Race Weekend Central

Counting CARS: 3 Takeaways From the Kvapils’ Pair of Aces at Ace Speedway

ALTAMAHAW, N.C. – A special Friday night showdown for the zMAX CARS Tour saw the series roll into Ace Speedway on May 3 for a combined 225 laps around the .400-mile speedway just north of Elon.

It was a bad night to be anyone not named Kvapil, as Caden Kvapil took home the win in the Pro Late Model division, while his older brother Carson Kvapil prevailed in the Late Model Stock Car division.

For their father Travis Kvapil (who owns Caden’s PLM team), it was a night that was chock full of proud dad moments.

Here are three overall takeaways from the night at Ace.

See also
Short Track Weekly: Carson Kvapil Tops Frontstretch's 2024 CARS Tour Power Rankings

Caden Leads Wire-to-Wire in PLM Race of Attrition

The Pro Late Model race was nothing short of chaotic, with only 12 cars finishing of the 21 that entered. The race quickly became a wreckfest, highlighted by a late restart that saw Nick Loden climb over the rear of Jake Bollman‘s car.

Dylan Garner also spun in avoidance of the chaos. The crash brought out the first of two red flags in the PLM race. Despite the wild ride, Loden climbed out and was okay after the crash. Bollman and Garner both continued on and finished the race; however Bollman had to make significant repairs to his No. 24 before reentering the race.

The only consistency of the race was Caden Kvapil’s No. 35 up front. After starting on pole, Kvapil led all 100 laps, fending off the likes of Loden, Spencer Davis and even William Sawalich on several late race restarts to take his first CARS Tour PLM win of the season.

“The car never really fell off at all throughout the whole race,” Kvapil told FloRacing in victory lane. “I was able to manage a good gap from me to second place [Davis].”

Davis finished second, still seeking his first CARS Tour win. Kaden Honeycutt had an impressive drive to third, followed by Sawalich and Conner Jones to round out the top five.

Carson Prevails in Spectacular Battle For LMSC Win

Meanwhile, the elder Kvapil had to fight his way up front in the LMSC division. Carson had qualified eighth, despite setting the pace in practice, due to what Kvapil believes was a mistake he made on his qualifying lap.

“I messed up in qualifying and kind of put us in a hole,” Kvapil told Frontstretch after the race.

Kvapil spent the first 90 laps of the 125 lap feature working his way up to third, trailing just Brenden Queen and Ryan Millington. Millington was the class of the field, and was poised to pick up a victory reminiscent of Kvapil’s younger brother earlier.

However Queen never let him too far out of his sights and continually put pressure on him, especially on restarts. Lapped traffic played a major factor in keeping Queen within striking distance of Millington.

“The lapped traffic tonight was racing us really hard,” Queen told Frontstretch after the race. “It actually helped me more than [Millington]. I was able to really close the gap on him.”

See also
Carson Kvapil Misses Out on 1st Career Xfinity Win at Dover

Once Kvapil got to third, he got a caution that allowed him to contend with Millington and Queen the rest of the night. For 30 laps, the three engaged in a tremendous battle for the victory, with Kvapil ultimately completing the race winning pass on Millington with 23 laps to go.

“We didn’t really fall off and I felt like our car really kind of took off at the end of the race,” Kvapil said.

Queen finally got around Millington, albeit it was only for second, while Millington had a trackbar issue that relegated him to third.

For Kvapil, the win was his third consecutive CARS Tour victory at Ace and second Tour win of the year. Despite missing the race at Hickory Motor Speedway to make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut, Kvapil is still well in the hunt for the championship in the still-young LMSC season.

Brandon Jones Joins the Tour in First of Three Starts

The LMSC division had a guest entrant on Friday night, as full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Brandon Jones made an appearance in the LMSC race Friday night.

As the Xfinity Series had an off-week, Jones decided to enter the race, though he wasn’t driving for his Xfinity team, JR Motorsports. He decided to join forces with Hawk McCall Motorsports, with whom he won a late model race with at Concord Speedway in 2012.

Jones will also race Hawk McCall’s No. 9 (ironically, his Xfinity number) at North Wilkesboro Speedway on May 15 and Hickory on July 27. Those two races also fall on off-weeks for the Xfinity Series.

Unfortunately, Jones’ CARS Tour season debut didn’t go as well as he would have hoped. He only managed a 21st-place qualifying effort in a 25-car field. He struggled at the rear of the field all night, but was able to grab a few spots on some late restarts, ultimately finishing 13th.

Jones isn’t the first full-time NASCAR driver to join the Tour this season. Craftsman Truck Series driver Layne Riggs and ARCA Menards Series driver Kris Wright have also made appearances on the Tour, while Jones’ Xfinity teammate Sammy Smith will also compete at North Wilkesboro.

See also
Bringing the Heat: Connor Zilisch Trades Sports Cars for Stock Cars

Race Results

Pro Late Model:

Late Model Stock Car:

What’s Next?

Perhaps one of the biggest races of the year lies ahead for the zMAX CARS Tour, as it heads to the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway for some midweek racing.

As the Truck Series and Cup Series occupy the 0.625-mile track for All-Star Weekend on May 18-19, the CARS Tour is relegated (or promoted, depending on your viewpoint) to the middle of the week, opening All-Star Week with one of its biggest races of the year.

The Tour will be the first to race on the freshly-repaved track, and the race is going to provide crucial information to drivers and teams for when they return to Wilkes County for the season finale on Oct. 19 to decide the champions.

The Pro Late Models will hit the track on Tuesday, May 14 for the Reverend 100, while the Late Model Stock Cars will run the Window World 125 on Wednesday, May 15. Both races will run at 8:30 p.m. ET on their respective dates. Broadcast coverage can be found on FloRacing.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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