Rookie Kvapil a Strong Second in ValleyStar 300 at Martinsville Speedway

Photo Courtesy of Adam Fenwick/NASCAR

Ron Lemasters | 9/26/2022

Carson Kvapil iRacing Martinsville Speedway News

Caron Kvapil nearly walked away with a victory in his first start at Martinsville Speedway, finishing second.

Track Specs: Martinsville Speedway, .526-mile oval/200-lap feature

Kvapil's finish: 2nd  

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 26, 2022) -- On Saturday night at Martinsville Speedway, JR Motorsports Late Model driver Carson Kvapil nearly won the biggest, richest and most prestigious Late Model Stock Car race in the country.

Only a strong defense by eventual winner Peyton Sellers prevented the 19-year-old Kvapil from winning his maiden start on the .526-mile oval. On a green-white-checkered restart, Kvapil threw his No. 8 iRacing Chevrolet into Turn 1 on the outside of Sellers and stayed even all the way to the exit of Turn 2. Sellers got to the backstretch with the lead and held on for the remaining distance to earn his first triumph at Martinsville in 15 years of trying.

Kvapil had never been to Martinsville as a driver, and when he arrived there on Friday for practice, it was a matter of learning the track as well as he could. By the end of the session, Kvapil was pretty confident in his car and his driving.

As qualifying began, that confidence took a hit when the track changed, leaving his No. 8 iRacing Chevrolet on the tight side. Initially, Kvapil landed 26th in the order out of more than 90 cars, but a spate of disqualifications moved him up to 19th for the 25-lap heat races.

In his heat race, Kvapil started from the fifth position, still with a tight Chevrolet, and he finished sixth. That slotted him into 23rd position for the start of the 200-lap race. Team manager and crew chief Bryan Shaffer made changes to the setup that would help the young driver once the green flag waved.

The format for the race was split into two stages, the first of 100 laps and the second of 75 laps, followed by a final segment of 25 laps for the $32,000 winner's purse. Once the green flag waved to start the first stage, Kvapil was on the move, picking off cars one at a time. By the end of the stage, Kvapil was well inside the top 10, and on the controlled stop at the end of 100 laps, Kvapil took right-side tires and got an adjustment for the final 100 laps.

Once the 75-lap segment began, Kvapil resumed his run toward the front and was third at the end of 75 laps. That set up the final 25-lap run, in which he would have to contend with Sellers, Looney and Jacob Heafner.

With the changes, Kvapil's car was set up more for longer runs, which put him at a slight disadvantage. Over the remaining 25 laps, Kvapil stayed in the top three and was in position on the final green-white-checkered to challenge Sellers for the victory.

Next action for the JR Motorsports Late Model team will be on this coming Friday night with the CARS Tour at Ace Speedway.

Carson Kvapil, driver No. 8 iRacing Chevrolet team

"Since it was my first time at Martinsville, I had a lot of learning to do on Friday. By the time practice was done, I felt like I had a handle on it. We were so tight in qualifying and the heat race that I was just hoping I could bring back a clean iRacing Chevrolet that we could still roll onto the trailer. The changes that Bryan and the team made to the car were really the difference tonight. We were able to drive to the front and had a chance to win it. The car was better suited for long runs, and the short ones at the end weren't good for us. Peyton (Sellers) was a little better on the short run and that made it tough to pass for the lead, but we had a really fast iRacing Chevy and almost got it done."

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • October 1 04:00 PM ET
    Sparks 300Talladega Superspeedway
  • October 8 03:00 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 15 03:00 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 302Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • October 22 04:30 PM ET
    Contender Boats 250Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • October 29 03:00 PM ET
    Dead On Tools 250Martinsville Speedway

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After Andy’s Frozen Custard 300

Texas Motor Speedway | 9/24/2022
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Noah Gragson (P)21070
2AJ Allmendinger (P)2081-26
3Ty Gibbs (P)2080-27
4Austin Hill # (P)2064-43
5Josh Berry (P)2058-49
6Justin Allgaier (P)2054-53
7Sam Mayer (P)2035-72