Carson Kvapil entered Friday night’s AcceleratedGFX.com 240 CARS Tour Late Model Stock Tour race at Ace Speedway the series point leader and the defending race winner at the 0.4-mile speedway.
The JR Motorsports driver captured the pole early in the day and after 125 laps the No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet ended the day taking the checkered flag and scoring his fourth victory of the 2023 season. Kvapil became the first repeat winner at Ace Speedway in the CARS Tour Late Model Stock Tour.
“It’s just awesome. We came here earlier in the spring and we had probably our most dominant performances of the year, at least my most dominant performance driving for these JRM guys,” said Kvapil.
I knew coming back here we would have a really good car. We unloaded for Practice 1 and we were stupid fast and I knew we had a good car."
“You never want a two-to-go caution, so I was just hoping it would stay clean and green for us and it did,” he said.
While Kvapil had not visited Victory Lane since May, he was able to maintain his points lead. During Friday night’s race at Ace Speedway, many of his top competitors suffered setbacks in the championship hunt.
“The last few races we’ve held our points lead or lost one or two points each race,” he said. “It hasn't been too bad. Just waiting for the race like this to start piling up for us and start stretching that points lead back out like we should be. It was a good field of guys today, I think there was within a tenth in qualifying. So many guys that can win the race, it’s awesome.”
event at Hickory Motor Speedway on July 30, and he put the pressure on Kvapil for the race lead in the closing laps. Working through lapped traffic, Diaz was able to close the gap on the leader but was not able to take the top spot.
“We just got a little too tight there,” Diaz said after his second-place run. “I just have to thank all of this Chad Bryant Racing crew. It’s been a good last three races. We’ve been getting some momentum on our side, running up front, keeping the car clean, and kind of running where we should be all year. Solid run, just got a little too tight there toward the end.
“Carson, he was really good,” he said. “I think he was playing with us there, he just kind of mimicked what I was doing with my line. Like I said, solid run for this No. 24 car.”
Diaz has shown strength over the past three events, finishing second at Caraway Speedway, winning at Hickory Motor Speedway, and second Friday night at Ace.
It feels good to come to a racetrack and run up front. We felt like we should have been like this all year, just finally claiming them, finishing the races, executing, and was just a little short here.”
Ryan Millington, Kaden Honeycutt and Brenden Queen rounded out the top five in Friday night's 125-lap event.
Kvapil started Friday night’s race from the pole position but Queen led the opening laps and took command of the race early. Queen entered the day just 18 points behind Kvapil in the championship standings and looked as if he would contend for the win throughout much of the 125 laps.
Connor Zilisch brought out the first caution 28 laps into the event when he spun the No. 57 Chevrolet after contact with Dylan Ward. Connor Hall was also involved in the incident, suffering damage to the nose. Hall entered the event third in the championship standings with a win at Langley Speedway but ended the night early, recording a DNF.
With 70 laps to go and Queen out front, Kvapil muscled his way past Ryan Millington for the second spot, sending him to the high side as Bobby McCarty took third. Millington continued to drop through the field as the battle for the top spot heated up.
Queen led at the halfway mark and at the competition caution with 57 laps to go. When the yellow flag flew, he was followed by Kvapil, McCarty, Mason Diaz and Chad McCumbee.
On the restart with 57 laps to go, Kvapil took the lead by driving around the outside of Queen’s No. 03. Pinned on the bottom lane, Queen slipped back to fourth as Diaz took the second spot and McCarty got by for third. The battle for the lead was heating up between Kvapil and Diaz when McCumbee’s strong night came to an end when he had a right front tire go down on the No. 16 Ford with 32 laps to go.
On the ensuing restart, Kvapil took the lead but McCarty’s No. 6 Ford billowed smoke from the transmission running second to bring out the fourth caution of the night. The incident brought out the red flag as track crews went to work cleaning the racing surface.
Restarting with 32 laps to go, Kvapil held off Diaz for the lead as Queen, Millington and Honeycutt battled behind them. The race went green for the final 32 laps but nobody could get past Kvapil’s No. 8 Chevrolet.
The CARS Tour Late Model Stock Tour heads to Tri-County Motor Speedway for the ninth race of the season, the Grand Atlantic Old North State Nationals, on Saturday, August 19.
CARS Tour LMSC AcceleratedGFX.com 240 Race Results:
|Position||Driver||Laps||Total Time||Best Lap||Best Time||Diff||Gap||Sponsor|
|1||#8 Carson Kvapil||125||5858.2||4||0015.9||Bass Pro Shop|
|2||#24 Mason Diaz||125||5859.1||6||0016.0||0.919||0.919||Solid Rock Carriers|
|3||#15 Ryan Millington||125||5903.2||5||0016.0||5.035||4.116||Leisure Tyme Rentals|
|4||#10 Kaden Honeycutt||125||5903.8||13||0016.1||5.6||0.565||Butlerbuilt Seats|
|5||#03 Brenden Queen||125||5904.1||4||0016.0||5.982||0.382||Best Repair Company|
|6||#04 Ronnie Bassett Jr||125||5904.3||13||0016.2||6.177||0.195|
|7||#95 Jacob Heafner||125||5906.6||12||0016.1||8.457||2.28||Heafner's Towing and Recovery|
|8||#22 Landon Huffman||125||5906.6||8||0016.0||8.485||0.028||High Rock Vodka|
|9||#77w Trevor Ward||125||5906.9||12||0016.1||8.709||0.224||Digital Repair|
|10||#1 Andrew Grady||125||5907.6||18||0016.3||9.435||0.726||ABC Hosiery & Apparel|
|11||#57 Connor Zilisch||125||5908.3||11||0016.1||10.098||0.663||Chevrolet|
|12||#16 Chad McCumbee||125||5908.5||8||0016.0||10.372||0.274||Robert Elliott Properties|
|13||#91 Jonathan Shafer||125||5909.4||16||0016.3||11.25||0.878||Solid Rock Carriers|
|14||#77s Blake Stallings||125||5909.8||12||0016.1||11.695||0.445||Stallings Classic Cars|
|15||#81 Mini Tyrrell||125||5911.3||12||0016.1||13.196||1.501||Convenience Tire & Auto|
|16||#15c Logan Clark||125||5912.4||16||0016.3||14.25||1.054||The Hogan Group|
|17||#5c Brent Crews||125||5913.8||14||0016.2||15.658||1.408||Gearwrench|
|18||#67 Cameron Bolin||124||5858.6||5||0016.3||0.421||The Salty Dog Cafe|
|19||#8b Chase Burrow||124||5859.5||12||0016.1||1.344||0.923||Top Gun Motorsports|
|20||#87 Tate Fogleman||124||5900.0||14||0016.3||1.849||0.505|
|21||#4 Dylon Wilson||124||5902.8||13||0016.4||4.601||2.752|
|22||#7 Dylan Ward||119||5900.6||8||0016.0||2.4||DeWalt Performance|
|23||#2 Brandon Pierce||112||5901.9||33||0016.2||3.752||1.352||Fremont Properties|
|24||#6 Bobby McCarty||93||3430.1||8||0016.0||Solid Rock Carriers|
|25||#77 Connor Hall||29||1248.6||11||0016.1||Towne Bank|
Image courtesy Blake Harris/CARS Tour