Not Over Until It's Over: Kobyluck Wins in Overtime at Watkins Glen by Penny Aicardi
Marc Davis Leads Often in CW East Race, But Doesn't Seal The Deal
Marc Davis led often at Watkins Glen with his #92.... (Brian Cleary/Getty Images for NASCAR Photo)
Marc Davis came close, but not close enough.
Matt Kobyluck, the NASCAR Camping World Series East's current road racing “king” could not be dethroned Sunday afternoon in an extended 125 mile event that came down to a wild green-white-checkered finish that was reminiscent of short track racing.
On a single-file restart, Davis, who had led 32 laps of the 55-lap event, slipped up at the green giving Kobyluck the opportunity to shoot to the outside groove and take the lead and eventual win in the Camping World Series East 125 at Watkins Glen International road course. Kobyluck had to work for the lead - surviving some heavy contact in a three-wide battle into turn one.
“He was so out of shape everywhere, but he would motor right away from me every time I ducked underneath him. At that point I just wanted to ride behind him, put pressure on him, and hope that he would make a mistake,” said Kobyluck of Davis.
Kobyluck led only three laps of the day using patience as a key to winning the race. The Mohegan Sun Casino Chevrolet had taken the lead just before a rain shower stopped the race at lap 26, but NASCAR gave it back to Davis.
...but Matt Kobyluck (#40) led when it mattered the most.
Kobyluck celebrates his victory at The Glen.
“NASCAR uses only one scoring loop so when a caution comes out the entire field must take the green or they go back to the previously scored lap,” explained Kobyluck. “As long as the race got back underway I knew we had a shot at the win. I just had to be patient about it.”
Coors Light Pole Award winner Antonio Perez was the first to lead the race with Kobyluck remaining a fixture in his rear view mirror until the first caution.
During the yellow, the #2 team made a driver change putting Grand Am driver Andy Lally in the car to replace the injured Craig Goess. Davis used an early pit strategy and came down onto pit road as well.
Drivers spent the next several laps coming onto pit road for their fuel stops, but a full course caution slowed the paced at lap 19. The highest driver in the field that had stopped was Marc Davis, who was comfortably running second behind Perez, who had yet to pit.
Before the race went back to green, Perez decided to stop and Davis, a 17-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing development driver, inherited the lead. It marked the first change up front all day.
A threat of rain and thundershowers loomed over the track as the halfway mark approached. On the restart at lap 22, it was Davis, Tim George, Jr., Perez and Kobyluck.
On lap 25, Nick de Brijn made contact with Jeff Anton's machine and sent him spinning in turn two. Just ahead, Kobyluck had gotten by both George and Davis to become the
new leader. It didn't last for long, however, and Kobyluck was put back to second.
An hour-and-forty-five minutes later, NASCAR summoned the drivers back to their cars and the roar of the engines could be heard once again. Once back to racing, it was all Marc Davis. Kobyluck appeared stronger in the corners, but could never shake Davis from the lead. Steve Park became a factor when he moved up to third, but on lap 42, he pulled down pit road with a left front tire down.
“I never saw such a bad handling car have so much horsepower. I don't know what they've got under the hood of that thing. Up through the esses, he was a groove-and-a-half out of the groove, through the carousel turn he was a groove out of there,” said Kobyluck. “There were three places around the track that I was substantially faster than he was. I just had to wait for a mistake.”
Red flag conditions were displayed again after Max Dumarey's engine blew in the #16 BODYCOACH.NET Chevrolet on lap 49. The caution period set up the final restart and extended the race to a 55-lap distance.
When the green dropped, Kobyluck bolted out to the left of Davis and powered by him with force. Perez went to the inside making it a three-wide battle. After some bumping and banging between the three, it was obvious that the race belonged to Kobyluck and he comfortably settled out front. After Kobyluck took the white flag, a wreck involving point leader Austin Dillon and several others unfurled and led to the race being ended under caution.
“I knew going into turn one that I wasn't braking until I got down into one. That was just the way that was going - if I made it, I made it and if I didn't, I didn't. He just got a bad restart and my plan played out perfectly,” said Kobyluck of the final restart. “I don't know if he had a bad restart or what, but he didn't get off the line real good and he left the outside wide open. I had a run going and I just bailed it down in there.”
Both Davis and Perez were off the pace around the course for the remainder of the event opening the door to a DEI domination for the remainder of the podium.
“It got a little crazy. I saw the 12 [Perez] laying back a little in my mirror and I knew he was going to get a good jump on me. I sort of expected him too because he was a lot faster than me anyway. I wasn't going to push the issue too hard. He got by me and I sort of just fell in line and rode around. Marc Davis slipped up there and we capitalized on that. The 12 slipped up in turn seven right before we were coming to take the white, and I was able to capitalize there and get by him. It was just about being patient,” said Jeffrey Earnhardt, who finished second.
Earnhardt's teammate, Trevor Bayne, finished third while Jesus Hernandez, also a DEI-driver, finished fourth. Steve Park rounded out the top-five.
“It's not often that everything plays out the way you wanted it to. We planned on going low into turn one and it just worked out for us. We exceeded our expectations today - especially with this being the first time we've ever been on a road course,” said Bayne. “I talked to a lot of guys here: Max (Dumarey), Matt (Kobyluck), and Jeffrey (Earnhardt), and they helped me out a lot. We got this car loaded off the trailer and it was good. This is a fun racetrack.”
NASCAR Camping World Series East-East 125 At The Glen Unofficial Results
Sunday At Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen, NY
Lap length: 2.45 miles
(Start position in parentheses)
1. (2) Matt Kobyluck, Uncasville, Conn., Chevrolet, 55 laps, 70.203 mph, $10,600. 2. (7) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Mooresville, N.C., Chevrolet, 55, $6,500. 3. (11) Trevor Bayne, Knoxville, Tenn., Chevrolet, 55, $6,415. 4. (14) Jesus Hernandez, Fresno, Calif., Chevrolet, 55, $4,300. 5. (4) Steve Park, East Northport, N.Y., Dodge, 55, $3,500. 6. (15) Bryon Chew, Mattituck, N.Y., Chevrolet, 55, $2,500. 7. (17) Jason Holehouse, Toronto, Canada, Toyota, 55, $2,100. 8. (23) Tim Cowen, Ashland, Ohio, Ford, 55, $1,900. 9. (9) Ricky Carmichael, Clearwater, Fla., Chevrolet, 55, $2,375. 10. (1) Antonio Perez, Mexico City, Mex., Dodge, 55, $3,350. 11. (28) Rogelio Lopez, Aquascalientes, Mexico, Chevrolet, 55, $3,825. 12. (20) Austin Dillon, Lewisville, N.C., Chevrolet, 55, $2,300. 13. (8) Marc Davis, Mitchelville, MD., Toyota, 54, $2,825. 14. (25) Craig Goess, Greenville, N.C., Toyota, 54, $1,750. 15. (22) Jody Lavender, Hartsville, S.C., Ford, 54, $2,225. 16. (26) Dustin Delaney, Mayfield, N.Y., Chevrolet, 54, $1,700. 17. (24) Ryan Duff, Hazard, Ky., Chevrolet, 52, $1,675. 18. (12) Peyton Sellers, Danville, VA., Chevrolet, 52, $2,150. 19. (10) Stan Silva, Castroville, Calif., Chevrolet, 52, $1,625. 20. (27) Jeremy Clark, Concord, NC, Chevrolet, 50, $1,600. 21. (3) Max Dumarey, Gent, Belgium, Dodge, 48, engine, $1,585. 22. (18) Tim George, Jr., Novato, Calif., Chevrolet, 41, radiator, $1,575. 23. (19) Jamie Hayes, Norlina, N.C., Chevrolet, 33, accident, $2,050. 24. (6) Brian Ickler, Poway, Calif., Chevrolet, 30, clutch, $2,050. 25. (16) Jeff Anton, Russell, Mass., Chevrolet, 27, transmission, $2,050. 26. (5) Nick de Bruijn, Vlaardingen, Holland, Chevrolet, 25, accident, $1,550. 27. (13) Eddie MacDonald, Rowley, Mass., Ford, 6, engine, $2,050. 28. (21) Jonathan Smith, Beacon Falls, Conn., Dodge, 5, engine, $1,550.
Time of Race: 1 hour 55 minutes 10 seconds
Margin of Victory: under caution
Fastest Qualifier: A.Perez (118.831 mph, 74.223 seconds)
Caution Flags: 5 for 19 laps.
Lead Changes: 4 among 3 drivers.
Lap Leaders: A.Perez 1-20; M.Davis 21-25; M.Kobyluck 26; M.Davis 27-53; M.Kobyluck 54-55.
Standings: 1. A.Dillon, 647; 2. B.Ickler, 592; 3. S.Park, 590; 4. M.Kobyluck, 584; 5. J.Earnhardt, 570; 6. T.Bayne, 556; 7. M.Davis, 552; 8. J.Hernandez, 545; 9. R.Lopez, 520; 10. E.MacDonald, 505.