CARS Pro Late Model Tour
$30,000 On The Line at CARS Tour Old North State Nationals
Aug 16, 2023
Landon Huffman received the largest reaction in pre-race driver introductions for Saturday’s Old North State Nationals at Tri-County Motor Speedway, and at the end of the night he brought the crowd to their feet as the driver of the No. 22 scored his first CARS Tour Late Model Stock victory and took home $30,000 for the win.
Huffman was a factor at the front of the field for the entire 200-lap event, and the popular driver put on a clinic on hard, clean racing for the win as he was able to take advantage on a late-race restart to pull away and capture the dramatic victory.
“Man, I’ve been racing my whole life for a moment like this,” Huffman said after a celebratory Polish Victory Lap and receiving congratulations from friends, family and fellow competitors.
“I’ve had opportunities to move up and race stuff at the next level, and it’s always kind of beat me back down,” he said. “The last three years have been crazy, man. I’ve worked really, really hard to get back here. I couldn’t do it without everyone that worked on my old race cars to get me to this point. Then, Mr. Barry Nelson, for giving me this shot and calling on me to drive this car when they were in a time of struggle. It’s been a struggle. We’ve worked really hard. Every race we’ve gotten better and slowly chipped away at it.
“Every single time you get to sit in these race cars is a blessing,” he added.
I hope there was some little go-kart kid watching tonight and watched how I was able to race up front because that’s how it’s supposed to be done.”
One of the most popular drivers on the CARS Tour series and in short track racing in general, Huffman has grown his fan base through open and honest video blogs that chronicle his yeoman efforts, working on his own equipment week after week. Taking home a check for $30,000 was certainly not lost on the Claremont, North Carolina, native.
“It’s a moment of gratification for me because I’ve worked really hard and I feel like my path has been definitely off the beaten path,” he said. “It’s really all about the team. These guys have worked so hard. Like I said, we’ve had struggles and it’s just been week after the other to try and concentrate and work really hard. My crew chief Matthew is learning and doing better, and we’re doing better. As a team we’re improving. I don’t know, we just won 30 grand but if they keep letting us get better we might have something for them every week.”
Huffman had to survive a series of late-race cautions that brought the concerns of the race curfew of 11pm EDT and fuel mileage into everyone’s mind.
With 20 laps to go, Brenden Queen appeared in control of the race and prepared to battle for the win to the end. With one of the most dominant cars in the field, Queen overcame a penalty early in the race and drove back through the field to control the lead in the closing stages.
However, after lengthy caution flag sessions, Queen’s No. 03 stumbled while leading after a restart and eventually stalled on track to bring out yet another caution flag. While the wrecker was able to get Queen back to pit road for fuel, he finished a disappointing 16th on the night.
JR Motorsports driver and CARS Tour LMSC points leader Carson Kvapil was strong early in the night and looked to be a factor yet again. The driver of the No. 8 put the pressure on Huffman for the lead in the closing laps but was forced to settle for second place when the checkered flag flew. The runner-up finish was not without issue, however, as an electrical issue less than halfway through the event meant the car had to be pushed off pit road after each of the ensuing controlled cautions.
“It wasn’t looking like too good of a night, I guess,” said Kvapil. “The first 100 laps I thought we were pretty good, held track position well, took tires and it just never really went after that. It was just kind of stuck. I didn’t really have speed on the top or bottom in particular, then we actually gained grip on the bottom. There at the end of the race I thought I was probably one of the best cars in that last 100 laps. Landon had a really fast car. The 10 (Kaden Honeycutt), the 03 (Queen) too, but they ran out of gas. Props to those guys, the No. 22 team. They were pretty fast.”
Ronnie Bassett Jr. brought the No. 04 home third, followed by Bobby McCarty and Ryan Millington to round out the top-five finishers.
The CARS Tour heads to Wake County Speedway for its next event on Saturday, August 26, as just five races remain in the 2023 season.
Entering Saturday’s CARS Pro Late Model Tour event at Tri-County Speedway, Caden Kvapil’s primary objective was to close the nine-point deficit that sat between himself and Katie Hettinger in the championship standings.
Not only did the 16-year-old driver manage to close the gap on Hettinger, but he also got to make a trip to victory lane, claiming the $5,000 prize at the 0.40-mile short track in Hudson, North Carolina.
Scoring the pole position for the 75-lap feature, Kvapil was indeed the dominant car of the event, but faced some early-race challenges from Cole Butcher and the Rackley WAR teammates, Gavan Boschele and Dawson Sutton.
After some contact while battling for the lead, Cole Butcher began falling off the pace, dropping outside the top-five rapidly, before coming to a stop in turn two with 61 laps remaining in the feature event. But that’s not the last the field saw of Butcher.
The Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia-native would have to start at the tail-end of the lead-lap, but would quickly surge through the field, making passing left and right to get himself quickly back into the top-five, and challenging for positions against some of the race’s early competitors.
Butcher would be able to get as high as third place in the running order before plateauing in that position, despite a late-race push to get around Dawson Sutton for second place. However, the Rackley WAR driver would be successful in retaining the spot over Butcher.
Gavan Boschele, another driver for Rackley WAR, finished the event in fourth, while Ashton Higgins prevailed in an intense multi-lap battle with points leader Katie Hettinger to score the fifth-place spot at the end of 75 laps. Katie Hettinger, Austin MacDonald, Clint King, Kyle Campbell, and Logan Jones completed the top-10.
Nick Loden, who was running inside the top-five in the early portion of the event, suffered a mechanical issue with 55 laps remaining in the event, as the driver reported that the entry was stuck on the rev limiter.
Photo credit: Jordan Powell
Jay Pennell and Joseph Srigley contributed to this report.
|3||04||Ronnie Bassett Jr.||200||2.238||16.094|
|16||03||Brenden Queen||199||1 lap||15.871|
|17||1||Andrew Grady||196||4 laps||16.209|
|18||10||Kaden Honeycutt||193||7 laps||16.007|
|19||44||Conner Jones||191||9 laps||16.061|
|20||23||Kade Brown||191||9 laps||16.134|
|21||08||Deac McCaskill||191||9 laps||16.011|
|22||15c||Logan Clark||170||30 laps||16.223|
|23||09||Riley Gentry||170||30 laps||16.246|
|24||7||Dylan Ward||168||32 laps||16.086|
|25||5D||Dexter Canipe Jr.||166||34 laps||16.208|
|26||57||Daniel Webster||164||36 laps||16.106|
|27||16||Chad McCumbee||155||45 laps||16.101|
|28||19M||Jeremy Mayfield||131||69 laps||16.291|
|29||9w||Charlie Watson||115||85 laps||16.212|
|30||97||DJ Canipe||33||167 laps||16.331|
|31||45||Jonathan Findley||32||168 laps||16.170|
|32||77||Ryan Wilson||32||168 laps||16.143|