Mother Nature altered plans for the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour in their first trip to Tri-County Motor Speedway in 2023.
With torrential rainfall moving into North Carolina on Saturday and staying until early next week, the CARS Tour moved the 100-lap feature for the Pro Late Model Tour to Friday alongside the inaugural GXS Street Stock Series event, all while the $30,000-to-win Old North State Nationals for Late Model Stocks was moved to Aug. 19.
A familiar name on the Late Model Stock Car Tour would be the one taking home the PLM Tour checkered flag in defending champion Carson Kvapil, all while Gary Ledbetter earned the distinction as the inaugural winner in GXS Street Stocks.
Different car, same song for Carson Kvapil
Carson Kvapil did not let the postponement of the Old North State Nationals keep him out of a car at Tri-County.
After quickly assembling his family-owned Pro Late Model that did not have an engine 24 hours earlier, Kvapil put together a performance that his competitors in the LMSC Tour have grown familiar with over the last year, fending off his younger brother Caden and Gio Ruggiero to take home the checkered flag on Friday evening.
“Half of this is from the past notes we have [at Tri-County] from my brother running here,” Kvapil said. “It gave us a good point to start from today since we didn’t test. Without all the guys, we wouldn’t have made it here. We showed up at the last minute and got ourselves a win.”
With his victory, Kvapil became the first driver in CARS Tour history to win a race in all three divisions that have existed.
Having already won titles in the LMSC Tour and the now defunct Super Late Model division, Kvapil did not have any doubts in his ability to claim a PLM Tour victory as long as he could get his car put together in time for Friday’s green flag.
Kvapil enlisted the help of his JR Motorsports crew to ensure his car had all the essentials for 100 laps of on-track action at Tri-County. He added the commitment of his crew members to assist with the Pro Late Model highlights the chemistry they have developed together and their desire to overcome any obstacle standing in front of them.
“This is pretty cool,” Kvapil said. “It all started with [crew chief] Brian Shaffer. He was trying to mess with me and I called his bluff. We started working on [the car] at 6 p.m. yesterday, swapped the motor and clutches, all the exhaust, put 150 lbs. of lead in it and mounted a seat. Just goes to show how good of car this is and how good the guys around me are.”
Gavan Boschele shines in first race with Rackley W.A.R.
There was a new face piloting the No. 25 for Rackley W.A.R.’s Pro Late Model program at Tri-County on Friday in the form of Gavan Boschele.
The Mooresville, North Carolina native showcased the efficiency of the Rackley W.A.R. equipment by methodically climbing his way from the seventh starting position to come home second in his debut race with the organization.
Boschele had only competed in four PLM Tour events prior to Friday night’s race at Tri-County. He tallied Two Top 10 finishes in 2022 for DLP Motorsports, including a then-career best performance of sixth at Pulaski County Motorsports Park before tallying a ninth at Hickory Motor Speedway earlier this year.
With the No. 25 having already visited victory lane in the PLM Tour this year with Connor Zilisch behind the wheel, speed favored Boschele on Friday. He worked his way around talented drivers like Cole Butcher, Gio Ruggiero and Caden Kvapil, but could not chase down the elder Kvapil for the win.
Boschele is expected to run several more races for Rackley W.A.R. this year, which will give him plenty of opportunities to build upon his stellar outing from Tri-County and add his name to the list of drivers who have won in the PLM Tour.
Gary Ledbetter takes home first GXS Street Stock Series checkered flag
History belonged to Gary Ledbetter in the inaugural GXS Street Stock Series race on Friday night at Tri-County.
After polesitter Marlin Yoder was sidelined early due to a mechanical issue, Ledbetter took control and managed to hold off a talented field of Street Stocks to become the first driver to win in a series he hopes sticks around for the foreseeable future.
“It means the world to win here,” Ledbetter said. “There were 22 cars here and many of them were very good. All of them wanted to be the first to win [in the GXS Street Stock Series] but fortunately we were. Hopefully [Tri-County] will have us back.”
A long-time Street Stock veteran, Ledbetter has found plenty of success at tracks around the southeast. Among his accomplishments include multiple victories at Bowman Gray Stadium, as well as five wins in the New Year’s BASH at Dillon Motor Speedway.
Ledbetter anticipated Friday’s GXS Street Stock Series race would be much more challenging compared to other races he has run in the discipline. With plenty of tough cars and a longer distance, Ledbetter had to rely on his own experience to conserve his equipment and hold off the field in the closing stages.
“We usually run 30-35 laps in these cars and you can’t go 75 laps wide open,” Ledbetter said. “You just have to bide your time. We knew we were going to stop at around Lap 50, so we had to make it to that point first. The car was a little free at first, but it came to us.”
The PLM Tour gets a two-week break ahead of their next race at Dillon Motor Speedway on June 10. For the LMSC Tour, they will return to action next Saturday at Langley Speedway, 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.
- 35 Carson Kvapil
- 25 Gavan Boschele
- 96 Caden Kvapil
- 53 Cole Butcher
- 24 Gio Ruggiero
- 81 Katie Hettinger
- 7 Tristan McKee
- 26 Dawson Sutton
- 77 Logan Jones
- 13 Austin MacDonald
- 28 William Sawalich
- 15 Brett Suggs
- 27 Lee Tissot
- 75 Mamba Smith -1
- 03 Kyle Campbell -1
- 5 Zac Fowler -1
- 9 Ashton Higgins -2
- 8 Rusty Skewes – OUT
- 49M Luke Morey – OUT
- 6 George Phillips – OUT
- 2 Hudson Canipe – OUT
- 32 Gary Ledbetter
- 16 Kyle Lynch
- 7 Ricky Locklair Jr.
- 14 Davey Smart
- 12 Cody DeMarmels
- B00 Boo Carlisle
- 56 John Guker
- 15 Ryan Flores
- 49 Jeff Melton – OUT
- 134 Frank Curtis -5
- 86 Pete Close -8
- 6 Dillon Crouch – OUT
- 34 Eric Zeh – OUT
- 28 Larry Isenhower -24
- 9 Austin Somero – OUT
- 4W Tyler Woodring – OUT
- 82 Gene Griffey – OUT
- 55 Johnny Reynolds – OUT
- 13 Steve Worthington – OUT
- 08 Marlin Yoder – OUT
- 17 James McLaughlin – OUT
- 99 Jeff Morse – OUT
-CARS Tour Release