MATT KOBYLUCK BECOMES HOMETOWN HERO IN TOWN FAIR TIRE 150 AT WATERFORD SPEEDBOWL; 2nd WIN OF 2005 SEASON MOVES HIM WITHIN 27 OF STEFANIK; CHEW EQUALS CAREER BEST WATERFORD, Conn. -- Matt Kobyluck his scored second NASCAR Grand National ...
MATT KOBYLUCK BECOMES HOMETOWN HERO IN TOWN FAIR TIRE 150 AT WATERFORD SPEEDBOWL; 2nd WIN OF 2005 SEASON MOVES HIM WITHIN 27 OF STEFANIK; CHEW EQUALS CAREER BEST
WATERFORD, Conn. -- Matt Kobyluck his scored second NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series victory of the 2005 season Saturday night, but this win had special significance as it came before his hometown fans in the Town Fair Tire 150 at the Waterford Speedbowl, where he began his racing career. Kobyluck won the Busch Pole and led all but two laps, beating Bryon Chew by 1.211 seconds. It was Kobyluck's sixth career win and moved him within 27 points of leader Mike Stefanik in the series standings. Stefanik finished fifth at Waterford, behind former champions Andy Santerre and Mike Olsen.
It was a milestone race for Chew as well, as he recorded his best career finish in a race run to its full distance. His only previous runner-up finish had been in a rain-shortened race in 2002.
Kobyluck tied Joey McCarthy for the fastest qualifying time, but won the Busch Pole based on his higher point standing. Ryan Moore, who started third, became Kobyluck's most persistent challenger. Aided by the adoption of double-file restarts in the Busch North Series, starting with this race, Moore was able to edge into the lead on a restart at lap 23 and again at lap 66, but Kobyluck returned to the front a lap later in each case. Shortly after lap 125, Moore began to lose ground, eventually spinning after contact with another car but rallying to finish ninth. McCarthy stalked the leaders before cutting a tire on lap 114. He also stayed on the lead lap and came back to complete the top ten. Just ahead of them, Sunoco Rookie leader Sean Caisse posted his best career finish in sixth, Mike Johnson kept his top-ten streak unblemished with seventh, and Dave Dion returned from an unscheduled pit stop to take eighth.
The closing stages featured a heated battle for second with Chew, Santerre, and Olsen swapping positions repeatedly. Santerre, making use of the outside, advanced from 14th to third, but he was edged for the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award by rookie John Salemi, who climbed 13 places from 24th at the start to 11th at the finish. The Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award was won by Caisse, who improved by 20 positions over his finish last week at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Ten caution periods for 56 laps slowed the action, with the red flag being displayed ar lap 121 for a multi-car incident on the front straight which heavily damaged Rich Gould's machine. Gould was not injured. Of 26 cars in the starting lineup, 23 were running at the finish with 14 on the lead lap.
With eight of the top ten drivers in the point standings finishing in the top ten at Waterford there was no radical change on the leader board, but Kobyluck passed Santerre for second and Olsen jumped two places to fifth. Unofficially, Stefanik leads Kobyluck by 27 points and Santerre by 35 entering The Edge Hotel 150 next Saturday night at Adirondack International Speedway.