Kobyluck Strong With Runner-Up Finish At Mansfield
Mansfield, OH (August 26, 2007): Matt Kobyluck ended his inaugural appearance at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway with a runner-up finish after pressuring eventual race-winner Sean Caisse throughout the 150-lap distance. Kobyluck’s finish enabled the Mohegan Sun Casino Race Team to gain 10 points on NASCAR Busch East Series, Grand National Division point leader Joey Logano as the season winds down to only two events remaining.
“Second place was as good as it was going to get. I would have loved to have gotten by him on that restart,” said Kobyluck of his final shot at the lead. “He had the better car so to come out of there second was just about what we expected. I’m real happy with that and I’m proud of my guys for the effort they put in.”
Kobyluck started the race from the second row after posting the fourth fastest time in qualifying. The team made major changes throughout the two 45-minute practice sessions and were satisfied with the set-up they had for the race.
“We changed just about everything in that car trying to get that extra little bit, but we ended up going back to our original set-up, which was our Adirondack set-up,” Kobyluck said. “We just weren’t happy with the results after making the changes and the car was at its best when we first got here.”
Their intuition paid off and Kobyluck was strong all race-long. An earlier rain shower had washed away the Hoosier rubber that the Whelen Modified Series had laid down during their earlier event and gave the team a neutral track to work with.
“When we put some of our rubber down the track really came in,” said Kobyluck. “The track tightened up, but our car stayed consistent lap after lap.”
Kobyluck couldn’t catch Caisse the first 100 laps, but started to gain on him and made a move for the lead on lap 104. The 37-year-old driver wheeled his way by for the point just before a caution came out. NASCAR scored him as the leader for the restart at lap 110. Unfortunately, Caisse was able to use the outside groove to his advantage and immediately reclaimed the point.
“I thought that we had to complete one full lap so I didn’t think I was going to get the lead,” Kobyluck said. “Sean had a better car than I did on the long runs and I had a better car on the short runs, but the high side on the restarts was the place to be. He got a good run on the outside. Its one of those tracks you could run side-by-side if you don’t get the other guy out of the groove. I gave him the room to race me and he got by me.”
Kobyluck challenged Caisse again on a lap 128 restart and the two battled it out for an entire circuit before Kobyluck got the advantage. Caisse settled in behind the Mohegan Sun Casino Chevrolet, but a caution on lap 131 put the duo back together again.
Racing resumed at lap 137 with Caisse moving back out front, but the two were back together for one final time for a restart with three laps to go. When the green fell, Caisse did what he had been doing all race long – he drove to the front.
“We had a great opportunity to win the race there on that last restart. Whoever was on the outside was in a good position to take the lead, and we had the outside. He got a good jump. I thought he went a little early, but I was probably a little more on the conservative side than he was after my penalty a couple of weeks ago,” admitted Kobyluck. “We tried, but we came out in second.”
The NASCAR Busch East Series is off until September 14th when Kobyluck returns to New Hampshire International Speedway for the running of the Aubuchon Hardware 125.