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Short Track Weekly: Five to Watch in the CARS LMSC Tour

The 2024 zMAX CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour kicked off its season on March 10 at Southern National Motorsports Park. The race was won by defending champion Carson Kvapil, but he wasn’t the only one to make waves in the division’s season opener.

Here are five drivers to watch leaving the year’s opening weekend.

See also
Counting CARS: 3 Takeaways From Carson Kvapil's Season-Opening Win

1. Carson Kvapil

JR Motorsports’ star driver won the 2023 CARS Tour title with a five-win campaign. He had to earn the first victory of the season, battling dirty air and fellow competitor Brenden “Butterbean” Queen on a restart to win the race, clearing him to get the lead before the yellow flag waved once more.

In his third year with the team, Kvapil looks to add more wins and another championship to the trophy case — a feat that will prove daunting. He’s set to miss the April 6 race at Hickory Motor Speedway to make his Xfinity Series debut.

“I’m optimistic, but also realistic,” Kvapil said when asked if he could miss a race and still earn enough points to win the title.

Whether he makes it or not, watching Kvapil try should be fun for the CARS Tour faithful.

2. Landon Huffman

Landon Huffman has become one of the bigger personalities on the CARS Tour. This is partially due to his popular YouTube channel, where he can be seen vlogging his race prep or educating fans on the differences between a Late Model and a Pro Late Model.

However, his 27.2k subscriber count and collective 3 million+ channel views couldn’t get the car right to make the race on Sunday. Huffman failed to qualify his Jimmy Mooring machine into the field, causing him to go home early.

“Something’s significantly wrong with the race car, it’s not turning at all,” Huffman told Frontstretch reporter Chase Folsom after he didn’t make the show.

Huffman finished ninth in the 2023 standings and won a race at Tri-County Speedway, but is doing everything himself this year from his shop and missed the setup at SNMP.

He’ll have a big hole to dig out of after missing the opening race, making Huffman one to keep an eye on as he progresses and improves throughout the season.

3. Brenden “Butterbean Queen

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bigger personality in the CARS Tour field than Butterbean Queen.

Sporting a unique video-game-styled livery and memorable nickname, Queen is among the CARS Tour’s most memorable drivers. But it would be a mistake to interpret his outgoing and fun demeanor as coming from someone who doesn’t take their craft seriously.

Queen finished second in the points standings in 2023 and boasted four wins on the year. He also has a victory in Florence Speedway’s prestigious South Carolina 400, coming in 2022.

A 19th-place finish in the season opener wasn’t the result he was looking for, but there are plenty of races remaining before a champion is crowned. That includes a March 23 trip to New River All-American Speedway, where Queen earned one of his four wins last season.

4. Deac McCaskill

A three-time winner at SNMP, McCaskill showed his strength once again to finish third in the North Carolina track’s CARS Tour opener.

“Anytime you get a podium in the CARS Tour, that’s not something to complain about,” he said post-race.

McCaskill finished 14th in the 2023 standings, but only contested 12 of the 16 events. In those 12 he won twice but also had two DNFs, hurting his chances to score a higher points finish.

The veteran will be running the entire schedule in 2024. If he can avoid mistakes and make the most of his good days, the rest of the field should be on notice.

5. Connor Hall

Another driver who won in a limited 2023 schedule shined on Sunday. Hall drove to a top-3 finish in the CARS Tour opener to keep his early momentum rolling in 2024.

“I just needed to turn better,” he told Frontstretch reporter Chase Folsom after his late battle for the win with Kvapil.

Hall was a championship runner-up to Kvapil in 2022, earning three wins and eight top fives. He shifted to the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series in 2023, winning the series title while also earning six CARS Tour top fives, including a win at Goodyear All-American Speedway.

His arrival at the juggernaut Nelson Motorsports, three-time series champions with Bobby McCarty, comes with a minimal learning curve. Pairing a top driver to a major team has given the group an ability to contend for wins immediately.

Hall’s already finished second to Kvapil in both Sunday’s race and February’s Icebreaker at Florence Motor Speedway. It won’t be a surprise if he takes the checkered flag himself soon.

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