ALTAMAHAW, N.C. – With Hurricane Ian no longer posing a threat, the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour returned to Ace Speedway for the rescheduled Puryear Tank Lines 225 Friday evening. A season full of frustration came to an end for Kaden Honeycutt, who captured an emotional victory in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour main event following the passing of his grandfather less than two weeks prior.
In the CARS Pro Late Model Tour, Caden Kvapil outlasted polesitter Mason Diaz to earn his second victory of the season and his first season the opening race of the year at Caraway Speedway on March 13.
Kaden Honeycutt scores emotional CARS Late Model Stock Tour victory
Less than two weeks ago, Kaden Honeycutt unexpectedly said goodbye to his grandfather. On Friday night at Ace Speedway, he won the CARS Late Model Stock Tour portion of the Puryear Tank Lines 225 and dedicated the victory to his late grandfather.
“He meant so much to me. He was one of the biggest supporters I ever had next to my dad and mom,” Honeycutt said in Edelbrock Victory Lane. “It’s unbelievable man.”
Honeycutt lined up second for the 125-lap feature alongside polesitter Ryan Millington and spent the first portion of the race chasing the two-time Hickory Motor Speedway track champion.
With 90 laps left Honeycutt was able to take the lead from Millington and held the position through multiple restarts. Millington stayed right with Honeycutt throughout and at one point appeared poised to take the lead from Honeycutt until a timely caution flag with 57 laps left saved Honeycutt.
During the restart Honeycutt and Millington waged a war for the race lead, with both drivers taking turns at the front of the field while racing side-by-side for approximately 10 laps.
Eventually Honeycutt emerged as the leader, with Millington falling through the field after using up his tires trying to stay with Honeycutt. That gifted the runner-up position to Chad McCumbee, who began to close in on Honeycutt.
At one point McCumbee had caught the race leader, but Honeycutt made a daring three-wide pass in traffic to put two slower cars and several car lengths between himself and McCumbee.
McCumbee started to close back in on the race leader, but his pace suddenly slowed with eight laps left due to a mechanical failure. That gave Honeycutt all the breathing room he needed to cross the finish line for his first CARS Late Model Stock Tour win of the season.
“I was racing Millington really hard and we had a heck of a race there,” Honeycutt said. “I had no idea that Chad was behind me. They (his team) just kind of kept me focused, trying to keep my mind off of it.
“We just had some luck finally for the first time this year.” Josh Berry, the 2017 CARS Late Model Stock Tour champion and current NASCAR Xfinity Series driver who was racing in place of suspended JR Motorsports driver Carson Kvapil, finished second in his return to the series.
Connor Hall was third, followed by Millington and Jacob Heafner.
Caden Kvapil collects second CARS Pro Late Model Tour victory of the season
Caden Kvapil didn’t have the fastest car during long runs Friday night at Ace Speedway, but it turned out a short run car was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Kvapil survived multiple late-race restarts to collect his second CARS Pro Late Model Tour victory of the season, allowing him to gain valuable points towards the series championship.
For much of the CARS Pro Late Model Tour portion of the Puryear Tank Lines 225, Mason Diaz was the man in charge. Diaz, driving the No. 6 for Setzer Racing and Development typically piloted by William Sawalich, started from the pole after setting fast time in qualifying.
Diaz controlled the first half of the race, but Kvapil emerged as a contender following a restart with 35 laps left. Utilizing the top line, Kvapil was able to get around Diaz to take the race lead for the first time.
Kvapil’s stint at the front was brief as Diaz was able to get back by him to regain the lead with 27 laps left. However, the caution flag waved again when Austin MacDonald crashed in turn one following an engine failure with nine laps left.
Taking advantage of another restart, Kvapil again was able to get around Diaz to take the race lead. This time Kvapil was able to sneak away as Diaz found himself battling Luke Fenhaus for the second position.
The two traded second a few times before contact between the two sent Diaz spinning in turn three to bring out the caution flag with six laps left. CARS Tour officials deemed the contact avoidable on Fenhaus’ part and penalized him by sending him to the rear for the restart.
Kvapil held on to the lead during the ensuing restart, but Diaz was quickly making his way back through the field and was up to fourth when third-place Kody King spun with four laps left to bring out the final caution flag.
The four-lap dash to the checkered flag saw Diaz get back to second, but he couldn’t get close enough to challenge Kvapil, who took the checkered flag .403 seconds clear of Diaz.
“I don’t think our short run was that good, long run we were a lot better,” Kvapil said. “The restarts were what helped us the most. Pinning him down on the bottom like that and holding momentum on top definitely helped.”
Diaz settled for second in his CARS Pro Late Model Tour season debut and admitted he made too many mistakes to win Friday’s race.
“Everyone at Brandon Setzer Racing, they brought a fast race car,” Diaz said. “Definitely should have won that one. Great job to Caden. He was definitely there the whole entire time. Came up one spot short there after the incident with the 96 (Fenhaus) and drove back through the field. Just needed a little bit more to get to him at the end there.
“It all came from my mistakes on the restarts, which happens. I got free going into the last one and let them get underneath me.”
Fenhaus was able to make his way back through the field to finish third, with Katie Hettinger and Luke Morey completing the top-five.
- 12 Kaden Honeycutt
- 8 Josh Berry
- 77 Connor Hall
- 17 Ryan Millington
- 95 Jacob Heafner
- 44 Conner Jones
- 91 Jonathan Shafer
- 14 Jared Fryar
- 8b Chase Burrow
- 5 Carter Langley
- 9 Ashton Higgins
- 81 Mini Tyrrell
- 24 Mason Diaz
- 59 Heath Causey -1
- 16 Chad McCumbee -1
- 7 Dylan Ward – 1
- 2R Braden Rogers -1
- 21 Mike Darne -1
- 4 Hayden Swank -3
- 10 Janson Marchbanks -26
- 22 Bobby McCarty – OUT
- 32 Zack Miracle – OUT
- 2 Brandon Pierce – OUT
- 77w Trevor Ward – OUT
- 77s Blake Stallings – OUT
- 35 Caden Kvapil
- 6 Mason Diaz
- 96 Luke Fenhaus
- 96k Katie Hettinger
- 49m Luke Morey
- 29 Nick Loaden
- 8 Rusty Skewes
- 24c Penn Crim
- 1 Kody King
- 13 Austin MacDonald – OUT