Qualifying, NASCAR Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park
DiBenedetto on pole, Koby(no)luck 21st
LIME ROCK PARK, Conn. Aug. 14) - The luck of three-time Lime Rock winner Matt Kobyluck ran out during qualifying as a fuel-contamination problem ended his run before it started. Just as Kobyluck took the green to start his first hot lap as part of the final group qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World East Mohegan Sun 200, we heard a pop from his #40 Mohegan Sun Chevy on the front straight. By the time he exited Big Bend, the car was stopped – and so were his chances of qualifying toward the front.
But that isn’t to say that Matt DiBenedetto wasn’t going to take pole anyway. The part-time yet two-time winner (Tri-County and NHIS) turned a :53.727 lap in his Joe Gibbs Driven Toyota – after he saw Kobyluck’s down Chevy – to nip points leader Ryan Truex by 2/10s of a second. It was DiBenedetto’s second pole of the year; his first was also on a road course, Watkins Glen in June.
Third was Jason Holehouse, test driver and chief instructor for the Skip Barber Racing School. Starting alongside Holehouse is Brett Moffitt, sixth in points and winner of the South Boston race in May.
“I was on the start of a good lap when I had to slow for Matt’s stopped car!” DiBenedetto said, “But I put another one together, then parked it. I would have headed back out if I had to.”
Lime Rock is the ninth of 11 races in this year’s NASCAR CWES championship, and the top six drivers in points – Truex, Jody Lavender, Eddie MacDonald, Kobyluck, Steve Park and Moffitt – are within 100 points of each other with three races to go. It is the closest points battle in the series’ 23-year history. The Mohegan Sun 200 will play a large part in determining the 2009 champion.
Lavender qualified 14th, MacDonald ninth and Park 10th for tomorrow’s 1:00 p.m. start.
Starting grid, Mohegan Sun 200 (km) NASCAR Camping World Series East
1. Matt DiBenedetto, :53.727
2. Ryan Truex, :53.900
3. Jason Holehouse, :54.464
4. Brett Moffitt, :54.541
5. Ryan Duff, :54.595
6. Mike Olsen, :54.694
7. Jesus hernandez, :54.766
8. Alex Kennedy, :54.787
9. Eddie MacDonald, :54.873
10. Steve Park, :54.947
11. Jeff Anton,:55.038
12. Jonathan Smith, :55.103
13. Dustin Delaney, :55.797
14. Jody Lavender, :56.038
15. Derek Ramstrom, :56.896
16. Matt Kurzejewski, :57.059
17. Scott Bouleym :57.349
18. John Salemi, :57.523
19. Alan Tardiff, :60.865
20. Tiffany Daniels, :63.624
21. Matt Kobyluck, no time
22. Tim Cowen, no time
In USERA Spec Racer Ford qualifying, H.T. Sweeney was quickest in qualifying with a :59.691, nipping Lee McNeish of Southbury, Conn., by one-tenth of a second. Local favorite John Steinmetz, from Falls Village, Conn., was third.
The fastest cars of the weekend are in the USERA Formula Car Challenge. In qualifying, Doug Rocco took pole with a :50.813 in his Formula Ford 2000, with the Mazda-powered Formula Enterprise of Matt Schneider second-quick at :51.478.