Carson Kvapil Seeks Martinsville Late Model Triumph in First Start

Ron Lemasters | 9/23/2022

Carson Kvapil iRacing Martinsville Speedway News

This weekend, Kvapil will compete at Martinsville Speedway in the most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock Car event in the Southeast.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 23, 2022) -- Carson Kvapil has had a fantastic season as driver of the No. 8 iRacing Chevrolet for the JR Motorsports Late Model team, winning three times and posting 13 top-five finishes in 15 starts.

This weekend, he'll take on a different challenge: the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the biggest, richest and most prestigious NASCAR Late Model Stock Car event in the Southeast.

It's a challenge that Bryan Shaffer and the JRM Late Model program have mastered, winning in 2019 with long-time driver Josh Berry. All Berry did that year was set a track record in qualifying, lead all 200 laps and win $44,000 by sweeping every bonus available.

Kvapil, the 19-year-old son of 2003 NASCAR Truck Series champion Travis, has had a ton of success in his own right this season, winning three CARS Tour LMSC events and finishing in the top five 13 times in 15 races during his first season as full-time driver for Shaffer.

Included in those victories was the $30,000-to-win Old North State Nationals at Caraway Speedway and the Race Track Revival event at the revitalized North Wilkesboro Speedway last month, leading 89 of the 125 laps and topping Mason Diaz and team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. in front of 20,000 rabid fans.

This weekend, however, Kvapil has to contend with more than 80 of the top Late Model drivers in the Southeast at a track he's never been to. In his corner, however, he has the 2019 race winner on speed dial in Berry.

"I've talked to Josh a little and will talk to him more before Saturday," Kvapil said. "For me, it's my first time going there. Practice will be important to getting the line down and trying to get a feel for the track. Talking to Josh and some of the other guys who have run well there will help me figure out what they think the car should be like."

Kvapil also has spent some time racing at Martinsville on iRacing, taking advantage of his relationship with the sim-racing giant. "I've already done a lot of iRacing testing there with the Late Model, so I think I am pretty well ready for it. I put a lot of time in on the sim rig, trying to work the place a little bit."

The entry list is massive at more than 80 cars, and Kvapil isn't fazed with the number considering the stature of the event.

"Honestly, looking at the entry list, there are a lot of CARS Tour guys there who are pretty fast," he said. "I know them pretty well. Then you have the NASCAR guys, Landon Pembleton and Peyton Sellers and those guys, who I am not all that familiar with it. Pembleton won this race last year, so…I'm sure they'll run really well again."

The format for the event will see practice and qualifying on Friday, with the four 25-lap heat races on Saturday setting the 40-car lineup. There is no last-chance race this year.

The 200-lap feature will be run in three stages, the first being 100 laps, the second at 75 and the final segment is 25 laps.

Waiting at the finish line is a Martinsville grandfather clock and a check for $32,000 to the winner. The race carries a $110,000 purse.

"The biggest thing isn't qualifying, but it's still really important," Kvapil said. "Surviving is the biggest thing. You have to run really well in the heats to get a good starting position. At the end of the race, there might be just 15 cars or so left, so you have to be up front at the end."

Should he be celebrating in Victory Lane on Saturday night, Kvapil will be the proud owner of one of the iconic clocks given to every Martinsville winner. That leads to another big question: where will that clock wind up?

"I have no idea," Kvapil said with a chuckle. "I'll probably put it in the house somewhere, or it might sit in the pile of trophies at the shop. I'm not really sure."



XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 25 01:00 PM ET
    NXS Spring Race at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • June 1 04:30 PM ET
    Pacific Office Automation 147Portland International Raceway
  • June 8 08:00 PM ET
    Sonoma 250Sonoma Raceway
  • June 15 03:30 PM ET
    NXS Race at IowaIowa Speedway
  • June 22 03:30 PM ET
    NXS Race at New HampshireNew Hampshire Motor Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Dead On Tools 250

Martinsville Speedway | 10/28/2023
Results are not available.