Kvapil Wins Icebreaker 125, Dale Jr. Fourth in Strong Opener

Ron Lemasters | JR Motorsports | 2/12/2024

Carson Kvapil Dale Earnhardt Jr. Late Model News

Carson Kvapil scored a season-opening victory in the Icebreaker 125 Late Model Stock Car race Saturday at Florence (S.C.) Motor Speedway and owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned a fourth-place finish to cap the day.

Race: Icebreaker 125 at Florence (S.C.) Motor Speedway
Track Specs: .400-mile oval / 125 laps
Race Winner: Carson Kvapil
Kvapil’s finish: 1st
Earnhardt Jr.’s finish: 4th        


Carson Kvapil started the 2024 Late Model season off with a bang on Saturday at Florence (S.C.) Motor Speedway, winning the ninth annual Icebreaker 125 on the .400-mile oval in his No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet. As an added bonus, Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris was on hand to help celebrate with him and team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Victory Lane.

Kvapil started third for the 125-lap event, the traditional kickoff for Late Model racing in the South, and stayed close to the lead throughout the afternoon. At lap 93, the second-generation star got past Sam Yarborough for second and began stalking leader Casey Kelley. On a restart with 21 laps remaining, Kvapil ducked inside Kelley coming off Turn 4 to take the lead for the first time. Over the final 20-lap sprint to the finish, Kvapil held off a charging Connor Hall to earn the victory.

Earnhardt Jr., driving the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats @ ATVs Chevrolet, started 13th and ran a steady, heady race. Saving tires at the beginning, Earnhardt Jr. moved into the top 10 at lap 52 and continued to run his pace. He was sixth at lap 84, cresting the top five at lap 90, and passed into fourth just a couple of laps before the final yellow flag. Briefly taking third on the last restart, Earnhardt Jr. battled inside the top five throughout the closing laps, ultimately taking the checkered flag  in the fourth position.

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

“That last restart, I was worried we weren’t going to have enough tire left. We’d been chasing the No. 16 (Kelley) down on that long green-flag run. We just had a good Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet. We were able to hold off the No. 22 (Hall). Bryan (Shaffer) and the team gave me a great car and it’s a great way to kick off the season. It was really cool to have Johnny (Morris) here. He comes to a lot of the NASCAR races, and for him to come to a Late Model race with us is pretty awesome. Johnny is getting the trophy. I can’t thank him enough for everything he’s done for me in my career and everything he does for JR Motorsports.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet team

“With 20 laps to go I was trying everything I could to try and park on this front straightaway, but just came up a little short. I’m thankful that we got it running better, because we hadn’t run that well here the last couple of times. We came here and tested a week ago, worked really hard and ran a lot of laps. It’s a tough crowd here, a lot of great racers who did a lot of clean racing. I’ve never not had a great time racing here. I need to qualify better here, but I’m thankful to run well today.”

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