Matt Kobyluck gets first top-five of 2003 with fourth at Stafford Matt Kobyluck, driver of the No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet on the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series tour, recovered from a fifteenth-place finish at the season's...
Matt Kobyluck gets first top-five of 2003 with fourth at Stafford
Matt Kobyluck, driver of the No. 40 Mohegan Sun Chevrolet on the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series tour, recovered from a fifteenth-place finish at the season's first race to post his first top-five of the year when he finished fourth in the season's second race, held at Stafford Motor Speedway. Kobyluck now stands ninth in the series standings, coming off a season where he was runner-up in the championship.
Kobyluck, who considers Stafford as one of his home tracks as he ran Pro Stocks there before joining the Busch North Series, struggled somewhat in practice so significant changes were made to his Mohegan Sun Chevrolet before qualifying. The changes paid off with a seventh-place start, with a fast lap of 20.31 seconds (88.626 MPH) around the half-mile oval.
"It's respectable," he said before the race. "We changed both front springs, all four shocks, and those are pretty significant changes to go out for time trials. With those big changes and my not knowing how the car was going to react to them, I was happy with how it responded. I left a little bit out there, but I'd rather leave a little out there than go too far and back it into the fence.
"The car's comfortable and I think we've got a pretty good car for the race," the Uncasville, Connecticut driver continued. "As long as the car's comfortable, that's the main concern to me because the track changes quite a bit from the beginning of the race to the end. So as long as the car's comfortable and pretty neutral, we'll be pretty decent, we should have a good car for the race."
Kobyluck quickly charged into the top five in the race's opening laps, and ran either fifth or sixth through the race's first half. He moved up to fourth by lap 90, choosing to stay out when many other lead lap cars elected to pit under caution. After taking third from Tom Carey, Jr. with just under forty laps to go, Kobyluck was riding in the tire tracks of Kelly Moore's second-place car. On lap 119, the two made contact and Moore spun.
"It was unfortunate that Kelly and I made contact there with that few laps to go," he said. "I don't know what transpired, if he got a little screwed up in the middle of the corner, but something happened in the middle of the corner, we made contact, and he went around. It wasn't intentional contact on my end, I just don't race that way and I would have never done it to Kelly or anyone else at that stage of the race. It doesn't make me feel good, but there's nothing I can do about it after it happened. Fortunately, NASCAR saw it the way I saw it, where it was racing contact and not intentional on my end."
Kobyluck took the lap 122 restart in second , but with just seven laps to go, two cars that had pitted were coming through the field and passed him, leaving him to finish fourth.
"Overall, we had a good car," he said after the race. "We redeemed ourselves from last week and regrouped a little bit. The last five laps I was trying to hold off the 6 [Andy Santerre] and the 74 [Ryan Moore] but they had pitted earlier and their right-side tires were a little fresher than ours. They had a little more grip on the bottom of the race track. I wasn't going to block them, so I just ran them as cleanly as I could. They were able to get underneath me and we settled for fourth.
"We ran in the top five all night," Kobyluck continued. "We gambled to stay out and not pit because we thought the longer we ran, the better the car got. The cautions killed us as we think we got a few too many heat cycles into the tires, and they started to lose grip at the end. But we came out of here fourth and we'll roll into Lake Erie and try to get into the top five in points."
Lake Erie Speedway, a new addition to the Busch North schedule, will see its first series race next Sunday for a 150-lap race.