Kvapil Finishes Eighth, Dale Jr. 16th in CARS Tour North Wilkesboro Extravaganza

Ron Lemasters | 5/18/2023

Bass Pro Shops CARS Tour Carson Kvapil Dale Earnhardt Jr. Late Model News North Wilkesboro Race Report Sun Drop

Carson Kvapil had high hopes of defending last year's CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car victory at North Wilkesboro Speedway with Dale Jr. eager to improve on his third-place finish.

Track Specs: North Wilkesboro Speedway .625-mile oval/125-lap feature
Kvapil's finish: 8th      
Earnhardt Jr.'s finish: 16th

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 18, 2023) - Magic never seems to strike in the same place twice.

Carson Kvapil had high hopes of winning a fourth consecutive Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car race on Wednesday night at historic North Wilkesboro Speedway - and defending his race win from last year - and team owner and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. was eager to improve on his third-place finish in that same race.

When the dust had settled, however, Kvapil finished eighth in his No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet, and Earnhardt Jr. overcame crash damage on his No. 3 Sun Drop Chevrolet to post a 16th-place result.

Kvapil, the defending Window World 125 winner after a stirring drive last August, set third-fastest time in qualifying while Earnhardt Jr. posted ninth for the start. In the early laps, both drivers maintained their spots and felt out their machines. On the first caution of the race, both reported loose conditions.

Soon after, Kvapil pushed the Bass Pro Shops No. 8 toward the front, taking the lead from polesitter Brenden Queen. With just two tires available, team manager/crew chief Bryan Shaffer told his young driver to back the pace up so as to save his.

CARS Tour policy mandates a competition caution after 40 laps of green-flag racing. On Wednesday night, that was changed to 30 or so, setting up three controlled caution periods in which the teams could make adjustments, add fuel or change tires.

On the first of those, both cars came down for service, with Kvapil taking fuel and adjustments to help a loose condition. Earnhardt Jr. took fuel and adjustments as well, and both reported back to the action behind the cars that elected not to pit, with Kvapil in fifth and Earnhardt Jr. in the mid-pack.

When racing resumed, a debris caution stacked the field after two laps, and on the ensuing restart a crash on the front straightaway happened directly in front of Earnhardt Jr., damaging the nose of the Sun Drop car. Given how soon it occurred after the first controlled caution, crew chief Josh Berry elected to keep his driver on the track until the next one.

The changes for Kvapil turned him to the loose side and he began dropping back through the pack. With the next controlled caution set for lap 65, he elected to save his tires and wait. Earnhardt Jr. had gone tight in the corners and dropped back as well. By lap 50, Kvapil ran 15th and Earnhardt Jr. was 12th in the order.

At lap 65, Kvapil came to pit road for his two tires and a chassis adjustment, with the intention of staying on the lead lap and saving as much rubber as he could. Earnhardt Jr. stayed out despite the damage, with Berry telling his driver he had a plan to fix the damage on the final controlled caution.

Moving up to seventh, Earnhardt Jr. sorted out his machine and stayed there for several laps before getting loose off the corners while Kvapil rode at the tail of the lead lap, waiting for the lap-90 stoppage.

When that arrived, Earnhardt Jr. came down for repairs to the nose and a tire change, returning to the track deep in the field. Kvapil stayed out and advanced to third place, but eventual winner Queen, who had taken his tires on the final stop, got past and worked his way to the front.

At lap 100, Kvapil still ran third and Earnhardt Jr. was 17th. Over the remaining laps, Kvapil dropped to eighth and Earnhardt Jr. advanced one position to finish 16th.

Queen, who broke Kvapil's track record set last year in qualifying, won the race over Ryan Millington, Jared Fryar, Connor Hall and Kaden Honeycutt.

Next action for the JRM Late Model team is on Saturday, May 27 at Tri-County Speedway for the annual Old North State Nationals, where Kvapil will compete for the $30,000 winner's prize. Kvapil will be the points leader heading into the event.

Carson Kvapil, driver No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet team

"We kind of put ourselves in a hole. We had to pit a run earlier than we planned on, and we didn't have speed. I was just holding onto the Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet, fighting super-loose conditions. We figured our only chance of having a good finish or even contending for another win was to take tires early and ride around waiting for everyone to put their tires on. We did that, made a couple adjustments and might have tightened it up a little too much. I thought we were going to have a top-five finish, but we got to racing with some people and everybody caught up and we fell back to eighth. For the run we had going middle of the race, eighth isn't too bad for us. Thanks to Johnny Morris and everyone at Bass Pro Shops for all their support, and we'll go win the Old North State Nationals for them next week."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver No. 3 Sun Drop Chevrolet team

"The result wasn't what we wanted, but I had a blast driving the No. 3 Sun Drop Chevrolet and racing everybody. We got banged up a little bit and that hurt us the rest of the race, but we had a good time. I got to race with a couple of guys, and I don't get to run much, but I tried not wreck anybody. When you get out of the car and a couple of those guys are like, 'man, it was a good time racing with you,' that's all you really want to do."



XFINITY Series Schedule

  • April 20 04:00 PM ET
    Ag-Pro 300Talladega Superspeedway
  • April 27 01:30 PM ET
    A-GAME 200Dover International Speedway
  • May 11 01:30 PM ET
    NXS Spring Race at DarlingtonDarlington Raceway
  • 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

XFINITY Series Standings

After Dead On Tools 250

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