CARS Champion Kvapil Set for Snowball Derby Debut

The GoFas Racing No. 32 will have Carson Kvapil behind the wheel.


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In what has already been a charmed season for Carson Kvapil, the reigning CARS Late Model Stock Tour champion is jumping into a different Super Late Model in pursuit of the Tow Dawson Trophy.

For his Snowball Derby debut, the 19-year-old Chevrolet development driver will jump into the GoFas Racing No. 32 owned by Archie St. Hilaire with crew chief Michael Shelton. It’s a stout combination that has the second-generation racer extremely excited for the week to come.

"I think we're going to be really, really good," Kvapil said. "We tested last Monday and there were only a few cars there but we never stickered up and I thought it was really fast. The balance was very very good."

All things you want to feel or hear in advance of a debut in the biggest race of the year.

"It's the Derby so it's going to be tough and you can't just have a good car," Kvapil said. "You have to have a little luck and nail the strategy. First thing first, you have to make the race, which I think we will.

"Our car is definitely going to be good enough to do that. Right now, we're just focused on making the car better throughout the week with each session. At the same time, pay attention to tire wear and think about strategy since it's the first time I've done this race."

And that’s where Shelton is going to be such a security blanket for a young driver attacking this week for the first time.

"He's been working hard on the car this week, and I think he even missed Thanksgiving to be with his family to work on it," Kvapil said. "I was going to help him work on it but we had to test with (JR Motorsports) for the (Thanksgiving Classic) the day of.

"I felt bad about that but he's a racer like we all are and will do whatever it takes to get faster. I'm excited to get there (Monday) and see what changes he's made."

This combination made their debut together for the Southern Super Series race at Tri County Motor Speedway and Kvapil immediately took to working with the veteran mechanic.

"I think he's obviously really smart, given his background, and what he's accomplished," Kvapil said. "He's really organized and a hard worker. It's funny. I go over there to see what we're working on, and his ideas tend to be exactly what I would have thought of or was already thinking.

"We worked well together at Tri County and almost won that race. Really confident, think we have a good car, good organized team."

While Kvapil is most known for his Late Model Stock exploits this season, he first broke into short track racing driving his family owned Pro and Super Late Model. They even have a race at Five Flags in their No. 35 in addition to an ARCA start at the Florida half-mile.

But for all the confidence Kvapil has in the No. 32 and its crew chief, he knows he will be racing against a lot of experience this week.

"We struggled in the Super race, ran well in the ARCA race but fell out," Kvapil said. "There are guys there who have run full seasons there just to prepare for this one race.

"Those guys have (5) to (10) races there to prepare for this one so it's going to be tough because they know exactly what feel they need to have. I'm confident Shelton will have a good plan and will put me in the right positions throughout the week."

Photo: Philip Goodman | JR Motorsports