Caisse And Kobyluck Bury Hatchet For Great Race At Mansfield by Penny Aicardi
Caisse Comes Out On Top, As Kobyluck Stays In Hunt For Title
Last season, no one would have seen Sean Caisse (left) and Mattk Kobyluck (right) talking before the race like here in Mansfield. (Howie & Mary Hodge photos)
Last season, Sean Caisse and Matt Kobyluck could not be in the same room together let alone race next to each other. If they did, you could safely bet on one of them going for a ride. Last week at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway, the two drivers put on a strong display of sportsmanship that rewarded the fans with tight side-by-side racing and proved their rivalry has truly been put to bed.
Caisse, who set the fast time in qualifying to grab his fifth Busch Pole Award, led all but 12 laps of the Mansfield 150 NASCAR Busch East Series race in the series inaugural visit and only yielded the top spot to Kobyluck on two occasions. The driver of the No. 44 Casella Waste Systems Chevrolet held off Kobyluck on a restart with three laps to go and went on to secure his third win of the season in convincing fashion. Caisse also moved up to third in the point standings with only two events to go.

“My respect level for Matt is just huge compared to last year. He’s a hell of a wheelman. I really respect him a lot and I look forward to racing him on the front row for these restarts because I’m comfortable with him,” said Caisse.

Caisse, whose strategy was to start up front and stay up front, pretty much fulfilled that prophecy. Nine caution laps slowed the pace for a total of 57 laps giving Kobyluck, a driver strong on the short run, plenty of opportunities to steal the lead away from Caisse.

“It’s a tough balance with these restarts,” Caisse said. “(Matt) beat me pretty good and they gave him the spot because the caution came out right after. Then I wheeled it on the outside and
I was able to get the lead back. Then there was another caution and I had to go to the bottom and he got a good jump. On that bottom it’s really, really tough when you don’t have any run off. He was running me clean, but really hard.”

The dark clouds lingering over the track looked certain to interrupt the race at some point, and Kobyluck, whose strategy was to lay back in the beginning of the race, abruptly changed his goals once the green flag dropped.

"I was surprised how hard we ran the whole damn race. It never let up. I ran one hundred percent every single lap. The whole pace was just rampant right from the drop of the green. There was no laying back today. You had to give it everything on every lap,” he said.
Caisse was untouchable in the first 104 laps of the event pulling away at times to nearly two seconds over the rest of the field. But several caution periods would close up that distance and make Caisse prove himself all over again.

“It’s frustrating (to pull away and have a caution close that up), but on these short tracks you’ve got to expect it and be mentally prepared. Going into the race you know there is going to be 10-12 cautions. You know you’re going to have to battle on these restarts, and that you may possibly get beat. You just can’t get beat on the one that counts. That’s the one you want to go after for all it’s worth,” he said.

Kobyluck got his first shot up front at lap 105 when he passed Caisse just before a caution came out. NASCAR let him pace the field to green, but it was all Caisse once the action continued.
Caisse (#44) had a good size lead on Kobyluck (#40) when the checkers flew.
“I think you could run one hundred percent and be okay, but I didn’t know so I would pull away and ride at 95%. I was saving just a little bit. You’re rolling off the throttle a little bit and then you’re rolling on the throttle instead of snap, throttle, a lot of brake and then snap back on the gas. I think just that little bit saved that right rear enough for when I needed it to get a good jump on that restart. I had something left,” Caisse said.

Joey Logano finished third and continues to lead the series point standings by a sizable amount at 82 points.

“We needed a good top-five run,” Logano said. “I was too tight and it was tough to pass. I was good on the long runs and we didn’t have any of those today. I think if we were freer we would have had something.”

Jerry Marquis finished fourth with Caisse’s teammate Jeffrey Earnhardt rounding out the top-five. Marc Davis, Peyton Sellers, Jamie Hayes, Bryon Chew, and Max Dumarey completed the top-10. Dumarey’s finish was his first top-10.
1. (1) Sean Caisse, Pelham, N.H., Chevrolet, 150 laps, 61.433 mph, $9,500.
2. (4) Matt Kobyluck, Uncasville, Conn., Chevrolet, 150, $4,000.
3. (3) Joey Logano, Middletown, Conn., Chevrolet, 150, $3,700.
4. (16) Jerry Marquis, Broad Brook, Conn., Dodge, 150, $2,900.
5. (2) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Mooresville, N.C., Chevrolet, 150, $2,500.
6. (7) Marc Davis, Mitchelville, Md., Chevrolet, 150, $2,500.
7. (13) Peyton Sellers, Danville, Va., Chevrolet, 150, $1,900.
8. (8) Jamie Hayes, Norlina, N.C., Chevrolet, 150, $1,800.
9. (18) Bryon Chew, Mattituck, N.Y., Chevrolet, 150, $1,700.
10. (26) Max Dumarey, Gent, Belgium, Chevrolet, 150, $2,100.
11. (5) Brian Ickler, Poway, Calif., Chevrolet, 150, $1,050.
12. (6) Mike Olsen, North Haverhill, N.H., Chevrolet, 150, $2,125.
13. (23) Jonathan Smith, Beacon Falls, Conn., Chevrolet, 150, $1,500.
14. (21) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass., Chevrolet, 150, $1,487.
15. (15) Rogelio Lopez, Aquascalientes, Mexico, Chevrolet, 150, $1,450.
16. (27) Jason Cochran, Marion, N.C., Chevrolet, 150, $925.
17. (22) Chase Austin, Eudora, Kan., Dodge, 149, $1,400.
18. (17) Stephen Berry, Huddleston, Va., Chevrolet, 143, $900.
19. (10) Jeff Anton, Russell, Mass., Chevrolet, 135, $1,400.
20. (14) John Salemi, Nashua, N.H., Chevrolet, 134, $1,400.
21. (9) Jesus Hernandez, Fresno, Calif., Chevrolet, 131, $1,400.
22. (25) Antonio Perez, Mexico City, Mex., Chevrolet, 119, $900.
23. (20) Michelle Theriault, Bristol, Conn., Chevrolet, 88, engine, $1,375.
24. (12) Ben Stancill, Ayden, N.C., Chevrolet, 63, accident, $875.
25. (19) Dion Ciccarelli, Severn, Md., Chevrolet, 34, accident, $1,375.
26. (11) Trevor Bayne, Knoxville, Tenn., Chevrolet, 22, engine, $875.
27. (24) Tim Cowen, Ashland, Ohio, Ford, 2, accident, $875.
28. (28) Guy Pavageau, Columbia, Md., Chevrolet, 1, accident, $875.
29. (29) Scott Bouley, Wolcott, Conn., Chevrolet, 0, dns, $1,375.

Kobyluck (#40) was able stay in the points race, racing inside Joey Logano.
“Restarts with Sean are always tough. I can never tell where he’s going to fire. When I’m in the lead I guess I fire too early and I get penalized for it. I fire right at the line like I’m supposed to. It’s a wildcard next to him because you just never know when he’s gonna go. He might go five carlengths early – he might got two carlengths early. I try to do the best I can,” Kobyluck said.

On a restart at lap 128, Kobyluck gave Caisse one of the best challenges of the night with the two literally door-to-door for two circuits before Kobyluck settled out front. Caution again slowed the field and Caisse reclaimed the point at the drop of the green at lap 137.

Caisse, a driver for Andy Santerre Motorsports, never again relinquished the lead.