Landon Huffman bags $30,000 in Old North State Nationals at Tri-County Motor Speedway

HUDSON, NORTH CAROLINA – Landon Huffman had waited his entire career for a night like Saturday.

Long known for his efficiency in Hickory Motor Speedway’s weekly events, Huffman showcased his natural driving ability and determination on a national stage by taking home $30,000 in the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour’s prestigious Old North State Nationals at Tri-County Motor Speedway.

Huffman had to survive an arduous 200-lap Late Model Stock feature dominated by attrition, tight racing and fuel strategy to claim his first crown jewel victory. He joined Caden Kvapil as a winner at Tri-County on Saturday, who bagged $5,000 in the preceding CARS Pro Late Model Tour race.

Landon Huffman brings Nelson Motorsports back to victory lane

When Landon Huffman joined Nelson Motorsports, he knew it would take time for everyone to build cohesion and regularly contend for victories.

Coming off a 2022 season with only one victory, Nelson turned to Huffman’s short track knowledge after parting ways with Cale Gale three races into the current year. Although the results were not to their immediate liking, Huffman worked hard with Nelson to get his Late Model Stock program back to the level of success that won them three CARS LMSC Tour titles.

A summer of rigorous effort culminated with the duo celebrating in victory lane at the end of Saturday’s Old North State Nationals at Tri-County Motor Speedway.

“It’s a surreal moment,” Huffman said. “I’m a hometown short track kid whose been working hard to get opportunities at any level of racing. I fought up the ladder, fell back down, and now we’re fighting back up. We’ve worked so hard on this car week in and week out, and we’ve been making slow but steady progress. Hopefully this is the first of many.”

After recording an average finish of 20th in his first three starts with Nelson, Huffman began to see gradual strides with long-run speed before finally earning his first Top 10 in the most recent LMSC Tour race at Ace Speedway.

Huffman’s No. 22 Chevrolet had immediate pace from the first Tri-County practice session on Friday. He maintained solid track position for most of the Old North State Nationals and found himself inside the Top 3 with 20 laps remaining alongside Brenden Queen and Kaden Honeycutt.

With several teams being close on fuel, Huffman waited patiently to see whether Queen and Honeycutt would be able to make it to the checkered flag. Queen running out of gas left Huffman to settle the Old North State Nationals with Honeycutt, the latter of which also came up short with five laps remaining.

“I knew I was better than all of them,” Huffman said. “Track position is so key, but I knew [Queen] was going to be close [on fuel] and probably run out. I didn’t know Kaden [Honeycutt] was close, so I was just biding my time. I fell back on that one restart, but we got another shot at it and were able to drive around Kaden.”

Carson Kvapil one spot away from second Old North State Nationals win

The driver who followed Landon Huffman across the start-finish line was Carson Kvapil, the defending winner of the Old North State Nationals.

Carson battled battery issues and poor track position to grind out a second place run at Tri-County Motor Speedway on Saturday. He was disappointed to not come away with another Old North State Nationals triumph but said his final showing reflects the strengths of JR Motorsports’ Late Model Stock program.

“It sucks being that close to the $30,000,” Carson said. “Looking back on it, we were probably going to finish in the same spot if it were a 125-lap race. We couldn’t really go forward sitting in eighth or ninth. Being able to make up positions like that and come home with a P2 finish is pretty good for the Bass Pro Shops Chevy.”

Carson’s strategy for the 2023 edition of the Old North State Nationals was to take fuel at the earliest opportunity before putting on tires at around Lap 100.

Everything played out the way Carson expected despite having to get a push start on pit road twice due to his faulty battery. The one caveat in Carson’s plan was the copious amount of caution laps that forced him and his competitors to expend their fuel during the closing stages.

While Carson was able to conserve enough fuel to salvage a strong night, he also gained significant ground in the CARS LMSC Tour point standings with Brenden Queen’s own fuel issues. Queen had led most of the Old North State Nationals until his fuel tank ran dry, which came as a major relief for Carson following an adventurous evening of his own.

“[Queen] was a little too close for comfort,” Carson said. “After this one, we gained a significant number of points on him. I’m happy even though we were one spot away from being happy, but I’ll take it.”

Caden Kvapil dominates PLM Tour feature, takes points lead

Another positive for Carson at Tri-County Motor Speedway on Saturday was being able to watch his younger brother Caden Kvapil put together one of the best races of his career.

No one else in the PLM Tour field could match Caden’s pace from the first green flag. He easily earned his second victory of the 2023 season along with a $5,000 race-winning paycheck, continuing a streak of momentum that began at the end of June.

“It feels so surreal,” Caden said. “We won Caraway, should have won Wake County, finished second at Hickory and now we’ve won [at Tri-County]. It wasn’t the best year to start off, but the last four races showed what we’re truly capable of, so this feels really good. The car was amazing all night.”

The key turning point for Caden and his team Highlands Motorsports came down to running a different type of car.  

Although Highlands Motorsports’ primary chassis showed speed, Caden admitted he and the team could not figure out how to win races with it. For the CARS Tour 265 at Caraway Speedway, Caden began using Highlands Motorsports’ backup car and has not finished worse than seventh since then.

A flawless night from Caden in the backup car saw him accumulate all possible bonus points to take control of the PLM Tour standings over Katie Hettinger, who finished sixth on Saturday. Caden has plenty of confidence about earning his first title in the division but knows he can not make any mistakes with how consistent Hettinger has been in 2023.

“We’ve been trying to get the points lead from Katie [Hettinger] for a while,” Caden said. “She got it early on and we’ve been second or third the whole time. Over these past few races, we’ve gained a lot, so being the points leader for the next race feels pretty good, but we’ll have to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”


Being able to hoist the Old North State Nationals trophy in front of an ecstatic local crown was one of the most rewarding moments of Landon Huffman’s life.

Before earning his first track championship at Hickory last year, Huffman had worked meticulously during the late 2010s to fight his way into the top ranks of NASCAR like his father in five-time NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series champion Robert Huffman, but only made a handful of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series appearances.

Now a household name in Late Model Stock competition, Huffman has never been more excited about his immediate future in the discipline and is eagerly looking forward to seeing how he and Nelson Motorsports continue to excel over the rest of the 2023 season.

As for the paycheck, Huffman has no idea what will come of the $30,000, but he does have some ideas on how to celebrate in the short-term.

“You’ll have to ask Mr. Nelson about [the money],” Huffman said. “I do know that I’m about to go drink some beer.”

Following the biggest race of the 2023 season, the CARS LMSC Tour heads to the smallest track on the schedule in Wake County Speedway this coming Saturday. The next event for the CARS PLM Tour will not take place until Oct. 7 when the division heads to South Boston Speedway.

FloRacing will provide live flag-to-flag coverage of both events.

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. 22 Landon Huffman
  2. 8 Carson Kvapil
  3. 04 Ronnie Bassett Jr.
  4. 6 Bobby McCarty
  5. 15 Ryan Millington
  6. 14 Jared Fryar
  7. 24 Mason Diaz
  8. 81 Mini Tyrrell
  9. 62 Layne Riggs
  10. 67 Cameron Bolin
  11. 12 Austin McDaniel
  12. 2 Brandon Pierce
  13. 4 Dylon Wilson
  14. 95 Jacob Heafner
  15. 8B Chase Burrow
  16. 03 Brenden Queen -1
  17. 1 Andrew Grady -4
  18. 10 Kaden Honeycutt – OUT
  19. 44 Conner Jones – OUT
  20. 23 Kade Brown – OUT
  21. 08 Deac McCaskill – OUT
  22. 15C Logan Clark – OUT
  23. 09 Riley Gentry – OUT
  24. 7 Dylan Ward – OUT
  25. 5D Dexter Canipe Jr. – OUT
  26. 57 Daniel Webster – OUT
  27. 16 Chad McCumbee – OUT
  28. 19M Jeremy Mayfield – OUT
  29. 9W Charlie Watson – OUT
  30. 97 D.J. Canipe – OUT
  31. 45 Jonathan Findley – OUT
  32. 77 Ryan Wilson – OUT

PLM Results:

  1. 96 Caden Kvapil
  2. 26 Dawson Sutton
  3. 28 Cole Butcher
  4. 25 Gavan Boschele
  5. 9 Ashton Higgins
  6. 81 Katie Hettinger
  7. 13 Austin MacDonald
  8. 6 Clint King
  9. 03 Kyle Campbell
  10. 77 Logan Jones
  11. 8 Rusty Skewes
  12. 92 Levie Jones -1
  13. 43 Nick Loden – OUT
  14. 43H Joshua Horniman – OUT
  15. 27 Lee Tissot – OUT
  16. 7 Tristan McKee – OUT
  17. 55 Charlie Keeven – OUT