CARS Tour Returns Home for Hickory Doubleheader

No race has held more races than the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars

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Both divisions of the CARS Tour are set to roll into Hickory Motor Speedway this weekend for the Tuff Shed 250 following two thrilling races in the Puryear Tank Lines Old North State Nationals at Caraway Speedway presented by GXS Wraps.

Carson Kvapil capitalized on pit strategy to hold off Kaden Honeycutt for $30,000 in the Late Model Stock feature, while his younger brother Caden passed Luke Fenhaus in the closing stages of the 100-lap Pro Late Model race.

The Kvapil brothers are each looking to build off the momentum from Caraway with another victory, but they will face plenty of tough competition from rookies and seasoned veterans looking to add another chapter to Hickory’s storied history.

Event Notes

Track: Hickory Motor Speedway
Location: Hickory, N.C.
Track Length: .363 mile
Laps: 150 (LMSC), 100 (PLM)
CARS Tour races: 15 LMSC & SLM
Hickory LMSC winners: Josh Berry 4, Bobby McCarty 3, Anthony Alfredo 2, Justin T. Carroll 1, Taylor Gray 1, Brayton Haws 1, Corey Heim 1, Deac McCaskill 1, Ryan Repko 1
Hickory SLM winners: Matt Craig 4, Raphael Lessard 2, Bubba Pollard 2, Brandon Setzer 2, Christopher Bell 1, William Byron 1, Chris Dilbeck 1, Tate Fogleman 1, Carson Kvapil 1

LMSC Entry List (26 cars): #07 Chase Dixon, #1 Andrew Grady, #2 Brandon Pierce, #2r Braden Rogers, #2w Ryan Wilson, #4 Justin Johnson, #4s Hayden Swank, #5 Carter Langley, #6 Mike Darne, #7 Dylan Ward, #8 Carson Kvapil, #8b Chase Burrow, #10 Janson Marchbanks, #12 Kaden Honeycutt, #16 Chad McCumbee, #22 Bobby McCarty, #24 Mason Diaz, #32 Zack Miracle, #43 William Sawalich, #44 Conner Jones, #77 Connor Hall, #87 Mike Looney, #91 Jonathan Shafer, #95 Jacob Heafner, #99 Layne Riggs, #99h Colby Higgins

PLM Entry List (16 cars): #1 Kody King, #6 William Sawalich, #7 Jacob Creed, #12 Annabeth Barnes-Crum, #13 Austin MacDonald, #24 Vicente Salas, #24c Penn Crim, #35 Caden Kvapil, #49 Jeff Batten, #49m Luke Morey, #55 Charlie Keeven, #64 Joe Mancuso, #74 Ryan Moore, #76 Tyler Johnson, #77 Logan Jones, #96 Luke Fenhaus

LATE MODEL STOCK DRIVERS CHASING BOBBY MCCARTY

Of the two dozen Late Model Stock drivers entered for Saturday’s Tuff Shed 250, none of them have had more success in CARS Tour competition at Hickory Motor Speedway than three-time champion Bobby McCarty.

Since making his first start in the CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour back in 2017, McCarty has visited victory lane at Hickory on three different occasions, two of which have taken place in the last four races.

A fourth win at the historic track would serve as a much-needed boost for McCarty and Nelson Motorsports following a tough start to the 2022 season in the Old North State Nationals at Caraway Speedway.

Despite not leading a single lap, McCarty contended for the win all day and was running inside the Top 5 when he ran out of fuel with less than 15 laps remaining, which relegated him to a disappointing 16th place finish.

McCarty will be determined to shake off his issues from Caraway on Saturday night at Hickory and assert himself as a title favorite against his teammate Kaden Honeycutt and the driver who bagged $30,000 at Hickory in Carson Kvapil.

LUKE FENHAUS MOVING FORWARD FROM NEAR MISS AT CARAWAY

A late-race restart was all that separated Luke Fenhaus from becoming the first winner in the history of the CARS Pro Late Model Tour.

Caden Kvapil would be the one celebrating in victory lane at Caraway Speedway after Fenhaus led a race-high 87 laps, but the 2021 Slinger Nationals winner is ready to move forward from that defeat and find victory lane at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday.

“I thought it was a good first race,” Fenhaus said. “It was my first time seeing [Caraway] and we dominated more than three quarters of the race. We just missed it on that last restart, but it was still a solid finish and we’re carrying some momentum heading into Hickory.”

Fenhaus admitted that not taking the top on the final restart was a mistake on his part, adding that having the outside would have worked to his benefit with a tight race car that he and Highlands Motorsports were battling all weekend.

The narrow defeat only served to teach Fenhaus many valuable lessons on how to handle late-race restarts at abrasive tracks and plans to use that knowledge as he grows acclimated to Hickory in his first visit to the historic facility.

Fenhaus believes he will be among those contending for the win again on Saturday night alongside Kvapil and William Sawalich but he said that track position and equipment conservation will be imperative towards deciding where he will be running in the closing stages.

“Starting up front is going to be key,” Fenhaus said. “With Hickory being a smaller track, there are a lot of things that can happen with other cars, plus it’s a little bit harder to pass there. I’d love to get another pole but I also plan to save the right front and rear a little bit more. Hopefully the cautions play out our way this time.”

VICENTE SALAS JOINS WILSON RACING AT HICKORY

The start of the 2022 CARS Pro Late Model Tour season did not go to plan for Donnie Wilson Racing at Caraway Speedway.

Brent Crews finished 14th for the team when a clutch failure sidelined him after 13 laps. Despite this, Wilson still has plenty of optimism about his Pro Late Model operation heading into the next CARS Tour race at Hickory Motor Speedway; this time with Vicente Salas driving one of his cars.

“Brent was really fast in practice at Caraway and we knew he would race good,” Wilson said. “He was in the Top 5 when the clutch gave out but I’m looking forward to Hickory with Vicente. We always have a shot to win no matter who we bring to the track and I’m very happy with things so far.”

With Salas’ background primarily centered on iRacing, Wilson has worked diligently to get him ready for 100 laps on Hickory’s abrasive surface.

Salas has tested with DWR on five different occasions at Hickory over the past several months. Wilson said that Salas quickly picked up on the importance of tire conservation and believes that he will be ready to contend for the win when the green flag drops on Saturday.

Wilson expects Salas to learn so much more about Hickory once he starts logging laps with other cars on track, but he is confident that Salas’ will be strong enough to maintain solid track position so that he will have a shot at the victory.

“We want to win every time we go to the track, but our realistic goal is to finish inside the Top 5,” Wilson said. “Putting ourselves in a position to win in the last ten laps is always important and that’s what we’re looking to do with Vicente.”