Matt Kobyluck Unhappy With Fourth Place Watkins Glen Result (Watkins Glen, N.Y. - August 14, 2004) - Matt Kobyluck, driving his No. 40 Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino Chevrolet in Saturday afternoon's Mohegan Sun 150 Presented by Pepsi at Watkins...
Matt Kobyluck Unhappy With Fourth Place Watkins Glen Result
(Watkins Glen, N.Y. - August 14, 2004) - Matt Kobyluck, driving his No. 40 Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino Chevrolet in Saturday afternoon's Mohegan Sun 150 Presented by Pepsi at Watkins Glen International's 2.45-mile road course, finished fourth. But after leading on two different occasions for eighteen laps, Kobyluck wasn't happy not winning.
The total on-track activity leading up to the race consisted of a single ninety-minute practice session on Friday, as rain forced the cancellation of all other practices and qualifying, which disappointed the Uncasville, Connecticut driver.
"If they had held qualifying, I have no doubt that it would have come down to either me, or Brad Leighton, or Dale Quarterley winning the pole," he said. Instead, he would start the race fifth according to his position in the season points.
Despite starting fifth, Kobyluck stormed into the race lead by the time the second lap was complete. He held that lead for the next fourteen laps when he was passed by Quarterley. He tried retaking the lead heading into the Esses on lap 22, but settled back behind.
"I could have finished it off there, but then I figured why press the issue that early into the race," he said.
The turning point of the race for Kobyluck came on lap 24, under caution, when almost all lead lap cars pitted while Kobyluck stayed on the track, inheriting the lead. Instead, he pitted under green on lap 30, though caution came out right after he returned to the race. Mired back in the field, Kobyluck had a sizeable challenge ahead of him.
Six laps after the restart, Kobyluck was already back to tenth place. He was sixth as the field lined up for a restart with ten laps to go, and that's where he said he lost the chance to win the race.
"I could have made a run for the win on that last restart with ten to go, but it never fails that you have someone who is going to jump the restart," he said. "I had already talked to a couple of guys ahead of me and they were going to let me get by them because they knew I was faster. But when the restart happened, the 02 car jumped the start and went to the inside. The 8 went to the inside to block him, and they both went by me, then they both went by a couple other cars getting into turn one. It took me three valuable laps getting back by them."
Kobyluck got back to fourth place, but ran out of time before he could move up further.
"I guess I should be happy with fourth place, but I'm not," he said. "I think we had the fastest car all race long. We definitely had a good enough car to win, but pit strategy didn't play into our hands today. We didn't think everyone was going to pit when they did so we kind of got hung out to dry there.
"We had a good day, but we didn't have the best pit strategy and that pretty much took the win out of our hands," he continued. "The fastest car didn't win the race, and that happens often times. But we came back up from 25th without tearing the car up, running every lap like it was the last lap. I had to do that in order to get back to the front. By the time we got up there, we had used up what we had managed to save in the first half of the race."
Kobyluck returns to the track next Saturday at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine. After winning two weeks ago at the similarly shaped Adirondack International Speedway, Kobyluck is going into the fourth race from the end of the season with considerable optimism.