Matt Kobyluck Puts In Solid Stafford Speedway Run To Finish Fourth Uncasville, Connecticut's Matt Kobyluck needed some strong races to close out his NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season, and he got one Sunday afternoon when...
Matt Kobyluck Puts In Solid Stafford Speedway Run To Finish Fourth
Uncasville, Connecticut's Matt Kobyluck needed some strong races to close out his NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series season, and he got one Sunday afternoon when he ran in the top five throughout the Carquest Fall Final 150 at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, finishing fourth.
"It was a good day for the Mohegan Sun Casino team. This is one of our home tracks, and to come out of here with a top five, I'm happy with that. I'd have rather gone to victory lane, but we didn't have a car that was quite good enough to get there. If we would have been there, we had a good enough car to stay there, we just weren't good enough to get there," he said after the race.
The race was originally scheduled to be run last weekend, with practice and qualifying held a week ago Saturday. In time trials, Kobyluck took the third starting position after posting a fast lap of 20.126 seconds (89.437 MPH).
"I definitely had a good enough car to be on the pole, but the conservative side of me got the best of me today," he said after qualifying. "The difference was only hundredths of a second between third and the pole. I could have picked up the throttle up a little bit sooner, the car reacted real well. But I didn't want to pick up the throttle too soon and have the car get sideways and break its momentum."
Rain washed out the following Sunday's race day, as well as the next Saturday's original rain date. This bumped the race to Sunday, which was run under sunshine with occasional dark clouds.
While Kobyluck took the green on the inside of the second row, a ragged start saw him lose positions, quickly falling to sixth in the race's opening laps.
"The start of the race is what really screwed us up," he explained. "On the initial start of the race, we're supposed to start when the green waves, but the polesitter took off before we were even coming off turn four. I thought they'd throw the caution because that was a ridiculous start to the race, but they kept it green. I suffered because of that, because I would have been in the top three. After that, nobody was really quick enough to pass anybody unless someone made a mistake."
With the top ten cars running nearly identical lap times, passing was difficult at the front of the field. He fell to seventh briefly, but got that position back before forty laps were in the books. On lap 48, he mounted a challenge to the inside of Brian Hoar for fifth, and the two raced side-by-side for four laps before Kobyluck finally assumed the position for himself. He rode fifth until there were just thirty-five laps left to run, when he took advantage of Kelly Moore's getting in trouble in lapped traffic to take fourth. For the balance of the event, he tried making up ground on third place Andy Santerre, but ran out of laps before he could challenge for that position, and finished fourth.
"The car performed just about the same the whole day," he said. "Midway through the race it was pretty neutral all the way through and I was able to run some pretty quick lap times. But these tires, historically, can only take so many heat cycles before they start tightening up, and on the last couple of restarts we were pretty tight. We could maintain fourth, but that was about it. About halfway through I had a good enough car that I could press the envelope and make some passes, but at that stage of the race you're trying to be smart and make it to the last twenty laps.
"All in all, the Mohegan Sun team did a great job today preparing the car," Kobyluck continued. "It's trying on everybody to keep coming back to the track after rain delays, so to come out of here with a top five, we're happy with that. It's indicative of the kind of team we've had all season long, and to finish out the season with some perseverance and some top five finishes, that'll make the off-season that much better."
Kobyluck will conclude his Busch North season next Saturday afternoon at the historic Lime Rock Park road course, where he finished sixth in 2002.