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Carson Kvapil Closes Out on CARS Title with SoBo Win

That's the fourth win this season by the second generation racer.


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With a win on Saturday at South Boston Speedway, Carson Kvapil and the JR Motorsports team unofficially closed out on the CARS Tour championship in the fashion they have established all summer.

Win, win, win.

It’s an unofficial championship, but realistically, Kvapil has it locked up barring something that would prevent them from entering the final race of the season on November 5 at Caraway Speedway.

But unlike so many of their wins this season, Saturday afternoon at South Boston wasn’t straightforward accomplishment and it took coming back from outside of the top-five by the midway point of the race. In fact, around Lap 75, Kvapil repeatedly found himself three-wide with the likes of Mason Diaz, Jacob Heafner and Deac McCaskill.

These were legitimately treacherous laps.

Kvapil was able to methodically work his way through the group, took advantage of some theatrics between the leading Layne Riggs and Landon Pembelton, winning for the fourth time this season in CARS Tour competition.

"I really didn't like the position we were in at that point of the race," Kvapil said. "All race long, I felt like we were in rough spots with the cars we were around. I wanted to get clear and just ride it out, but we had to get going and that gaggle of cars was scary.

"We got to fourth in time for that first restart, that let us start on the outside for the first time all race and was able to show what kind of car we had. All race, we had someone on the outside and couldn't use all the track like I wanted until the final 20 or so."

Pembelton put the bumper to Riggs with 17 laps to go and forced the reigning NASCAR Weekly Series champion to fall to third. The lost momentum allowed Kvapil to then pick off Pembelton. Riggs caught back up to Pembelton with 13 to go and returned the favor -- a hook but not a particularly hard one.

In all, the podium comprised of Kvapil, Riggs and Pembelton. However, during the cool-down lap, Riggs showed his displeasure with Pembelton and there appears to be some lingering bad feelings over how the final NASCAR Weekly Series races played out between Riggs Racing and Sellers Racing.

Riggs previously accused Pembelton of blocking for car owner Peyton Sellers over the final races. As a result, Riggs occasionally needed to use the bumper to get the position and points needed to win the NASCAR national championship.

"The last three weeks of the national championship, he hit me every chance he got," Pembelton said. "He may not remember that, but it is what it is, and we move on. We're just going to keep racing and I look forward to racing with him for years to come."

Riggs said that rebuttal was unacceptable.

"I don't see how retaliation from weeks and months ago, is a factor, and is pretty childish in my opinion," Riggs said. "To carry something like that over, especially when you're racing for a national championship. He didn't even have a dog in the fight in the national championship beyond trying to help his teammate.

"Really sad racing like that. I call it racing against the empire. Either way, this is a small family team, and we're kicking butt and taking names."

Ultimately, Pembelton isn’t sure that made the difference in who won the race, especially going back and looking at lap times.

"The 8 car was really fast at the end, really quick as they always are," Pembelton said. "As for (Riggs), I feel like we had a good battle, I gave him a nudge and he gave it right back to me, but I just feel like you need to be a little more professional than he was after the race, especially from someone who wants to race at the next level."

Riggs, meanwhile, thought he would be able to hold both of them off without the initial contact.

"We definitely had the dominant car, especially on long runs," Riggs said. "The top was really good and track position was massive. Early in the race, we worked (Pembelton) hard and knew I needed to use my tires to do it.

"I didn’t lay a fender on him to do it and should have seen it coming. I just hate that we had that last restart at the end because I thought we had a really good long run car. I guess they chose not to race anymore. I raced them clean all race, especially on the bottom where it’s really hard to pass, and he never looked to my inside.

"He just drove right on through me, and it’s sad that it’s expected it, and I called it too."

Nevertheless, the race results in another Kvapil win and now a championship for the JR Motorsports No. 8 team.

"It’s huge, especially my first year with the guys here," Kvapil said. "That we were able to immediately win a championship season together shows what kind of team they have here, how good their cars are. It’s a huge confidence booster heading into next season."

Of note, Chad McCumbee suffered an expired engine on Lap 18. Andrew Grady cut a right rear that sent him into the wall on Lap 101.

CARS Tour Commonwealth 125
South Boston Speedway
October 22 2022

  1. Carson Kvapil
  2. Layne Riggs
  3. Landon Pembelton
  4. Connor Hall
  5. Zack Miracle
  6. Jacob Heafner
  7. Deac McCaskill
  8. Mason Diaz
  9. Bobby McCarty
  10. Mini Tyrrell
  11. Brandon Pierce
  12. Conner Jones
  13. Ashton Higgins
  14. Trevor Ward
  15. Carter Langley
  16. Daniel Silvestri
  17. Braden Rogers
  18. Parker Eatmon
  19. Isabella Robusto
  20. Blake Stallings
  21. John Goin
  22. Chase Burrow
  23. Ronald Hill
  24. Hayden Swank
  25. Jessica Cann
  26. Andrew Grady
  27. Jonathan Shafer
  28. Craig Moore
  29. Chad McCumbee
  30. Katie Hettinger
  31. Jaiden Reyna