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Connor Zilisch Scores First CARS Tour Late Model Stock Win at Hickory

The Trackhouse Racing development driver added yet another win to his already impressive tally with the zMAX CARS Tour Late Model Stock win at 'The Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.'


hero image for Connor Zilisch Scores First CARS Tour Late Model Stock Win at Hickory

Connor Zilisch is eager to prove he can win anywhere in 2024.

The 17-year-old was already part of winning efforts at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring to start the year, but he's also been honing his craft in oval racing in recent years. That dedication paid off Saturday with a win at Hickory Motor Speedway in the zMAX CARS Tour's Late Model Stock division.

Zilisch flexed his muscle after qualifying 11th, making his way into the top five before the 50-lap mark of the 150-lap race. The Trackhouse Racing development driver took the lead on lap 111 and held off Brenden Queen on a late restart to take the win.

"I want to take credit for it, but it was all this race car my [Pinnacle Racing Group] team brought," said Zilisch in victory lane. "We worked so hard this offseason. We weren't able to race the first race of the season, I had some conflict. To come here, my first race with this team, and end up in victory lane in a CARS Tour Late Model Stock race is incredible.

"I've won the Rolex 24, I've won the Sebring 12 Hour, but this race right here is one I've wanted for so long. I've worked so hard in these Late Model Stocks. It's just a testament to all these guys. This car was so good and so fast, it made my job easy."

While Zilisch is better known for his road racing accomplishments, he hopes that a win against some of the top Late Model drivers in a CARS Tour event shows he can also get the job done on ovals.

"It's a dream come true to win one of these races, but hopefully it's the first of many," said Zilisch. "The level of competition in this series is incredible. Fifteen guys can come out here and win a race on any given weekend. That makes these wins that much more special. I think my best run going into today was maybe ninth, so a win is big for me.

"I've definitely had people saying, oh, he can't drive on an oval, this and that. I feel like if I put the work in, I can race anywhere."

Kyle Campbell Stays Perfect With CARS Pro Late Models in 2024

Kyle Campbell is now two-for-two to start the Pro Late Model season in the zMAX CARS Tour, as he won the 100-lap event to start Saturday evening's proceedings at Hickory.

Campbell was dominant in the race, only briefly losing the lead to Caden Kvapil in a battle near the halfway mark of the event. As fate would have it, Campbell's hot start is thanks in part to acquiring a car from the Kvapil stable.

“We got a good car purchased from the Kvapil family. The approach never really changed. I’ve got to keep all the fenders on it. If I don’t keep all the fenders on it, we don’t get to come back next week."

However, contact between those two drivers put a damper on Kvapil's evening as he finished 14th, one lap down.

“I don’t really know what happened to me and Kvapil. He was really fast until we got together down in turn one. Spotter says it was a racing deal, I don’t think I pinched him too hard. I’m sorry to him if I did anything wrong. We don’t want to tear his stuff up, we bought the car from him.”

Nevertheless, Campbell carried on to the win, proving his season-opening victory at Southern National Motorsports was anything but a fluke.

“I think everyone, obviously, when I won at Southern National, that was a surprise, I feel," said Campbell. "People underestimated me because of how I ran last year. It wasn’t the best car in the world. It doesn’t look good, but nobody really knows that. It definitely added a lot of confidence.

"I didn’t feel we had a great car in practice. Just like at Southern National, when it came to qualifying time, it clicked with the pole and the win, so this one feels pretty good."

Spencer Davis finished second, with strong words for Conner Jones after their battle for the runner-up spot in the second half of the race.

“We just came in and adjusted the toe," said Davis. "We had a little bit of an issue there. Everybody on my team did a good job getting me back out there before the green flags ran. We got it back right how we had it in practice. We had an issue that arose in qualifying, and it showed. We passed 28 cars clean."

“Some kids just don’t know how to race," Davis continued. "They’ve never known how to race, no matter what series he’s in, no matter what ride he buys. We played around for a little bit and Kyle Campbell got far enough away from us.

“We’re here to kick ass and take names, so we’re not here to run second. It’s a disappointing night. I’ll have to thank the guys back at the shop. We’ll print us a new wrap, get the 44 off of it and we’ll be good to go.”

Tempers flared after a multi-car incident on lap 48, as Tyler Tanner shared his displeasure with Ashton Higgins. After climbing out of his own car, Tanner ran to Higgins' machine on pit road before striking it with his own steering wheel.

-Photo credit: zMAX CARS Tour



128Connor Zilisch150---
203Brenden Queen1501.392
316Chad McCumbee1502.879
422Connor Hall1504.602
581Mini Tyrrell1505.538
66Bobby McCarty1505.885
723Kade Brown1506.276
815Ryan Millington1506.912
929Brent Crews1507.954
1077Treyten Lapcevich1508.659
1124Cody Dempster1508.831
1295Jacob Heafner1509.605
1362Landen Lewis1509.988
142Brandon Pierce15011.270
1537Landon Huffman15012.974
1657Josh Kossek15013.176
1745Bryce Applegate15014.945
1804Ronnie Bassett, Jr.15015.532
1911Buddy Isles, Jr.1491 Lap
2071Katie Hettinger1491 Lap
2115CLogan Clark11535 Laps
2244FJonathan Findley11337 Laps
2308Deac McCaskill7674 Laps
248Mason Diaz7377 Laps
251Andrew Grady6387 Laps
2644Conner Jones47103 Laps
2714Sam Butler47103 Laps
2867Cameron Bolin24126 Laps
2955Gio Ruggiero
3040Taylor Satterfield


103Kyle Campbell100---
229Spencer Davis1001.078
343Nick Loden1003.474
444Conner Jones1004.810
571Katie Hettinger1005.991
600Jimmy Renfrew1006.406
796T.J. DeCaire10010.383
815Aiden King10010.791
951Kaden Honeycutt10011.259
1022Kyle Steckly10011.781
117CTyler Church10012.975
127Justin Crider10013.651
1397Dylan Garner10014.314
1435Caden Kvapil991 Lap
156BBrandon Lopez991 Lap
1643HJoshua Horniman982 Laps
1724Jake Bollman7426 Laps
1847Dustin Bryson6238 Laps
199Ashton Higgins5446 Laps
2017Hudson Bulger5050 Laps
2188Max Reaves5050 Laps
2265Tyler Tanner4852 Laps
236Tristan McKee4852 Laps
2439Max Cookson4852 Laps
2520Kris Wright4852 Laps
2649Jeff Batten4456 Laps
2777Logan Jones4456 Laps
2862William Hale793 Laps
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