CARS Late Model Stock Tour
Carson Kvapil Charges to CARS Tour Wake County Win
Aug 27, 2023
A late caution led to a thrilling battle to the finish, as Brenden Queen held off Ronnie Bassett, Jr. to win the CARS Tour Late Model Stock event at New River All-American Speedway Saturday night.
The yellow flag flew with seven laps to go in the Carolina 125 presented by Milam Equipment Rentals after Ryan Millington spun following contact in a three-wide battle with Mini Tyrrell and Bobby McCarty. That set the stage for a fight to the finish between Queen, Bassett and leader Conner Jones.
Queen, who won the Battle of the Stars earlier this year at New River, took the lead from Jones on the restart, and Bassett also worked his way around Jones for second and set his sights on the lead. The two drivers battled side-by-side over the closing laps before making contact in turns three and four of the final lap, with Queen maintaining control and racing to the checkered flag ahead of Jones and Bassett.
Queen knew there would likely be contact in the fight to the finish, and that Bassett arguably had the fastest car of the three combatants in the closing laps.
“I knew it was coming,” said Queen. “They were just a little bit better than us at the end. I felt like we went a little hard early, but I felt like track position was going to be so big tonight. We took off and were catching that 44 [of Jones]. We needed that caution, but then I was actually mad about the caution because I thought I was going to lose second.”
For Queen, the win is a big one after a season full of near-misses. While “Butterbean” won the CARS Tour event at North Wilkesboro, disappointments such as running out of fuel during the Old North State Nationals at Tri-County Speedway and losing out in a late-race battle at Dominion Raceway have been just as memorable.
“I wanted it bad. We’ve been hungry, especially with the points deal. We know we’ve just got to win, and that’s what we’re here to do.”
I wanted it bad ... We know we’ve just got to win, and that’s what we’re here to do.
While a jubilant Queen and his Lee Pulliam Performance team celebrated in victory lane, Bassett looked back on his third-place finish and wondered what he could have done differently.
“We had a really good car at the end,” said Bassett. “The guys did a heck of a job all weekend, this is what we planned for, to be there at the end of the race. We were there, we just came up short again at the end. It’s on me. I got a little too desperate. I’ve got to clean it up, get around them there a little weekend.
“All in all, it’s a good weekend. It’s in one piece, and we’ll get it ready for Martinsville here in a few weeks.”
Then there was Conner Jones, who sneaked past Bassett after the final-corner skirmish for second but was poised to win the race had there not been the caution in the final 10 laps.
“I knew I had to get a good restart,” said Jones. “The spotter told me all of Butterbean’s times compared to mine, and I knew he was going to be pretty good. Obviously, we didn’t need the caution. That kind of screwed our race up, but overall, Mike Darne brought us a really, really fast car.”
Mason Diaz drove from 20th in the final 55 laps to a fourth-place finish, while points leader Carson Kvapil completed the top five.
While many of the CARS Tour competitors now turn their sights to the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway on September 23, the biggest race of the year for Late Model Stock competitors, the Tour will race next on October 7 at South Boston Speedway.
|3||04||Ronnie Bassett, Jr.||125||0.777|
|15||1||Andrew Grady||124||1 Lap|
|16||22||Landon Huffman||124||1 Lap|
|17||4||Dylon Wilson||124||1 Lap|
|18||15C||Logan Clark||124||1 Lap|
|19||67||Cameron Bolin||124||1 Lap|
|20||19B||Chris Burns||124||1 Lap|
-Photo credit: Ted Malinowski/CARS Tour