NHIS BUSCH NORTH LEFTOVERS by Mike Twist and Bob Dillner
Kobyluck Has Very Bad Day, Cup Influence Out in Force, Shaw Returns
KOBYLUCK HAS DOUBLY BAD DAY AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
What started out as an afternoon with a lot of potential for Matt Kobyluck turned sour by the end of the day.
Kobyluck started his first NASCAR Busch Series event, but got caught up in a wreck with Ashton Lewis that destroyed one racecar. In the Busch North event, he got within 13 laps of the finish until taking a hard hit with his other #40 car. It turned out to be an expensive day for the team, but Kobyluck was not injured.
“I’m alright,” said Kobyluck. “It was lack of respect that caused the wrecks in both cases. In the Busch Series race, I was passing Ashton Lewis and got on his outside and he drove in too deep. He locked up his brakes and spun me into the fence. We were just trying to click off laps. I wasn’t
trying to race with anybody. I would pass the cars that were slower than me and at that point the #46 (Lewis) was slower. It was just brain fade for him I guess.”
Matt Kobyluck was OK after two hard wrecks on Saturday. (51 Photo)
Meanwhile in the Busch North race, it was another driver that Kobyluck got caught up with.
“There was absolutely no need for what happened in the Busch North race,” said Kobyluck. “I thought that I would have a little more respect from Brad (Leighton) because what happened was unnecessarily. There was a lapped car that was ahead of Brad. That car was in the low groove and I was in the high groove and Brad decided to make a hole in the middle. During the process of that, he got squirrelly and
hit me. It snapped the wheel right out of my hands and the
car took a hard right straight into the wall.”
The crash hurt Kobyluck points-wise, which is not something that Leighton had to worry about.
“We’re running for the championship and Brad’s not,” said
Kobyluck. “He’s running a limited schedule. It would have
been one thing if we were racing for second or third, but
CUP HELP IS COMMON IN BUSCH NORTH GARAGE
A few Busch North teams had help from higher divisions of NASCAR racing at New Hampshire this weekend.
Ryan Moore had a few DEI pieces in his car, as well as advice from the massive Nextel Cup organization.
The #40 Busch car of Kobyluck took a hard hit to the rear. (51 Photo)
not for ninth place. There’s no need to that to happen with ten laps to go. I expected more respect from Brad and I didn’t get it. The end result is me having a destroyed car.”
Leighton thought that the wreck was not preventable.
“We were side by side going into the corner and we had plenty of room,” said Leighton. “I don’t know what happened. Matt and I locked up together and he just went right into the wall. I certainly didn’t mean to do anything intentionally.”
NOT A TYPICAL NEW HAMPSHIRE FINISH FOR LEIGHTON
When Brad Leighton usually comes to New Hampshire, he finishes the day near the front. The former Busch North champion has a total of eight victories at the track, but could finish no better than tenth this weekend.
“It’s a decent finish for how the weekend started,” said the
fifth place finisher, Moore. “I gotta thank everyone at DEI, Richie Gilmore, Bono and everyone else. We were horrible on Thursday and they came over and threw their set- up in it and it helped a bunch. The car was awesome. They built us a stout motor. We wouldn’t be here without them.
Mike Olsen also had a little bit of help from the Cup garage. Scott Wimmer’s crew chief Frank Stoddard got his start in NASCAR as a crew member for Olsen and his grandfather Stub Fadden. Even though Olsen didn’t turn any wrenches on the #61 car or wear a headset during the weekend, his moral support and advice was a benefit to the Olsen operation.
CHEW’S TOP TEN ENDS WITH BROKEN ENGINE
Bryon Chew had a top ten run going with his #99 car before his engine expired with less than a third of the race remaining.
SHAW MAKES FIRST '04 START
Dale Shaw’s first race of the year didn’t go quite as well as he would have hoped. The driver of the #60 car finished 13th after a little late race contact.
“I wish that the caution hadn’t have come out at the end,” said Shaw. “A couple of them knocked me up wide and we lost a few spots. But that’s the way that it goes. We have a whole car and we’ll be coming back to the next race here and hopefully have better results. I love coming to this track.”
“I talk to him on a weekly basis as a friend,” said Olsen. “I’ve bounced a few options off him and he gives us some pointers here and there. He’s just a good sounding board for us. We went out to dinner last night and we’re good friends.”
Paul Andrews was also on hand. The crew chief for Kasey Kahne’s #38 Busch Series machine, was on top of the pit box for his son’s Busch North race. Tim Andrews finished 15th in the 125 lap race.
Paul Andrews watches his son Tim from the top of the pit box. (51 Photo)
“We had a good car,” said Leighton. “We qualified tenth,
but got up to second before the car got really, really
loose. We choose to pit because I thought that I had a tire
going down. As it was, we had a tire rubbing. We came in
and fixed it and tried to come up from the back. Finishing
tenth is not our typical result here. But you’ve got to
take the good with the bad and we’ve had a lot more good
than bad here.”
Leighton is running a limited schedule of events and will
make his next series start at Watkins Glen next month.
Tom Baldwin limps around NHIS after getting tagged from behind (Howard Hodge Photo)
“The car was real good and we were picking off people,” said
Chew. “I thought that we had a good chance to get into the
top five. I broke an exhaust early on and I couldn’t hear
what was going on. We broke the motor at the end.”
The #99 team pitted to try and fix the problem, but dropped
out of the race shortly after their first stop.
“I tried to make it to the finish,” said Chew. “It didn’t work though. We really thought that it was an electrical problem because the car was retarding down the straightway, but once we came in the second time, I said to stop. It sounded like something came apart inside.”
POINT CONTENDERS HAVE DIFFERENT PATHS AT NHIS
Two drivers have broken away from the pack so far in the battle for the 2004 Busch North championship. Andy Santerre and Mike Olsen have a close battle with each other with only 27 points between the two.
It was a day of opposites for both drivers. Olsen started on the pole and faded back in the race to finish eighth. Santerre, on the other hand, struggled in qualifying and started 15th. He rebounded in the race to finish fourth.
“We’ve been on a roll lately,” said Santerre. “We came here and tested though and didn’t run real well with this car. The car we run usually is our short track car and that is up in the trailer. This is a good little car, we just have to figure it out. We’ve been second here twice, now this is a fourth, that’s not too bad.
Olsen didn’t think that his finish would hurt his chances for a title too much.
“It’s not a big disappointment,” said Olsen. “Coming here realistically, Andy is usually good and I’m average car here. We had a super car and got the pole. I’m really happy about that. We also kept the points loss to a minimum. Obviously, we would like to gain but if we can stay within striking distance then we have a shot at it.”
SELLERS INVADES BUSCH NORTH FROM OUT WEST
NASCAR Winston West driver Jack Sellers took advantage of a little bit of bonus prize money available to competitors from the left coast to tow out to New Hampshire. It was the second year that he made the long trip.
“We just didn’t go as well as we wanted,” said Sellers. “The rear end was out of kilter. We finally figured it out. It’s not bent, but it’s tweaked out. It was designed to be this way. Scott Wimmer used to run this car [a former Bill Davis Racing Busch Series machine] and they would run that way with radial tires. With bias ply tires, it doesn’t work as well.”
Sellers hopes that this won’t be his last trip to New England.
“Coming out here is great,” Sellers said. “I’ll try and do it again next year. All that I need to do is to find a sponsor that can just give us a pittance to do it and I’d run three or four races. I’d like to two out here, leave the car and run here, Watkins Glen and Lime Rock. I’d just like some help with the tow because I’m dying to come back.”
Leighton (#35) races on the inside of Dave Dion. (51 Photo)
The #60 of Dale Shaw had been idle since last season. (51 Photo)
The Chew crew pushes their car behind the wall as Bill Penfold zips by. (51 Photo)
Mike Olsen is right behind Andy Santerre in the point standings. (51 Photo)
Jack Seller's #75 Pontiac is a former Scott Wimmer machine. (51 Photo)