Matt Kobyluck fifth at Stafford; just 38 points out of points lead with one race to go. Matt Kobyluck's Mohegan Sun Chevrolet team continues its pursuit of the 2002 NASCAR Busch North Series championship through the season's final races, and now...
Matt Kobyluck fifth at Stafford; just 38 points out of points lead with one race to go.
Matt Kobyluck's Mohegan Sun Chevrolet team continues its pursuit of the 2002 NASCAR Busch North Series championship through the season's final races, and now sits just 38 points behind current leader Andy Santerre after finishing fifth in the year's next-to-last race, Sunday afternoon's Carquest Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway.
"This has historically not been a good race for me, so to come out of here fifth, I'm happy with that," he said after the race. "We're still right there breathing down his neck and we'll do the same thing when we roll into Lime Rock. We're going for the win, and wherever he finishes is where he finishes. I'm not going to be too concerned about that."
At Stafford, Kobyluck's weekend started with his qualifying twelfth fastest out of a field of thirty-four cars. His being one of the first cars to take time on a track that had tire rubber from other types of race cars on it contributed to his qualifying deep in the field.
"To go out as the fourth car and turn a lap that we did, I'm happy with that," he said after qualifying. "The track picked up a little bit as more cars went out and got some of our rubber down. On the plus side, we were much better on our time trial lap than we were at first in this morning's practice when we were on the modified rubber on the track. Once we get some of our rubber down, we'll get that much better in the race. I would have liked to have started up a lot closer to the front, but a lot of the guys we're running with in the points are starting right with us. We're in good shape. We're just going to make a few small changes to the car for tomorrow and roll with it. We're going out there for the win."
It only took a handful of race laps before Kobyluck was in the top ten, moving to sixth place before thirty laps were run. He pitted under a lap 56 caution, taking on fresh right-side tires and allowing his crew to make a chassis adjustment. Returning to the race outside the top ten, he watched as other cars pitted under subsequent cautions and took advantage of that to move to ninth place shortly after halfway.
Running sixth with fifty laps to run, Kobyluck chased Dale Quarterley through the remainder of the event. The two moved up to fourth and fifth when Mike Olsen crashed out of the top five, and through the last laps Kobyluck looked for a way around Quarterley. He tried to go low with just a handful of laps to run, but Quarterley threw a block and Kobyluck decided to settle for fifth.
"If I really wanted to push the envelope at the end and force the issue with Dale, I could have had another position," he said after the race. "I had position on him going down the backstretch and he was not too gracious on giving it up. He was going to drive me into the infield, and we made some pretty hard contact there. I just backed out of it, thinking that five points isn't worth risking destroying the race car.
"We come home fifth. We would have liked to have finished a few positions better, but that's the way it plays out," Kobyluck continued. "I'm happy with fifth place here. It was tough coming up through traffic today, lapped traffic played a big role, and track position made a big difference here today. We pitted because we were a little tight into the middle of the corner. The new tires were good for about twenty or thirty laps but with the amount of cautions we had, putting a number of heat cycles in them really brought them back to where the other ones were too quickly and it didn't give us enough of an advantage over the guys who didn't pit. I'm happy with fifth place here, I'd have liked to have gained a little ground, but it's not the end of the world and we're going to be just as optimistic and going for the win at Lime Rock."
Lime Rock Park, the 1.53-mile Connecticut road course, will host the Busch North Series season finale on Saturday, October 5.