McCumbee, Sawalich Earn First CARS Tour Wins at Hickory

A veteran and a rising star became first-time CARS Tour winners at the historic bullring.


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The CARS Tour headed to Hickory Motor Speedway for the second event of the season for both the CARS Pro Late Models and Late Model Stocks. While the two races played out differently, one theme remained the same – a first time winner beating a Kvapil.

Pro Late Models

Minnesota teenager William Sawalich led every lap from the pole to win his second career Pro Late Model race, and his first with the CARS Tour brand over Caraway Speedway winner Caden Kvapil and Luke Fenhaus.

While Sawalich was competing in his first CARS race at Hickory, he had the help of a family with a long history at the legendary track. Multi-time track champion and former NASCAR competitor Dennis Setzer and son Brandon were at the helm for Sawalich throughout the weekend, and helped guide him to a first win.

“I credit this to all my guys, they made it very compliant for me to do. I can’t thank them enough,” said Sawalich. “It’s awesome to get my first CARS Tour win here at Hickory, especially with how special this track is to Dennis and Brandon Setzer.”

The win came after a close call with Caden Kvapil just after the halfway point of the race. The two made significant contact, which left damage to both machines. Sawalich chalked it up as a racing incident, even offering to take blame if there was any to be handed out.

“I was asking my team if I had damage and they said I was good. I don’t really know what happened, I’m sorry if it was my fault. It’s just a racing incident.”

Kvapil also saw it as a racing deal, mentioning the opportunity to make the pass for the lead coming to him. He briefly lost second place to Fenhaus before regaining the spot back, but the damage from the contact was enough to keep him from challenging for the win.

“I knew we had a run and I knew he was going to try and dive it in there so I tried to pull the crossover. I think he might have came down and I might have came up and we made contact,” said Kvapil of the contact. “It definitely made the car tighter, I had to back the corner to make the corner and make it to the bottom. It didn’t hurt too bad on the car but we’ll get it fixed up and ready for next weekend.”

A win and a second in the opening two CARS PLM races has Kvapil on top of the points standings early in the season.

“This is a great start to the season for us with my first time with the CARS Tour. Starting off this well, I think we can carry this through the rest of the season and keep up with the points.”

Late Model Stock Cars

Chad McCumbee had portrayed Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story, but on Saturday night had to pass the NASCAR Hall of Famer’s car late to score his first-career CARS Late Model Stock win.

The former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular led the first 100 laps from the pole, but found himself in third in the late stages of the race behind Carson Kvapil and Layne Riggs. A hard battle between the Kvapil and Riggs opened the door for McCumbee, who took the lead with 20 laps to go and ran away with the win.

“None of these guys make mistakes, this series is really impressive with how the depth is,” McCumbee stated. “You have to capitalize on every opportunity, there wasn’t going to be another one unless you moved somebody and I don’t want to be raced like that.”

After losing the lead and eventually falling back to third, McCumbee admitted that he thought his chances of winning were all but out the window, but after a few laps his car came roaring back to life.

“I think it was still evolution of the racetrack tonight. Whatever that stuff that was on it was starting to come off. I think that really helped us on the top during restarts.

“I really just needed laps. After the restart it felt like we needed a few laps to really get going, and when we were on the inside the position really just wasn’t advantageous for us. I felt like there was still some of that stuff still left on the top and that really helped momentum. I thought we were done but as we got long runs I realized we were still in it.”

Kvapil had moved his way to the lead late in the race after starting 13th before ultimately finishing second. He believes his move from midpack to the lead and the wear it put on his tires was a deciding factor on the final outcome of the race.

Just like brother Caden, a win and a second in the opening two races has the Jr Motorsports driver holding the CARS LMSC points lead.

“There at the end we were really done. About halfway to three-quarters through the race I thought we had a really good car. Just starting 13th and Chad starting on the front row, it’s a killing on the tires to pass an extra 12 cars. We had a fast car but just didn’t have enough at the end.”

Pro Late Model Results:

  1. William Sawalich
  2. Caden Kvapil
  3. Luke Fenhaus
  4. Vincente Salas
  5. Charlie Keeven
  6. Logan Jones
  7. Kody King
  8. Tyler Johnson
  9. Jacob Creed
  10. Annabeth Crum
  11. Jeff Batten
  12. Ryan Moore
  13. Austin MacDonald
  14. Joe Mancuso
  15. Ruben Caceres Jr

Late Model Stock Results:

  1. Chad McCumbee
  2. Carson Kvapil
  3. Layne Riggs
  4. William Sawalich
  5. Chase Burrow
  6. Brandon Pierce
  7. Kaden Honeycutt
  8. Bobby McCarty
  9. Andrew Grady
  10. Carter Langley
  11. Janson Marchbanks
  12. Mason Diaz
  13. Trevor Ward
  14. Justin Johnson
  15. Connor Hall
  16. Conner Jones
  17. Hayden Swank
  18. Dylan Ward
  19. Chase Dixon
  20. Taylor Satterfield
  21. Braden Rogers
  22. Colby Higgins
  23. Zack Miracle
  24. Jacob Heafner
  25. Mike Looney
  26. Jonahtan Shafer
  27. Mike Darne

-Photo credit: Brandon Zumbach