CARS Late Model Stock Tour
Kyle Larson Making CARS Tour Debut With JR Motorsports at Caraway
Jun 23, 2023
For the second and final time in the 2023 season, both divisions of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour are set to do battle in the middle of the week.
Caraway Speedway will play host to this mid-week excursion for the series. Built in 1966, the facility has seen drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, Richie Evans, Sam Ard, Jimmy Hensley and many more take checkered flags during its history, but it has since become a staple of the CARS Tour in recent years.
Along with being the site of the famous North-South Shootout since 2020, which expanded to include the CARS Tour last year, Caraway was also the site for the series’ prestigious $30,000-to-win Old North State Nationals in 2022, which was won by defending LMSC Tour champion Carson Kvapil.
Wednesday’s CARS Tour 265 serves as the halfway point for both the LMSC and PLM Tour. The LMSC Tour championship battle grew tighter following a thrilling event at Dominion Raceway, but the PLM Tour title is far from secured with Caraway being one of several diverse tracks remaining on the schedule.
Track: Caraway Speedway
Location: Asheboro, North Carolina
Laps: 125 (LMSC) / 100 (PLM)
CARS LMSC Tour races: 3
CARS PLM Tour races: 2
Caraway LMSC winners: Justin Johnson (1), Carson Kvapil (1), Jared Fryar (1)
Caraway PLM winner: Caden Kvapil (1), Austin MacDonald (1)
LMSC Entry List (32 cars): #03 Brenden Queen, #04 Ronnie Bassett Jr., #0 Landon Pembelton, #1 Andrew Grady, #2 Brandon Pierce, #4 Dylon Wilson, #5 Kyle Larson, #6 Bobby McCarty, #7 Dylan Ward, #8 Carson Kvapil, #8B Chase Burrow, #10 Kaden Honeycutt, #14 Jared Fryar, #15 Ryan Millington, #15C Logan Clark, #16 Chad McCumbee, #18 Jason York, #19 Jeremy Mayfield, #20 Joshua Dickens, #21 Lanie Buice, #22 Landon Huffman, #24 Mason Diaz, #42 Carson Brown, #43 William Sawalich, #44 Conner Jones, #45 Matt Gould, #62 Layne Riggs, #67 Cameron Bolin, #77 Connor Hall, #81 Mini Tyrrell, #95 Jacob Heafner, #97A Jason Kitzmiller
PLM Entry List (17 cars): #03 Kyle Campbell, #5 Zac Fowler, #6 George Phillips, #7 Tristan McKee, #8 Rusty Skewes, #9 Ashton Higgins, #13 Austin MacDonald, #15B Tate Fogleman, #15S Brett Suggs, #25 Connor Zilisch, #26 Dawson Sutton, #28 TBA, #43 Nick Loden, #43 Joshua Horniman #77 Logan Jones, #81 Katie Hettinger, #96 Caden Kvapil
LMSC point standings:
PLM point standings:
Layne Riggs making debut with Kevin Harvick Inc.
When Layne Riggs arrives at Caraway Speedway, he will not be in his family-owned No. 99 that he piloted to a NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series title last year.
Instead, Layne finds himself with a perfect chance to showcase his talent, as he is set to drive the No. 62 Late Model Stock prepared by Kevin Harvick and Rodney Childers on Wednesday night. Although the deal is currently for one race, Layne intends to make the most of his situation and help build up Kevin Harvick Incorporated’s program.
“I’m just super thankful to KHI for giving me the opportunity to be the first to drive their car besides Kevin,” Layne said. “It reminds me of Dale Jr. giving Josh Berry an opportunity to drive for him and that helped build JR Motorsports’ development program. I’m super honored I was chosen by KHI to do this.”
Layne considers his opportunity with KHI to be a full circle moment in many aspects. His father Scott briefly drove for DeLana Harvick’s dad John Paul Linville in the USAR Hooters Late Model Series, while Childers served as Scott’s crew chief in the NASCAR Cup Series from 2005 until 2007.
Those connections helped Layne obtain the No. 62 car for Caraway. After Harvick finished 11th in the CARS LMSC Tour race at North Wilkesboro last month, he and Childers approached the Riggs family for advice on how to make their car more competitive against top-tier organizations like JR Motorsports and Chad Bryant Racing.
Regardless of Harvick and Childers’ long-term plans in Late Model Stocks, Layne hopes he can be a vital part of that foundation. With Harvick expected to be in attendance on Wednesday while Childers serves as crew chief, Layne understands the expectations placed upon him but is confident he can exceed them and pull off a victory.
“I’m feeling good,” Layne said. “We’re taking what Rodney knows, along with my experience in Late Models and meshing it together to do what we think is best to go out and win a race. Having the resources of KHI and being able to pull so much information, I have the world at my fingertips compared to my family team. It’s an endless well that I hope never quits giving.”
Amidst slump, Carson Kvapil returns to site of biggest win
Just over a year ago, Carson Kvapil captured the most prestigious win of his Late Model Stock career by taking home $30,000 in the prestigious Old North State Nationals at Caraway Speedway.
Kvapil utilized the momentum from that victory to take home the 2022 CARS LMSC Tour championship. He hopes another Caraway triumph on Wednesday will help him break out of a recent slump and extend his advantage in the point standings over Brenden Queen.
“We had pretty much a perfect car in last year’s [Old North State] Nationals,” Kvapil said. “We’re going back [to Caraway] with that same setup, but we’ll see what happens. Everything is changing all the time, but the season has been a good one for us. I thought we had a car to win at Dominion [Raceway] but it just didn’t work out.”
Kvapil found himself on the wrong end of a thrilling battle between himself, Queen, and Bobby McCarty at Dominion. He managed to pass Queen on a late restart, but could not keep his car on the bottom, which ultimately resulted in him finishing fourth after being unable to defend himself against Queen on the top side.
A three-race win streak earlier this year helped establish high expectations for Kvapil through the rest of 2023, so he assigns blame to himself for his recent dry streak. Kvapil said the main issue currently plaguing him is being unable to find a proper balance with his car, which he stressed cannot happen with the LMSC Tour field being so close on speed.
Despite this, Kvapil is not overly concerned about his current situation and anticipates a solid rebound at Caraway. The speed in Kvapil’s car has not wavered following his last win at Ace Speedway, so he knows wins are always realistic goals with JR Motorsports as long as he keeps learning and minimizes mistakes.
“All in all, it’s about being smart,” Kvapil said. “You can’t put yourself out of the race before it even ends. We’re looking forward to consistent finishes. I need to focus on my job at the racetrack and get the car right on race day. When we do that, we’ll have speed.”
Tristan McKee relishes being youngest CARS Tour winner
McKee had to outduel Ashton Higgins in the closing stages of the most recent PLM Tour event at Dillon Motor Speedway to reach that milestone, which he admitted was a pleasant surprise after initially entering the series with the goal of just gaining experience.
“We were very emotional,” McKee said. “I didn’t expect [a win] coming into the CARS Tour. I knew we had a pretty good car at Dillon on that Friday, and we didn’t make any adjustments with how hot it was. We pretty much rode the whole race until the last caution. Ashton and I had a pretty good battle, but I got the lead, and we ended up winning.”
McKee had experience in both Pro Late Models and Late Model Stocks before making his PLM Tour debut at Southern National Motorsports Park but knew he would encounter plenty of obstacles while trying to gain respect against his competition.
An overheating issue during the season-opener put McKee in an early hole. Following another poor outing at Ace Speedway, McKee began to find his comfort zone at North Wilkesboro Speedway with a strong fourth place run in a 40-car field, which he eventually parlayed into his first career victory.
The surge McKee has enjoyed over the past three races currently has him 37 points behind Katie Hettinger in the PLM Tour standings. Erasing that deficit will be a challenge for McKee, but he is optimistic the momentum from his Dillon win will continue into Wednesday’s race at Caraway Speedway.
“It’s been a while since I’ve raced [at Caraway],” McKee said. “There’s going to be some good cars there, so I know it’s going to be fun. I’m personally excited because I feel like we’re going to have a good piece.”
The two CARS Tour divisions will be accompanied by Caraway Speedway’s Bandolero and Legends classes on Wednesday evening. The green flag for the PLM Tour race will fly once the Legends event concludes, with the 125-lap LMSC Tour feature immediately following afterwards.
On-track action begins at 7 p.m. ET, with FloRacing providing the coverage.
For more information on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Pro Late Model Tour, visit www.carsracingtour.com. Be sure to stay active and social with the tour by liking “CARS Tour” on Facebook, following @CARSTour on Twitter and scrolling through photos on Instagram cars_tour.
Additional series information can be obtained by calling the CARS Tour series office, located in Mooresville, NC, at 704.662.9212.