Brenden Queen, Augie Grill add their names to the North Wilkesboro Speedway history books

The CARS Tour’s second trip to North Wilkesboro Speedway on Wednesday night once again produced plenty of thrills for Wilkes County’s loyal auto racing fanbase.

With a combined total of 78 cars starting between the Late Model Stock Car and Pro Late Model Tour features respectively, drivers relentlessly battled over the limited amount of space around North Wilkesboro, resulting in races dominated by strategy and close racing.

Once the dust settled on an eventful evening, Carson Kvapil’s three-race win streak in the LMSC Tour came to an end at the hands of Brenden ‘Butterbean’ Queen, while short track veteran Augie Grill had to fend off a challenge from series alumnus Corey Heim to win the PLM Tour race.

Butterbean reigns supreme in Wilkes County

Everything could not have gone more perfectly for Brenden Queen at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Wednesday night.

After easily claiming the track record with a time of 19.125, Queen and Lee Pulliam Performance flawlessly executed on both tire and pit strategy to fend of the CARS LMSC Tour regulars and NASCAR stars for a victory that Queen described as equal parts emotional and cathartic.

“This is nuts,” Queen said. “I said to my guys all week that we were going to ride the lift and damn if we did. My family team was starting to win a lot of races, but I came over to Lee [Pulliam Performance] because I wanted to do the [CARS] Tour. We wanted a CARS Tour win and got one [on Wednesday]. This has to be the coolest win of my career.”

Queen still remembers the heartbreak that hindered him during the CARS Tour’s first trip to North Wilkesboro last August. After maintaining solid track position all evening, Queen’s hood came apart during the closing stages, which forced him to retire shortly before the checkered flag.

No such issue plagued Queen during his second trip to the iconic facility. Differing strategies required him to come through the field on two different occasions, but nobody could stop Queen on the final restart of the evening, as he easily cleared Ryan Millington and Jared Fryar to pull away with the win.

The triumph at North Wilkesboro was Queen’s second with the CARS Tour after he fended off Carson Kvapil at his home track of Langley Speedway last year. Now with three crown jewel wins with Pulliam that include the South Carolina 400 and Battle of the Stars, Queen is eager to keep showcasing his talent across the rest of the 2023.

He also expressed relief over having a smooth outing at North Wilkesboro compared to 2022 and intends to cherish his accomplishment for the rest of his career.

“The hood stayed on this year,” Queen said. “That’s a plus and redemption from last year when he had such a great run in the family car. Coming back with Lee and getting it done is bittersweet, but I was nervous with all those guys staying out [during the final stop]. I could go wherever I wanted to whenever, and if I could get clean air, I knew it was over.”

Ryan Millington pilots battered car to second place finish

Ryan Millington crossed the finish line at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Saturday with a damaged car that was missing a left-front fender.

Through late-race pit strategy, Millington maintained track position during the final run to come home with a solid second-place finish. He admitted to being surprised over his performance despite the damage, but entered the evening confident his car would have efficient speed.

“I knew we had a really good car all night,” Millington said. “After qualifying 24th, I was pretty disappointed, but I knew we had good long run speed, so we were focusing on that. At the beginning, I ran harder than I wanted to trying to get some track position, but to come [to North Wilkesboro] and finish second is big.”

Millington sustained his damage with 95 laps remaining when William Sawalich spun in front of the field while checking up for a slower car on the frontstretch. As Millington slowed down to avoid, Deac McCaskill climbed over the left side of his car, which caused him to spin towards the inside wall.

The damage was not terminal for Millington, but he knew racing his way back up to the front would be unlikely given the circumstances. An opportunity arose for Millington during the final controlled caution on Lap 35 when he elected to stay out, putting him on the front row with Tyler Ankrum.

Millington was ultimately unable to fend off Brenden Queen for the win, but he came away from North Wilkesboro satisfied with his evening. Still searching for his second CARS LMSC Tour victory after winning at Ace Speedway in 2020, Millington believes his team is continuing to make strides towards being a contender every weekend.

“That wreck tore the whole left side off the car and forced us to take tires earlier than we wanted,” Millington said. “At the same time, it gave us track position, so either way, it was an awesome night for us. We’re going to keep working, and we have 30,000 reasons to race next weekend [at Tri-County].

Augie Grill triumphs in PLM Tour debut

The inaugural CARS PLM Tour race at North Wilkesboro featured a rare appearance from two-time Snowball Derby champion Augie Grill.

With over two decades of auto racing experience on his side, Grill proved to be the class of the field during the 75-lap event. He put his No. 43 Alabama Brick Delivery Ford on pole before successfully holding off Corey Heim to add a PLM Tour win to his stellar resume.

“When [Heim] passed me there early, I was wanting to ride more than I did,” Grill said. “I felt like he’d be good the whole race, so I didn’t want him getting too far ahead of me. We were tit-for-tat, and I felt like he let me down in front of me on that restart. Whoever was in front was likely going to win.”

Wednesday was only Grill’s third appearance across the entire CARS Tour platform. He ended up failing to qualify for the Super Late Model Tour’s first visit to Bristol Motor Speedway in 2017 before returning to the same event two years later, where he finished behind the wall in 15th after sustaining a suspension failure.

Unlike most of his competition, Grill entered the Crossroads Harley-Davidson 75 having made competitive laps at North Wilkesboro. Along with running last year’s Super Late Model feature at the facility, Grill took part in ‘The Race’ in 2011, finishing ninth after leading 34 laps.

Grill entered both the PLM Tour and ASA National Tour races determined to obtain a North Wilkesboro win. Although he did not get a chance to do so in the latter, Grill took time to relish in his PLM Tour triumph and appreciate seeing one of his favorite tracks fully revitalized after a decade of being dormant.

“[This win] is up there,” Grill said. “I watched racing when I was a kid at [North Wilkesboro], including the last [NASCAR Cup Series] race that was here. It’s pretty cool to be up on top [of victory lane] and waving this flag. It’s been a long time coming and hopefully I’m not done.”


The CARS Tour moves from one historic milestone to another next week with both divisions heading to Tri-County Motor Speedway, which will serve as the 100th race in the history of the LMSC Tour. Each race will be streamed live on FloRacing.

For more information on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Pro Late Model Tour, visit 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.

Additional series information can be obtained by calling the CARS Tour series office, located in
Mooresville, NC, at 704.662.9212.

LMSC Results:

  1. 03 Brenden Queen
  2. 15 Ryan Millington
  3. 14 Jared Fryar
  4. 77 Connor Hall
  5. 10 Kaden Honeycutt
  6. 99 Layne Riggs
  7. 16 Chad McCumbee
  8. 8 Carson Kvapil
  9. 32 Zack Miracle
  10. 5 Chase Briscoe
  11. 62 Kevin Harvick
  12. 6K Brad Keselowski
  13. 24 Mason Diaz
  14. 04 Ronnie Bassett Jr.
  15. 99S Daniel Suarez
  16. 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  17. 44 Conner Jones
  18. 2 Brandon Pierce
  19. 28C Ross Chastain
  20. 67 Cameron Bolin
  21. 22 Landon Huffman
  22. 42 Carson Brown
  23. 87 Tate Fogleman
  24. 98 Tyler Ankrum -1
  25. 97A Jason Kitzmiller -1
  26. 4 Dylon Wilson -3
  27. 5B Bryant Barnhill -3
  28. 6 Bobby McCarty – OUT
  29. 20 Josh Dickens – OUT
  30. 95 Jacob Heafner – OUT
  31. 43 William Sawalich – OUT
  32. 81 Mini Tyrrell – OUT
  33. 8B Chase Burrow – OUT
  34. 0 Landon Pembelton – OUT
  35. 08 Deac McCaskill – OUT
  36. 57 Connor Zilisch – OUT
  37. 1 Andrew Grady – OUT

PLM Results:

  1. 43 Augie Grill
  2. 28H Corey Heim
  3. 25 Connor Zilisch
  4. 7 Tristan McKee
  5. 81 Katie Hettinger
  6. 24 Brent Crews
  7. 27B Jeb Burton
  8. 96 Caden Kvapil
  9. 44S Trevor Sanborn
  10. 15H Mike Hopkins
  11. 11 Dylan Cappello
  12. 7B Jackson Boone
  13. 2 John Bolen
  14. 9 Ashton Higgins
  15. 35 Seth Christensen
  16. 9H Bret Holmes
  17. 14 Carson Hocevar
  18. 7T Tyler Church
  19. 6 George Phillips -1
  20. 1 Rodney Sandstorm -1
  21. 7G Tyler Gregory -1
  22. 03 Kyle Campbell -1
  23. 44L Michael Lichtfeld -1
  24. 15B Luke Baldwin -1
  25. 33 Dustin Smith -1
  26. 88 T.J. DeCaire -1
  27. 27 Lee Tissot -1
  28. 49M Luke Morey -1
  29. 43H Joshua Horniman -1
  30. 8 Rusty Skewes -2
  31. 54 Matt Craig -4
  32. 4 Garrett Smithley – OUT
  33. 15 Brett Suggs – OUT
  34. 44 Justin Whitaker – OUT
  35. 63 Josh Lowder – OUT
  36. 77 Logan Jones – OUT
  37. 43 Nick Loden – OUT
  38. 13 Austin MacDonald – OUT
  39. 26 Dawson Sutton – OUT
  40. 19 Bryan Kruczek – OUT