Matt Kobyluck retakes Busch North points lead after finishing sixth at Watkins Glen. In Saturday's Watkins Glen race, which was extended twice due to the NASCAR Busch North Series' rule that states that no race can end under caution, Matt...
Matt Kobyluck retakes Busch North points lead after finishing sixth at Watkins Glen.
In Saturday's Watkins Glen race, which was extended twice due to the NASCAR Busch North Series' rule that states that no race can end under caution, Matt Kobyluck and crew chief Perry Waite had a tough decision to make. Riding third with just a green-white-checker finish ahead of them, the possibility of running out of gas was looming large and the call was made to pit for gas. In those final two laps, Kobyluck made up four positions to finish sixth. With his ninth top ten of the year, Kobyluck returned to the series points lead by a single point over Brad Leighton.
Friday found the Mohegan Sun team qualifying for the race in eighth position, but they weren't happy knowing they could have gone faster.
"We slowed up a second from practice to qualifying," Kobyluck said. "We made the wrong adjustments between practice and qualifying and we slowed up a second. Our car was a little tight so we freed it up, and the combination of the track getting hotter and the Winston Cup cars putting their rubber down, the track loosened up. We made adjustments to be looser instead of tightening it up a little bit.
"We're re-adjusting and getting it to where it needs to be, and we'll have a good car for the race," he continued. "We changed rear springs, all four shocks, front and rear sway bars, and some other minor changes. The biggest things at the road course is to be comfortable and be consistently quick. You don't have to be the fastest car, you just have to be consistent and hit all your marks, have a good driveable car, and the rest will take care of itself."
Following an opening lap accident back in the field that stopped the race for an hour, Kobyluck was quickly up to the top five and, before ten laps were run, moved up to fourth. Pit stops for fuel were beginning with about twenty laps in, and Kobyluck made his stop on lap 22, taking on fuel and left-side tires. He rejoined the race back in thirteenth and waited for the rest of the field to make their stops so he could get back to the front.
At the halfway point, with some still to make their stops, Kobyluck was up to ninth. A second serious accident put the field under red, and when it returned to caution, pit stops began and Kobyluck moved back up to fifth. When the race resumed, he was up to third behind Dale Quarterley and Brad Leighton. The three ran in this order until caution came out with just two laps to go.
On the lap 63 restart, Kobyluck went into the first turn as the middle of three cars, with Leighton outside and Paul Wolfe inside. Wolfe and Leighton made contact and both spun, while Kobyluck had to slow to avoid Leighton. Caution came out again and more laps would be added to the race distance. Riding fourth, Kobyluck saw two cars ahead of him run out of fuel while driving under caution, and crew chief Perry Waite made a tough call to bring Kobyluck, now running third, to pit road to add gas. He returned to the track in tenth, and used the remaining two laps to move up to sixth.
"We ran second and third and the car ran great all day," he said after the race. "We were just riding with Brad and clicking off laps. Quarterley, Leighton, and myself had the fastest cars all day long and we were just clicking off laps out there. We got down to the end there and I guess people started losing their screws and we had a bunch of cautions."
Kobyluck detailed his final pit stop.
"It was a tough call," he said. "But with all that happened on the track late in the race we just ran too many laps. It might look like we were conservative, but I don't even think it was conservative. We would have run out of fuel if we didn't add fuel before going back to green, no doubt about it. We pitted at lap 22 and after calculating our fuel mileage, there was no way we were going to go the rest of the way. The safe thing to do at that point, instead of gambling, was to take on fuel and make sure that we finished, and get as many spots back as we could. We ended up sixth, and I can accept that."
Kobyluck returns to action at upstate New York's Adirondack International Raceway for the first visit by the Busch North Series at the facility this Saturday.