Matt Kobyluck Breaks Waterford Jinx; Finishes Third (Waterford, Conn. - July 17, 2004) - Matt Kobyluck had been humbled by his home track of Waterford Speedbowl in his previous NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series races there. He...
Matt Kobyluck Breaks Waterford Jinx; Finishes Third
(Waterford, Conn. - July 17, 2004) - Matt Kobyluck had been humbled by his home track of Waterford Speedbowl in his previous NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series races there. He had never finished a series race at the .375-mile oval despite running well and even winning the pole position one year ago. But he turned that luck around during a busy day Saturday, starting fifth and finishing third in front of over 500 employees of Kobyluck Corporations.
While only eighth fastest in practice, Kobyluck's Mohegan Sun Racing crew set to work on the qualifying setup, and the team was rewarded with the fifth qualifying spot after turning in a fast lap of 15.130 seconds (88.037 MPH) in time trials.
"The car's pretty decent," he said. "We qualified fifth, and that showed that we made some good changes after practice to liven up the car for qualifying. We were a lot different during qualifying than we had been all day, and that's a good thing. We're going to make a few more little changes in that direction for the race. It's been a good day so far with this event and all our employees here. It's a great time for them, and we've had a great turnout so I hope to put on a good show for them."
Most of Kobyluck's passing came in the opening five laps. He was quickly up to fourth place when the green flag waved, and joined a battle with Mike Stefanik and Ryan Moore for the runner-up spot. He came away from that battle in third, and spent the balance of the race looking for an opportunity to get by Stefanik. Mike Olsen ran behind Kobyluck all this time, so the Uncasville, Connecticut driver had to keep an eye on what was going on behind him as well.
Through five caution periods, Kobyluck's biggest worries came from lapped traffic but he handled that well and brought home a third place finish. He picked up another spot in the season points standings to now run fourth, and has a five-race top-ten streak's worth of momentum to take to one of the biggest weekends of the year at New Hampshire International Speedway.
"We started fifth, after a couple of green flag laps we were up to third," he said after the race. "Mike Stefanik had a good car and he was really good on the bottom of the track, and [race winner] Mike Johnson had a real good car, he basically had the field covered from lap one. The outside groove was really greasy, and you could use it to get by lapped traffic, but outside of that, you had to stay on the inside to maintain your speed through the corners.
"We did what we had to do to break that Waterford jinx and get a solid top-three finish," Kobyluck continued. "We've got a lot of momentum going into Loudon, and I'm looking forward to going there. The team's got a lot of morale and we just had a big night for our employees and for Mohegan Sun."
At New Hampshire International Speedway, Kobyluck will pull double-duty by racing in both the Busch North Series as well as the NASCAR Busch Series 200-lapper which will be held immediately before the BNS 125-lap race. This will mark Kobyluck's debut in the nation's second-tier stock car racing series.