Matt Kobyluck comes from the back to finish second at Stafford Motor Speedway. The line score from the NASCAR 150, a NASCAR Busch North Series race held Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway, shows Matt Kobyluck started his Mohegan Sun...
Matt Kobyluck comes from the back to finish second at Stafford Motor Speedway.
The line score from the NASCAR 150, a NASCAR Busch North Series race held Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway, shows Matt Kobyluck started his Mohegan Sun Chevrolet in the second position, and finished in the second position. That does not tell the entire story of what happened between the first lap and the last lap. Kobyluck was sent to the rear of the field due to a penalty stemming from an early race on-track incident, forcing him to pass almost every car before settling for the runner-up position at the checkers.
Kobyluck's second place starting spot came after he qualified sixth fastest, and, in the traditional short-track redrawing of starting positions by the top time trialers, he drew the second position.
"The car's good," he said after qualifying. "We had some nice cloud cover in turns one and two for our qualifying run, though the sun came out and heated up the track in turns three and four. It got a little free up off of turn four but it drove well, and it drove well on old tires in practice so I'm really happy with the car for the race tonight."
Kobyluck's race was almost over just as quickly as it began. In the first turn of the first lap, polesitter Dennis Demers was forced high and spun, with Kobyluck being immediately behind him. NASCAR officials determined Kobyluck responsible for the spin and ordered him to drive through the pit road, at 25 MPH, as a penalty. Kobyluck pitted on lap three and returned to the track dead last, and in danger of going a lap down.
"We were a victim of circumstance," Kobyluck explained. "Unfortunately, the call was made to post me and bring me in. What really happened there was the 60 [Dale Shaw] drove the 86 [Demers] down into the corner a little deeper than the 86 wanted to be, got the 86 sideways into the corner and I ended up finishing him off. But the 56 [Martin Truex, Jr.] was behind me, pushing me. We got penalized for the end result, not for being the cause of what happened.
"Perry [Waite] got on the radio and said all I had to do was stay on the lead lap and drive the wheels off the thing, drive it for everything it's got. I did that and my brother Mark, my spotter, did a whale of a job getting me through traffic tonight and got me through some wrecks without any damage at all."
A lap 33 caution ensured Kobyluck that he would stay on the lead lap, although he was still deep in the field, restarting outside the top fifteen. He worked his way to the top ten in the next run of green flag racing, taking a lap 48 restart in tenth. At that point, a long green flag run ensued, during which Kobyluck ran eighth or ninth, with tires that were pretty much used up from the early part of the race.
The third caution of the event came out with just twenty laps to go. While most of the leading cars elected to stay on the track, Kobyluck came in and took on right side tires for the run to the finish. Restarting eighth, with only nine cars on the lead lap, he moved up to sixth when two cars ahead of him tangled. On the next restart, on lap 142, he moved up to fifth as the leaders were dicing it up. Those running first, second and third tangled in the second turn and Kobyluck capitalized by moving all the way to second behind Shaw as the caution flew with just three laps to go. Busch North rules don't allow races to finish under yellow, so the race was extended with a green-white-checker finish. In those final two laps, Kobyluck could not get around Shaw for the lead and had to settle for second after an adventurous 153 laps.
"We were expecting a caution at around lap 75 or 80, maybe 100, but it never came and everyone was getting tighter as tires were starting to be used up, and we were gaining spots," he said after the race. "Then the caution came out on lap 130, we took on tires and it livened the thing back up so we could make a run at the end. Some contact was made with the 60 [Shaw] and the 32 [Dale Quarterley] and the 44 [Andy Santerre] and they all slid up the race track. I just followed the 60 through and we ended up second. We had the last restart which was a green-white-checker finish, and I needed three or four laps for the tires to get some heat in them and really make a run at him, so we had to settle for second.
"But to work our way all the way back up through, we had a great car underneath us," Kobyluck continued. "We had a great pit stop, we gained a couple spots in the pits and the guys did a heck of a job. I drove my butt off tonight, and the end result was that the Mohegan Sun team had another top five finish."
Having recorded two consecutive top-five finishes in the last two weeks, Kobyluck and team look to make it three in a row when the series returns to action in two weeks at the historic Watkins Glen road course.