Nashville, TN — Matt Kobyluck was well on his way to a top-five finish in the NASCAR Busch East Series debut at Nashville’s Music City Motorplex Sunday night, but a tire issue relegated the driver to a 12th place finish. Kobyluck, however, was able to move up the points ladder with his finish.
“It was a good points night for us and we moved up to second,” he explained. “We’re in one piece and we got a 12th place finish out of it. Certainly I would have liked to have been in the top-10, but on that last restart the 35 car almost came down on us and we had to back out of it. Whether it was 9th or 10th or 11th or 12th it really doesn’t make much of a difference, but at the end of the season it might. We’re getting closer every week though and the guys are working really hard to close up the gap every week.”
Kobyluck started the Music City 150 from the third position after posting a qualifying lap of 109.269 mph in qualifying. The Uncasville, CT-native took the lead on lap four from Sean Caisse and remained out front until lap 12 when Jamie Hayes went under him in turn three.
“In the beginning of the race the car was awesome and then the right rear just went to junk and I had absolutely no grip at all with the right rear. I couldn’t get in, I couldn’t get through the middle, I couldn’t get off: it was just sideways everywhere. I figured maybe it would come back around so I just backed up and let a bunch of guys go by me and I just saved it as much as I could. I figured when the sun went down and we burned some fuel off it would come back,” he said.
Kobyluck, though sliding back, never really went outside the top-10 until lap 120 when he fell back to 15th. Caution waved at lap 124 and the team opted to make some changes.
“We were trying to tighten it up. We dropped the track bar a bunch to see what that would do, and it tightened it up, which is what we wanted it to do, so maybe we were just too high on the trackbar. It was kind of weird because on a long run during practice the car was really, really good. A different set of tires, that’s all it takes sometimes to throw your set up a little bit. On a track like this where grip is a premium it takes its toll.”
Kobyluck resumed the race in the 17th position on the lap 131 restart and was running 11th by lap 140 when caution waved. The green flag dropped for the final time at lap 148 with Kobyluck determined to break into the top-10.
“On that last restart we actually would have got a top-10. I don’t know what the 35 was doing. He was running on the apron because he was running out of gas and then when we went back green, he was restarting on the high side and then he dropped down to the low side. He was in my lane, and then he went sideways on the restart and checked up,” Kobyluck explained. “The 66 who was right behind him went underneath him in turn two. We were both just going to go right by him and the 35 just came right down the hill and took the nose right off the 66. He almost spun him out and me out.”
The Mohegan Sun Casino driver opted to bring the car home in one piece rather than the push issue and settled for a 12th place finish.
Sources: Penny Aicardi/Matt Kobyluck PR