Carson Kvapil Provided Birthday Gift CARS Win at Franklin Co.

Connor Hall, Mike Looney and Kaden Honeycutt crashed in front of the JR Motorsports No. 8

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The clock struck midnight, officially the 19th birthday of Carson Kvapil, and the driver of the JR Motorsports No. 8 was immediately issued a surprise gift.

Okay, it was actually 1:40 a.m. when leaders Connor Hall and Mike Looney crashed directly ahead of him -- while also collecting third-place Kaden Honeycutt -- but Kvapil was suddenly the leader early early on Sunday morning at Franklin County Speedway.

Kvapil held off Kyle Dudley over the final 30 laps to win his second career CARS Late Model Stock Tour race. It was also the second win in five races to open the 2022 season.

"That was pretty awesome," Kvapil said after the race. "I knew we'd have a pretty good car going into the race after practice and qualifying. We were up to third when the track came apart ...

(More on that later)

"We fell to fifth or sixth after that next restart," Kvapil added. "Eventually got (Chad) McCumbee for fourth and it's a blur from there. I can't remember if I was third or fourth, but I was the only one to get through it."

Fourth.

"Me and Kyle Dudley battled hard the last 10 laps and it went our way."

For the first 95 laps of the race, it was the Connor Hall and Mike Looney show until their fateful incident. Looney set a new track record in time trials but conceded the lead to Hall on the initial start. Looney took the lead on the restart the lap before but was turned from behind in Turn 4.

Honeycutt had nowhere to go but into Hall and Looney -- all three being sent to the rear as a result.

Hall would go onto finish fourth ahead of Honeycutt in eighth with Looney being asked to park by team owner Billy Martin. They concluded there was no sense in risking a torn-up race car in the back for start money.

That wasn’t how Hall wanted the battle to go and immediately expressed a degree of remorse after the race.

"I thought we were the car to beat," Hall said. "Where we were good, Mike wasn't. Where he wasn't, I was. That's the worse recipe for a good race. I was a little free in and he wasn't. I got better through the center and on exit.

"We just yin-yanged each other for 100 laps. We didn't fire off right on the competition caution, I don't know if I didn't clean it up good, but we chose the top and we didn't turn good. That allowed him to get under me.

"I was just trying to get a run and show him the nose like he did to me a couple of times. Honestly, he was roughing me up a little bit and I was perfectly fine with it. That was good racing."

To his point, Looney did put the bumper to Hall on Lap 89 before the competition caution.

"I was trying to do the same to him, push him up the bottom," Hall added. "He came around. I think, on our worse day, it would have been second to Mike. His worst day was a second to us and I messed up both of our days.

"I don't mind losing but I hate when I make it happen."

Looney exited his car and cooled off inside the Billy Martin Racing hauler for a few minutes after the race before making his way over to Hall. He was met by team owner and crew chief Chad Bryant. CARS Tour owner Jack McNelly was there in the hopes to deescalate any tension.

Looney just wanted to express his displeasure over how he feels younger drivers have raced him in recent years.

"I could have taken it a little better if I had just come off a long winning streak of a couple of races," Looney said. "These rich kids run over me every damn week. They give me no respect. From now on, turnabout is fair play. I got no respect for these SOBs."

Looney says this will change the way he races moving forward.

"I don't wreck race cars but I'm done farting around for 90 laps," Looney said. "I guess this is what racing has become. There used to be an art to making the pass. It was a beautiful thing when it's done correctly, and no one does it anymore.

"I don't know what happened, but they just run through you now, and if you crash, daddy buys you a new car. They fix it up for you and it's race ready next weekend."

Hall said he could remember six instances where he screwed up and accidently wrecked another driver. He says, 'this makes seven,' and wishes it didn't happen like that.

Looney, in that moment, didn't want to hear it.

"I'm sure it was an accident," Looney said. "It doesn't make it any better. I may regret what I'm saying because I'm mad. I've just had enough. I talked to Chad Bryant and I feel like they're remorseful and feel bad.

"But it's them this week, and another guy the next week, and another one the next week. Next guy that wrecks me, I'm going to beat his dang butt."

Meanwhile, Kvapil takes a commanding CARS Tour championship lead with finishes of first, second, third, fourth and first. He says he plans to celebrate by working on the car on Sunday before racing a Midget on Monday and Tuesday at Millbridge Speedway in the debut Xtreme Outlaw Midget Series event.

Could Kvapil have bested Hall and Looney straight up without the gift?

"I don't think we'll ever know," Kvapil said. "I thought we had a good enough car that we could have raced them for the win. Obviously, what happened made it easier, but I thought we could have raced with those guys too."

Three-time CARS Tour champion Bobby McCarty was contending for a top-five early in the race before getting sidelined with a broken A-Frame. McCarty now has finishes of 16, 8, 19, 8 and 25 -- effectively ending his championship hopes this season.

CARS Tour Late Model Stocks
Franklin County Speedway
May 22 2022

  1. Carson Kvapil
  2. Kyle Dudley
  3. Jacob Heafner
  4. Connor Hall
  5. Mason Diaz
  6. Zack Miracle
  7. Connor Mosack
  8. Kaden Honeycutt
  9. Chad McCumbee
  10. Deac McCaskill
  11. Brandon Pierce
  12. Janson Marchbanks
  13. Hayden Swank
  14. Andrew Grady
  15. Daryn Cockram
  16. Carter Langley
  17. Tony Houseman
  18. Mike Looney
  19. Trevor Ward
  20. Jimmy Mullins
  21. Jason York
  22. Braden Rogers
  23. Chase Burrow
  24. Conner Jones
  25. Bobby McCarty
  26. Bobby Gillespie
  27. Dylan Ward