Race Weekend Central

Kaden Honeycutt Wins Inaugural Orange Krush 200 at Orange County

ROUGEMONT, N.C- We saw the introduction of a special event in Late Model Stock car racing this past Friday night (March 29), with the inaugural running of the Rogers Heating & Cooling Orange Krush 200 at Orange County Speedway.

It didn’t disappoint.

The race was hosted by the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, with all proceeds going back to the organization. Its format was simple – an invite-only, one day show, 200 laps with a halfway break, a redraw and $15,000 awarded to the winner at race’s end. The event was headlined by CARS Tour regulars such as Deac McCaskill and Bobby McCarty, along with former NASCAR stars including Ward Burton and Timothy Peters.

It was a perfect night of racing. A reminder of everything there is to love about not just Late Model Stock racing, but the short track scene as a whole.

McCarty laid down the quickest lap in the two early afternoon practice sessions and followed it up with quick time in qualifying. A blistering lap put McCarty on pole by nearly a tenth of a second over Kaden Honeycutt.

At the drop of the green, McCarty shot to the lead and began to pull away, while a fun four-car battle for second between Honeycutt, Peters, Brent Crews and Kade Brown raged on in his rearview mirror. 

McCarty led flag-to-flag in the first 100 lap stint, going without challenge despite a restart just before halfway. However, things would turn upside down for McCarty during the halfway break, as he drew the No. 8 for the redraw pill, and was forced to restart eighth on lap 100.

With this unfortunate draw for McCarty, the race fell into the hands of Honeycutt and McCaskill. A frenzy of cautions during the first 40 laps following the halfway break kept the field bunched up, never allowing Honeycutt to drive away with the race. 

While McCaskill and Honeycutt began to duke it out for the lead around 50 to go, McCarty struggled to get back through the field, falling as low as 13th before mounting a late charge in the closing stages. 

McCaskill made one last effort to get around Honeycutt’s No. 17 for the race win as the laps wound down, but couldn’t find a way around him. Honeycutt took the checkered for his first Late Model Stock win since 2022, with McCaskill and the No. 08 team settling for second. McCarty climbed back to third in the closing laps, but ran out of time to challenge the top two. 

“It feels so good, you know I haven’t won a Late Model Stock race since Ace (Speedway) in 2022,” Honeycutt said afterward. “I just needed the confidence back, to be able to win a race like this, especially against, my god, the best there is around Orange County Speedway. Deac (McCaskill). Man, he ran me so clean, I appreciate that.”

The podium was a good showing for McCarty. But Friday’s race may feel like one that got away from the R&S Race Cars No. 6 team for quite some time. 

“There was a few restarts there after the halfway break where, you didn’t know if they’d pick the top or the bottom because they’d just run the cone over,” McCarty said. “We picked the top and we went from eighth to 13th at some point. Then we just kept getting boxed in. We finally got to where we could start making some moves and we got up to third and we run ‘em down, I just burned everything up trying to catch them.”

As for the race’s promoter, Ward Burton, he brought the No. 2 machine home in 15th and in one piece at the end of 200 laps. 

“Man racing’s fun when you win,” Ward said when asked post race if he enjoyed the experience. “But, we finished, and we finished top 15. It’s Jeb (Burton)’s car, and he had both his cars in one piece, so thanks for everything Jeb did to make this happen and thanks to all the fans and y’all coming out.”

Jeb wound up sixth at race’s end. The Burtons shared a father-son moment post-race. “You didn’t destroy it, that’s good,” Jeb said in the background of Ward’s interview with Frontstretch‘s Michael Massie. 

Whether or not we’ll see Ward back in a racecar anytime soon, or ever again for that matter, is uncertain.

“I don’t know man right now, I’m just trying to get through tonight,” Ward said

Jeb was more hopeful, saying “we’ll get dad back in a car. We’ll have him a little bit better car next time.”

For McCarty, McCaskill and Honeycutt, Friday’s strong showing can serve as a confidence-booster heading into the big CARS Tour event at the track in just under a month. The series heads to Orange County on April 20. 

All in all, the inaugural Orange Krush 200 was a success, both on and off the racetrack. Fans packed the grandstands and watched hard-nosed Late Model racing on a worn out racetrack – all for a good cause outside the track. It doesn’t get much better than that in the short track community. 

Orange Krush 200 Results

  1. Kaden Honeycutt
  2. Deac McCaskill
  3. Bobby McCarty
  4. Kade Brown
  5. Camden Gullie
  6. Jeb Burton
  7. Trevor Ward
  8. Terry Dease
  9. Timothy Peters
  10. Chase Burrow
  11. Mike Looney
  12. Blake Stallings
  13. Logan Clark
  14. Stacy Puryear
  15. Ward Burton
  16. Jeremy Mayfield
  17. Andrew Patterson
  18. Sam Yarbrough
  19. Brent Crews
  20. Ronnie Bassett Jr.
  21. Barry Beggarly
  22. Landon Huffman
  23. Buddy Isles Jr.

About the author

Chase began working with Frontstretch in the spring of 2023 as a news writer, while also helping fill in for other columns as needed. Chase is now the main writer and reporter for Frontstretch.com's CARS Tour coverage, a role which began late in 2023.  Aside from racing, some of Chase's other hobbies include time in the outdoors hunting and fishing, and keeping up with all things Philadelphia sports related.

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