Matt Kobyluck takes back-up car to fourteenth at Thompson Speedway. Having to go to a backup car didn't stop Matt Kobyluck and the Mohegan Sun Racing team from qualifying up front and running in the top five of the Pepsi Racing 150 held Saturday...
Matt Kobyluck takes back-up car to fourteenth at Thompson Speedway.
Having to go to a backup car didn't stop Matt Kobyluck and the Mohegan Sun Racing team from qualifying up front and running in the top five of the Pepsi Racing 150 held Saturday night at the Thompson International Speedway. A blown engine in practice forced Kobyluck to take the second car out of the trailer and get it ready to race in quick fashion, and the team was rewarded by a fourteenth place finish in the race.
The first practice was not very old when the engine in Kobyluck's primary car blew up. Rather than change the engine in that car, Kobyluck elected to take the spare car out of the trailer and race that.
"When you change the engine, you should really change the oil tank and all the oil lines at the same time, or you risk blowing up the second engine too," he said. "It's easier, for us at least, to use the other car today and worry about changing everything that needs to be changed back at the shop during the week."
With the second car, Kobyluck qualified fifth fastest, and redrew the fourth starting spot.
"That's remarkable considering what we've been through again today," he said. "We had the same situation in Nazareth earlier this year. Same two cars, same two motors, same everything. With the backup car, we were decent, the car was decent. We weren't real happy with it, so right before time trials we made some pretty significant changes. We needed to make a change one more time to see what it was going to do so we when we go out for the race, we will be where we want to be. It really worked out. The second lap I probably had a good shot at the pole but coming out of turn four, I broke her free and got a little sideways. I still turned a .4 which put us fifth, which I was happy with. We've been thrashing all day, nonstop since the time we unloaded the car. Days like this are trying on everybody and to qualify in the top five, I'm happy with that today."
Kobyluck settled into fifth place during the race's early laps, leading a six-car battle to the race's halfway point. Caution on lap 84 allowed a pitting opportunity and Kobyluck, along with a number of other cars, came down to pit for fresh right-side tires only to be told that the pits were closed when they entered, and they would have to restart near the end of the field.
"It's unfortunate that when we came around to go into pit road the flagman had the green flag out, but I guess pit road was still closed and half the field got penalized to restart in the tail of the field for coming onto a closed pit road, despite the flagman having the green flag out," he said. "I guess getting penalized was our fault for trying to guess what's right or wrong now."
Returning to the race with an uphill battle ahead of him, Kobyluck was mired in fifteenth. Inside fifteen laps to go, he had worked his way into the top ten, but rough play among those around him bounced him around and he fell to fourteenth at the finish.
"The car just wasn't that great," he said. "It was skating the nose. We didn't change the car at all from qualifying and it was real good then. I thought we were going to have a good car in the race and the car got a little tight in the middle of the corner and got tighter and tighter.
"After our pit stop, we got back into the top ten but on the last couple laps I was like a ping pong ball out there," Kobyluck continued. "I got bounced around off about three or four different guys. They were too aggressive at the end there instead of riding it out and getting a respectable finish, they had to use their bumpers and sides to try and get that extra position and we got bounced back from eighth to fourteenth in the last two laps."
Kobyluck will try to rebound next Saturday at the New Hampshire International Speedway when the NASCAR Busch North Series joins the Winston Cup Series and others for a quadruple-header weekend. That race will be taped by the Speed Channel and broadcast in August.