2001 champion Mike Olsen.   Now that he’s earned a Thompson trophy, Kobyluck is looking to get a championship trophy before the season is out.

“We’ll take it.  We’ve got the point lead and that is where we want to be.  Now it’s ours to make sure we keep.  We’re just trying to take it one race at a time and get the best possible finish.  We’ll see how it all shapes out.  Getting in victory lane certainly helps our cause.”

The NASCAR Busch East Series returns to action on July 8th at Lake Erie Speedway (PA).

Homestate Driver Wins Busch East Race and Takes Point Lead
There are currently four tracks in the state of Connecticut where full-sized cars race.  All four have different personalities.  The road course at Lime Rock Park is a combination of low and high speed turns, Waterford Speedbowl is a tight bullring where drivers have to stay up on the wheel and rub a few fenders to succeed, Stafford Motor Speedway is a unique oval where you have to combine finesse and aggression to finish well and Thompson International Speedway is a fast track where the turns come up in a hurry and misjudging your competitor by just a hair will send you into the wall hard.
All four tracks host the NASCAR Busch East Series.  So for a Connecticut driver on the tour, winning at all four tracks is a major accomplishment. 

On Thursday night, Uncasville’s Matt Kobyluck captured the final trophy that he needed to claim for that accomplishment.  By winning the 100-lap Busch East event at Thompson, Kobyluck has now swept all of the Connecticut tracks with his #40 Mohegan Sun machine.

“This feels great,” said Kobyluck.  “I’ve never been in victory lane here at Thompson and it’s a pretty cool place.  It’s a fun racetrack to run.  We’ve always ran pretty decent here with some top-fives, but we’ve never really had a car good enough to win.”
Matt Kobyluck has conquered one more victory lane in the State of Connecticut.  (Glen Davis Photos / www.glensphotos.com)
Kobyluck got his feet wet in racing by entering the Late Model class at Waterford in 1993 and even then, he hoped to be able to make a mark like this in his homestate someday.

“It was always in the back of my mind,” said Kobyluck.  “Everyone races for a reason and you obviously race to win races and championships.”
The journey to victory lane was a relatively easy one for Kobyluck.  He started third and had a catbird’s seat when the two front row starters, Sean Caisse and Eddie MacDonald, ran into problems.  MacDonald was the first to encounter bad luck when he had electrical problems on the start and lost three laps.  Then, what was shaping up to be a great battle between Caisse and Kobyluck ended on lap 14 when Caisse pulled into the infield with a shattered driveshaft.

Kobyluck believes that the end result would have been the same though even if Caisse had lasted the entire race.
“I think that on the initial start, that we were pretty equal,” said Kobyluck.  “But I honestly think that as the race went on, we definitely would have had a better car.  You just know when you have a great car and I’m not so sure that they would have been able to hang with us.  Unfortunately, they had a bad night and we never got to find out.  We were able to capitalize on it and that is the name of this game.

“We deserved to be in victory lane and fortunately we were able to seal the deal.  We had a good race.  The team performed well, the car performed incredibly well.  The car was right tonight.”

While Kobyluck was the one who took the checkered flag, he was not the only driver with reason to celebrate after the race.  Fellow podium finishers Brian Hoar and Charles Lewandoski had reasons to be proud as well, thanks to the circumstances of their finishes.
Hoar wrecked his #45 car hard on the second lap of practice.  His team put it back together again, in doing so missed out on most of the remaining practice during the day.  That didn’t seem to matter, as the #45, despite some rear end damage that was still evident by looking under the car, was strong enough to run in Kobyluck’s tire tracks all night long.

But was finishing second on this night good enough for Hoar?

“You’re damn right it was,” said Hoar.  “After the way that we started the day, that was a great run.

“Matt had almost a perfect car.  We didn’t quite have a perfect car.  On longer runs, I had a better car.  If there were 10-15 laps, I could gain just a little bit, but after those restarts he would just smoke me in turns three and four.”      
Charles Lewandoski scored his career best Busch East/Busch North finish at Thompson.
Lewandoski brought his streak of consecutive top-10 finishes to four at Thompson.  Before the 2006 season started, he had never finished in the top-10 for a Busch East/North event.  Now four races into the year, he hasn’t finished out of the top-10 yet.

“I’m just so proud of this team,” said Lewandoski.  “I’ve got some great people on this team and several of our competitors have also been helping us out.  To start the season out this way and to finish in the top-three at Thompson is great.”

Speed51.com will have more from both Hoar and Lewandoski coming up next week in our Busch East leftovers.
John Cerbone (#98) and Jeff Anton (#30) were among the many drivers who had bad nights.
Behind top three finishers, it was a rough night.  Nearly half of the race laps were contested under caution.  One yellow flag period was even extended when a tow truck got stuck in the infield mud.  It was that kind of night.

Among those involved in wrecks or spins during the evening were rookie John Freeman {who ran as high as fourth in his Thompson debut before getting booted from behind), John Cerbone, James Civali, Patrick Dupee, Pierre Bourque and Rich Gould.

With the victory, Kobyluck takes over the Busch East point lead by an unofficial margin of 14 markers over
Kobyluck (#40) and Brian Hoar (#45) dice it up on a late-race restart.