Former Cup driver Made his debut in the Car Tour at Tri-County Speedway on Saturday night August 19th.
Mayfield made his attempt to qualify
for the 200-lap late-model race at
Tri-County Speedway in his
Black Automotive, Leapfrog landscape
Chevrolet 23rd qualified for the race.
Mayfield was delegated to the back
after filling post-qualifying
inspection and had to start 34th on
Mayfield made his way up to 24th midway to the was Unable to move up any further after his car became very tight in the corners.
Mayfield said after the race he just could not get a handle on the car and elected to pull off just past halfway in the race.
Carson Kvapil, Mike Hopkins take victories in historic night at Hickory Motor Speedway
Austin Beers scores emotional first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Richmond
William Sawalich delivers a dominant run at Five Flags Speedway for his first ARCA win
The largest field ever assembled in the history of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour for the Tuff Shed 250 at Hickory Motor Speedway gave fans everything they asked for and more.
A total of 29 cars took the green flag for the 100-lap PLM Tour race while the LMSC Tour had to narrow down a 41-car entry list to 32 through the introduction of a last chance qualifier. Intense racing dominated an evening that culminated in two of the best finishes the CARS Tour has seen in its nine-year history.
Familiar faces ultimately took home checkered flags in each event. Carson Kvapil strengthened his points lead in the LMSC Tour with his second win in three races, all while Mike Hopkins survived two green-white-checkered attempts for another victory in the PLM Tour.
A dominant run for Carson Kvapil in the Tuff Shed 250 nearly came to an end on the last lap.
Connor Hall had gradually erased Kvapil’s advantage during the final 26 laps, forcing Kvapil to go on defense. Hall managed to reach Kvapil’s bumper in Turn 3 and nudged him out of the groove, but the defending CARS LMSC Tour champion edged Hall in the ensuing photo finish.
Kvapil described the closing moments of the LMSC Tour feature as nerve-wracking but rewarding.
“I knew [Hall] close and we were matching [on lap times],” Kvapil said. “One mistake from me and he’d be right there, so I was trying to be consistent. I started to come off the bottom with about five to go and I was driving as hard as I could. He tried to give himself a shot to win it at the end, but all in all, it was a good race.”
Through three races, the LMSC Tour championship outlook bares many similarities to the 2022 season.
Even though Kvapil has one more win at this point compared to the previous year, he has once again established himself as the title favorite. Despite this, Saturday’s Tuff Shed 250 showed just how close the front of the LMSC Tour field is with Hall applying relentless pressure on Kvapil for the victory.
A few months removed from his Throwback 276 win at Hickory, Hall’s second place run came after he grinded his way through the field from a starting position of ninth. He was conservative with his tires and believed his car was just as strong as Kvapil’s, but ultimately ran out of time before making the move he wanted.
“We started further back in the field than we wanted and had a loose car,” Hall said. “I thought we managed enough tire and were very equal with [Kvapil] during the last few laps. Right at the end, I was able to force the issue and catch him, but everything kind of worked against me. It’s always harder being the chaser compared to being the leader.”
Hall said his second in the Tuff Shed 250 was a step in the right direction for him and Chad Bryant Racing following a disappointing run at Florence Motor Speedway but knows wins will be imperative to chase down Kvapil for the championship.
Just like last night, Kvapil understands he will have to play defense to stay in front of a deep, competitive field on the LMSC Tour. Having been in this position before, Kvapil feels more confident in his own ability to defend the LMSC Tour title but stressed the importance of perfectly executing on every race weekend.
“It’s the same thing as last year, we’ve got to be consistent,” Kvapil said. “You can’t make any mistakes and we have to finish all the races. Our performance so far this year has been superb, even better than last year, but it’s all about consistency. That’s what it takes to win the CARS Tour championship.”
RICHMOND, Va. — Despite Austin Beers’ best efforts to sweep Friday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour action at Richmond Raceway, rain forced the postponement of the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 150 to Saturday. This after Beers set the best lap in practice and earned his first Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award.
The only traces of moisture to be found at Richmond on a sunny Saturday evening were the tears flowing in Victory Lane after Beers scored his first Whelen Modified Tour victory.
Beers, a 20-year-old from Northampton, Pennsylvania, joined his father Eric as a Modified Tour winner. And he did so exactly 14 years to the day after the passing of his grandfather Dale.
“My dad just kind of stepped aside from our family car,” Austin Beers said. “That kind of propelled me to get this ride with [car owner] Mike Murphy. Without that — him kind of giving up his career — I would not be here today at all. I would still be racing at my local short track. I can’t thank him enough for that.
“My grandfather; I would not be racing without him. He started this in my family, so to win on this day is pretty special.”
Beers described his Richmond car as “unreal.” That was evident based on the results of the weekend.
On Beers’ 29th lap of Friday’s practice, he set the fastest time of the session. And for the driver who entered the Richmond race with one top-five finish in his Modified Tour career, a third-place run at Langley Speedway last August, this speed wasn’t an anomaly. He proceeded to earn the pole with a 127.137 mph lap.
As for Saturday’s race, Beers found himself leading six-time Modified Tour champion Doug Coby in the waning moments. A late caution could have spelled doom for Beers, but instead, a keen adjustment to tighten up his Modified allowed him to drive away from Coby and the rest of the field over the final stretch of laps.
“I got a little nervous there in the middle of the run; Doug was really good,” Beers said. “But we made that last adjustment, and it was perfect.”
After some shuffling behind Beers in the last few laps Saturday, J.B. Fortin finished second, and new career-best and his second top-five finish in Modified Tour competition.
Max McLaughlin, who entered the Modified Tour race at Richmond driving for Mike Curb, finished third. He and fourth-place finisher Justin Bonsignore, the defending Richmond Modified race winner, exchanged some heated words on pit road after the event over how the finish played out.
Patrick Emerling, who finished 29th in the Xfinity Series race that took place prior to Saturday’s Modified Tour event, rounded out the top five.
NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte finished sixth in his first Modified Tour start at the 0.75-mile oval. Ron Silk, Bryan Narducci, Jon McKennedy and Eric Goodale completed the top 10.
PENSACOLA, Fla. — William Sawalich arrived at Five Flags Speedway for the Pensacola 200 with redemption on his mind.
A potential victory in his first ARCA Menards Series start on March 10 at Phoenix Raceway evaporated in the closing laps when Sawalich was turned by Bradley Erickson on a restart. The incident forced Sawalich to limp his battered No. 18 Starkey/ Sound Gear Toyota home with a disappointing 13th place run.
No such obstacle plagued Sawalich in his inaugural ARCA Menards Series East appearance Saturday, as he led every lap from the General Tire Pole to continue a pattern of success that’s followed the No. 18 on the ARCA platform over the past few years.
“I can’t thank this Joe Gibbs Racing team enough,” Sawalich said. “We had a really fast Toyota Camry here, and the team worked hard to make this car as good as it [was].”
Sawalich had high expectations to live up to in the No. 18 entering 2023, as Ty Gibbs and Sammy Smith both earned ARCA and ARCA East championships, respectively, utilizing that number.
With plenty of Super Late Model and Pro Late Model victories to his name, Sawalich had plenty of confidence in his ability to carry on the efficiency of the No. 18 in ARCA. All of it was on full display the moment the green flag flew for the Pensacola 200.
Sawalich’s only real challenge came in the form of Luke Fenhaus, who was also making his East Series debut driving for Pinnacle Racing Group. Fenhaus successfully chased down Sawalich during the final 50 laps but ultimately could not get the run he needed to make the race-winning pass.
The winner of the 2021 Slinger Nationals at Slinger Speedway, Fenhaus is no stranger to success on short tracks. But he anticipated having to deal with a learning curve in the East Series due to Pinnacle Racing Group being a new to the platform.
Fenhaus is confident his experience and the leadership of team owner Shane Huffman will yield more strong performances over the 2023 season, but he said everyone needs to keep working hard each week to maximize the potential of the organization.
“Potential is a big word,” Fenhaus said. “We’ve been getting [cars] ready for the season for the last couple of months. It’s good to come in second, but it’s hard to be that close [to a victory]. These guys worked so hard and I’m proud of the effort. We’ll keep learning and move on.”
Fenhaus added that Sawalich and Joe Gibbs Racing set the benchmark on where he and Pinnacle Racing Group need to be moving forward.
Sawalich wanted to temper his own expectations about finding success in the No. 18 knowing he would have to adapt to the heavier cars. Now that he has an ARCA East win on his resume, Sawalich is determined to duplicate that performance over his 18 remaining ARCA races in 2023, seven of which encompass the rest of the East Series schedule.
“The championship is in play,” Sawalich said. “I think we can dominate everywhere we go.”
Jake Finch managed to bring home a third-place finish in the Pensacola 200 while driving for Venturini Motorsports. Finch’s teammate Sean Hingorani came home fourth with Lavar Scott rounding out the top five.
A replay of the Pensacola 200 at Five Flags Speedway can be seen on CNBC at 11 a.m. ET on April 2.
Carson Kvapil returns to victory lane in Aaron’s 125 at Florence Motor Speedway
The return of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour to Florence Motor Speedway saw a race dominated by tire conservation.
With Florence’s abrasive surface notably hard on tires, drivers implemented a variety of strategies in Aaron’s 125 in order to gain an advantage over one another. Some drivers chose to test their luck at the front of the field while others elected to be extra cautious to the point of nearly getting lapped.
Ultimately, a familiar face found their way to victory lane in the form of defending CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour champion Carson Kvapil, who maintained solid track position through the entire evening before passing Brenden ‘Butterbean’ Queen on the final restart of the night.
Carson Kvapil finally wins at Florence
Throughout his career, Carson Kvapil has endured many close calls at Florence Motor Speedway.
From coming up short in his first CARS LMSC Tour start with JR Motorsports to being in contention during the South Carolina 400, Kvapil believed he was inching closer to that elusive first victory at Florence when he and his team arrived for the Aaron’s 125.
Kvapil finally put together a complete Florence race by perfectly executing the tire strategy while simultaneously waiting for the right opportunity to pounce for the lead.
“We just had a pretty strong car there at the end,” Kvapil said. “We were a little faster than Butterbean and [Mini] Tyrrell during the last 40 laps. I was trying to get around them but couldn’t really set it up. Those restarts helped me out and my car could fire off really good. I’m just glad I finally won one at Florence.”
Kvapil admitted his triumph in the Aaron’s 125 came as a major relief after both JR Motorsports cars were non-factors in Florence’s season-opening Icebreaker back in February.
Despite the poor showing, Kvapil was not overly-concerned with how the team performed in that event, as he knew everyone at JR Motorsports would work diligently to find the necessary speed that would allow him to defend his LMSC Tour title from 2022.
The first two races for Kvapil showed him the commitment his team put in to bounce back from their slow start. Kvapil knows maintaining consistent speed will be tough with so many competitive teams in the LMSC Tour this year, but he fully expects JR Motorsports to overcome any obstacles in their way.
“It just shows how much we can rebound,” Kvapil said. “We were [18th] in the IceBreaker but went to Southern National and finished second. [The IceBreaker finish didn’t influence] too much of what we were thinking [on Saturday]. We made a few changes but were just more prepared for how we wanted to run this race.”
Brenden Queen keeps momentum going with second place run
Just over three months removed from a win in Florence Motor Speedway’s prestigious South Carolina 400 Brenden Queen entered Saturday’s Aaron’s 125 with confidence on his side.
Queen managed to lead a good portion of the 125-lap feature but could not fend off Carson Kvapil on the final restart of the night. Despite the loss, Queen still came away from Florence with plenty to celebrate after another strong run with Lee Pulliam Performance.
“I’m known for dropping to the back in these races, but I learned a lot [on Saturday] by staying forward all night,” Queen said. “This is a big confidence booster for myself. [Kvapil] was a little better there at the end but it felt like a [South Carolina] 400 rematch between us. Hopefully I can be the guy to battle him all year.”
Having fended off Kvapil during the preceding run by keeping his car pinned to the bottom, Queen elected to take the high side for the last restart so that his car would not get free underneath Kvapil.
The two did end up making slight contact with one another, but Queen attributed that outcome to hard racing for the win. Queen holds a tremendous amount of respect for Kvapil and knows that he and JR Motorsports set a high standard of efficiency in each race they enter.
Queen is confident he will factor into the championship battle with the cars four-time NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series champion Lee Pulliam provides him. He admitted the second place finish at Florence is going to sting for a bit, but said there’s still plenty of room for improvement as the 2023 CARS LMSC Tour season progresses.
“I’m making gains with [Lee Pulliam Performance], so the pressure is on me to perform,” Queen said. “I wish we would have came away one spot better, but we qualified second and led some laps, so not a bad night. I can’t thank Lee Pulliam and this whole organization enough for believing in me.”
Third place finish a sentimental victory for Ronnie Bassett Jr.
Once a recognizable name amongst the Late Model Stock faithful, Ronnie Bassett Jr. reminded drivers and fans of the talent he possessed in the discipline during the 2010s.
After starting in the 20th position, Ronnie gradually worked his way through the field to position himself inside the Top 5 with only a few laps remaining. Although Bassett did not claim the win, he took pride in knowing he could still hold his own with the best in Late Model Stock competition.
“I felt like we had a pretty good car all weekend,” Ronnie said. “We wanted to qualify a lot better and didn’t want to ride around in 20th all night but it kind of worked out. We kept the fenders on it this week and we were there at the end.”
With victories in the Bobby Isaac Memorial and Thanksgiving All-Star Classic, it was only a matter of time before Ronnie and his brother Dillon made the jump into NASCAR’s top divisions.
The past several years for Ronnie have been dominated by adversity from losing several cars in a shop fire back in 2016 to being unable to qualify for most NASCAR Xfinity Series events in 2021 due to temporary COVID-19 guidelines, yet he and Dillon have never lost their passion for building a competitive team in motorsports.
That dream for Ronnie and Dillon now involves a full-time commitment to the CARS LMSC Tour after scaling back their Xfinity Series program. Ronnie knew such a move would not be easy, but was drawn in by the competitive nature of the series and the potential for him to shine at the tracks where he developed his race craft.
Now with a Top 5 finish under his belt, Ronnie is eager to move forward with the rest of the LMSC Tour season with the goal of adding a victory in the series to his prestigious Late Model Stock resume.
The CARS LMSC Tour competitors will have a month to regroup before joining their Pro Late Model Tour counterparts for a trip to Hickory Motor Speedway, which will take place on Apr. 22.
For more information on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Pro Late Model Tour, visit www.carsracingtour.com. Be sure to stay active and social with the tour by liking “CARS Tour” on Facebook, following @CARSTour on Twitter and scrolling through photos on Instagram cars_tour.
South Carolina Short Track Legend Marty Ward Passes Away Aged 58
Marty Ward, one of the all-time greats in short track racing from the state of South Carolina, has passed away.
Ward, 58, suffered a heart attack while competing with the Southeast Super Trucks at Anderson Motor Speedway (SC) on Saturday. According to a post by the series on Sunday, the legendary racer passed away on Sunday surrounded by family and friends.
Ward had also won earlier in the evening at Anderson, taking the victory in the Southern Classic Stock Car feature race.
“Marty brought much fun and laughter to everyone he was around,” stated the series’ announcement. “His stories brought back great memories for us all. Marty never knew a stranger and made you feel like you had been friends since childhood.
“He was a man of integrity and honor. And in true Marty fashion, he left us with that huge smile and a victory lane flag in in hand, winning the very first race for the Southern Classic Stock Car division. Marty will be greatly missed by his racing family and friends.”
Ward was a six-time track champion at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, and a three-time South Carolina State Champion in what is now known as the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Racing Series.
He was also a race-winning driver in several notable touring series throughout his career, including the Hooters Pro Cup Series, the UARA STARS Late Model Series, the NASCAR Sportsman Division, and the NASCAR All-American Challenge Series.
Ward also had a win earlier this season with the Southeast Super Trucks, taking the victory at Anderson in the tour’s season opener on April 29.
Racing America offers its condolences to Ward’s family and friends.