Carson Kvapil Claims $30k Old North State Nationals

The race was the opening round of the 2022 CARS Tour season.

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Carson Kvapil did not believe he would even be in the conversation for a win when the final controlled caution of the Old North State Nationals at Caraway Speedway was displayed at Lap 140.

The decision to stay out while other top contenders in Kaden Honeycutt and Deac McCaskill worked to the advantage of Kvapil, who had to survive a relentless assault from behind in order to get his first career CARS Tour Late Model Stock victory with JR Motorsports.

Kvapil knew it was only a matter of time before he found victory lane in one of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Late Models but was in disbelief that the occasion took place in one of the CARS Tour’s most prestigious events.

“Everybody was thinking about this race over the offseason,” Kvapil said. “We finished fourth, third and second during my first three races with JR Motorsports and we joked around that I would finish first [in the Old North State Nationals]. Everything turned out great and we got it done.”

When the fateful call came, Kvapil was skeptical that his car would be strong enough to stay out in front for the last 60 laps.

Having struggled to work his way to the front all day, Carson’s woes were compounded when he contacted the wall with 82 laps remaining. Despite this, Carson’s crew assured him that staying out was the only realistic shot they had at winning the Old North State Nationals.

Once Carson did everything necessary to keep Honeycutt behind him, he became more focused on being perfect at each end of the track while simultaneously worrying about whether he would have to survive a green-white-checkered attempt.

“I was getting a little nervous there at the end,” Carson said. “With every single race we’ve nearly won before, it always seemed like something would happen like a late-race caution or another issue. We got lucky and fortunate that this race ultimately went green to the checkered flag.”

Kvapil’s triumph proved to be another bitter defeat for Honeycutt.

While a bad restart cost him an opportunity to hoist his first CARS Late Model Stock trophy at the track last year, Honeycutt said that a late-race incident between him and the lapped car of Conner Jones inside of 20 laps to go stymied the progress he made towards catching Kvapil for the win.

“I don’t understand why certain people are the way they are,” Honeycutt said. “[Conner] chose to do what he did but I’m not going to get into it. [Nelson Motorsports] gave me a great race car and I thought we were the best all day. The adjustments [Carson] made paid off at the end and they were a little better than we were.”

As with everyone else on Sunday, Honeycutt and Nelson Motorsports worked tirelessly to devise a strategy that would put them in the best position to win.

After staying out during the second controlled caution on Lap 97, Honeycutt pitted to put on two fresh tires for the final stint. The challenge for Honeycutt was getting his No. 12 Autos By Nelson Chevrolet loose enough to where it could find speed off the corners and quickly work through traffic.

Even though Honeycutt believed more could have been done to make his car looser, he was adamant that Sunday could have still turned out in his favor had Jones not impeded his progress while he was searching for a lane around Carson.

Honeycutt does not intend to linger on the Old North State Nationals for long and is already turning his attention towards Hickory Motor Speedway in two weeks, where he fully expects to battle Carson for the win once again.

“[Carson] won at Hickory when he was there last year,” Honeycutt said. “We’re going to have a good baseline going into Hickory, but we just have to execute, manage our tires and keep our momentum going with a win.”

Old North State Nationals
CARS Tour Late Model Stock Tour
Caraway Speedway

  1. Carson Kvapil
  2. Kaden Honeycutt
  3. Jared Fryar
  4. Jason York
  5. Corey Heim
  6. Chase Burrow
  7. Carter Langley
  8. Deac McCaskill -1
  9. Braden Rogers -1
  10. Brandon Pierce -1
  11. Peyton Sellers -1
  12. Heath Causey -2
  13. Ronald Hill -3
  14. Connor Hall -6
  15. Trevor Ward – OUT
  16. Bobby McCarty – OUT
  17. Conner Jones – OUT
  18. Chad McCumbee – OUT
  19. Andrew Grady – OUT
  20. Jacob Heafner – OUT
  21. Justin Johnson – OUT
  22. Jonathan Shafer – OUT
  23. Mason Diaz – OUT
  24. Coy Beard – OUT
  25. Mike Looney – OUT
  26. Layne Riggs – OUT
  27. Janson Marchbanks – OUT
  28. Zack Miracle – OUT
  29. Dylan Ward – OUT
  30. Hayden Swank – OUT
  31. Chase Dixon – OUT
  32. Mike Darne – OUT
  33. Ryan Wilson – OUT
  34. Colby Higgins OUT