, so work began in earnest to make that lap back up. He lined up for the lap 71 restart on the inside of the front row, but couldn't stay in front of the leaders when the next caution flew. He got another opportunity to restart in that position on lap 119 and this time successfully made up his lap when caution flew on lap 125. Through the final 21 laps of the race, he tried to get through traffic back to the top ten, but ran out of laps and had to settle for thirteenth.
"It was a long night with some bad calls from tough circumstances, but we made the best of a bad situation," he said after the race. "In the beginning part of the race we didn't have a real great car, we were kind of struggling a little bit, and we were just kind of biding our time just trying to get to halfway or a little bit after that where we could make our pit stop and make some adjustments, but we kind of got our hand dealt to us a little earlier than that when the 47 [Moore] got into the rear of us. We got up into the fence and popped a right front tire. We came down pit road and changed the right side tires, pulled a rubber out of the right rear and pulled the fender away from the right front because there was sheet metal damage. The steering wheel was fine, it didn't knock the toe out much.
"We went back to green and were told that we were still on the tail end of the lead lap by the NASCAR officials," Kobyluck continued. "When the next caution came out, the NASCAR officials said that they made a mistake and we were a lap down. So they put us a lap down, and we struggled from that point trying to get my lap back, which I finally did. I raced as hard as I could to get back up through traffic and made the best of a bad situation and wound up thirteenth. We probably had a top five car, no doubt, but it's all circumstances. You play with the cards you're dealt. Sometimes you're dealt a couple of twos, sometimes you're dealt a couple of aces. Tonight we were dealt twos."
Kobyluck looks to get back on track next Saturday night when the Busch North Series rolls into Holland International Speedway in western New York State. Kobyluck finished fourth at Holland last year.