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IRWINDALE, Calif. - Matt Kobyluck is no stranger to wild finishes at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. Saturday night at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, he once again got the best of a three-car, last-lap free-for-all to end up in Victory Lane.
In the process, the Uncasville, Conn., driver became the first to win two NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdowns.
Joey Logano slid up into Peyton Sellers while going for the lead in Turn 4 coming to the checkered flag. Kobyluck, who was running third, came across the start-finish line a nose behind Logano. Logano was penalized for his move, though, giving Kobyluck a second NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown to go with the one he won in 2006.
“I saw it coming,” Kobyluck said. “So I laid up a little, got on the brakes and cut to the bottom so that I could miss it all.
“The writing was on the wall. I’ve been here and doing this enough to know what the outcome was going to be one way or the other. I just didn’t want to get caught up in it.”
Trevor Bayne wound up second, followed by Jason Bowles. Logano finished 40th.
“When the (Camping World) East and West guys are together and there’s no points involved and a lot of money, it usually provides some excitement,” said Bowles. “And who doesn’t want to say for the whole next year that they won the Showdown?”
Johnny Borneman and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Matt Crafton rounded out the top five.
Three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and early contender Brian Ickler were among the 22 cars involved in a lap 143 pileup. The chain-reaction pile-up was caused when Hornaday got together with Ickler, who had led 100 of the first 142 laps.
Ickler’s car was too damaged to continue, but Hornaday came back to finish sixth.
Sellers’ car also suffered significant right front damage in the melee. However, he drove back through the field and took the lead on lap 245 after Logano – who had led 83 laps – scrapped the Turn 4 wall and lost two spots to Sellers and Kobyluck.
Logano won the 2007 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown by holding off Sellers on a green-white-checkered finish. This time, it was Sellers attempting to hold off Logano on the final lap. Contact between the two, however, left Sellers car crumpled on the front stretch just shy of the finish line and Logano punished for his aggressive driving.
And it left Kobyluck, who started 22nd, in Victory Lane in the end. Again.
“The finish is crazy every single year,” Kobyluck said. “But at the end of the day, the fans get a great show, there was a lot of hard racing out there. I was having fun out there.”
Kobyluck’s win in the 2006 event also featured a three-car, side-by-side skirmish for the win. In that one, it was Eric Holmes that went spinning while Kobyluck held off Sean Caisse for the win.
“I’ve been involved in every one of these,” said Kobyluck, who has also finished second twice in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. “And Toyota and NASCAR and Toyota Speedway put together a spectacular event for us to compete at. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of it.”
Kobyluck won his first NASCAR Camping World Series East championship in 2008. He is just the second driver to follow up a championship season with a win in the postseason showcase. Logano completed the sweep in 2007.
This is was the first year the event - which has earned the title the 'Daytona 500 of short-track racing' - was held in January after the first five were held in the fall.
Chris Johnson won the Coors Light Pole Award, while Andrew Myers won the 50-lap 'Last Chance' race that set the final six spots in the field.
Mike Johnson was the Late Model winner and Travis Thirkettle was the Super Late Model winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races that followed the NASCAR Camping World Series event.