New year, same result: Carson Kvapil takes LMSC opener at Southern National

Carson Kvapil

LUCAMA, North Carolina – There was no apparent championship hangover for Carson Kvapil during Sunday’s season-opening 125 at Southern National Motorsports Park for the zMAX CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour.

Utilizing the same patience and finesse that has won him the CARS LMSC Tour title over the past two years, Kvapil methodically climbed his way up the running order from the seventh starting position before making the race-winning pass on Brent Crews during a restart with 25 laps remaining.

The victory at Southern National was Kvapil’s first at the track and his 10th in the LMSC Tour since replacing all-time wins leader Josh Berry at JR Motorsports prior to the 2022 season.


Carson Kvapil, JR Motorsports still on top of LMSC Tour

JR Motorsports has always set a high standard in the CARS LMSC Tour race from the moment they won their first with Berry back in 2015.

The meticulous effort that goes into every car had Carson Kvapil at ease even though he qualified outside the Top 5 in the 125. Kvapil knew the lost ground could be made up if he avoided trouble and maintained his track position, which he performed to near perfection for another trip to victory lane.

“I feel great,” Kvapil said. “Everyone at JR Motorsports gave me such a great opportunity with a great race car, which makes it easy for me. We didn’t qualify the greatest, but I felt like our car was going to race good. It really showed up towards the end of that race.”

The only obstacle that hindered Kvapil on the afternoon was early contact with Deac McCaskill that damaged his right-front fender. Kvapil brushed off the collision with no issues and kept making progress towards the front.

While Kvapil had plenty of confidence in the speed of his car, he felt the second competition caution at Lap 90 was essential for him to make a run at the lead. Despite this, Kvapil did not think he could pass Brent Crews on the high line but caught a break when Crews missed a shift on the ensuing restart.

Once he got clean air, Kvapil pulled away from the field to add another accomplishment to his burgeoning resume. Although he is used to winning with JR Motorsports, Kvapil still relishes every celebration, adding there is always pressure to stay at the top with the competitive depth in the LMSC Tour.

“It’s tough to win in Late Model Stocks,” Kvapil said. “There’s about 25 guys that would not surprise me if they won a race. Being able to go out here and win the first race is such a confidence booster. It shows that we’re here and we’re as competitive as ever as a team.”

Strong week for Connor Hall ends with runner-up LMSC Tour finish

Connor Hall made sure to get plenty of track time at Southern National Motorsports Park before Sunday’s 125.

Having claimed two Late Model Stock wins during Southern National’s inaugural Speed Week, expectations were high for Hall in his first CARS LMSC Tour start with Nelson Motorsports. Hall came one spot short of another victory but came away from a busy week satisfied with the consistency.

“I’m a bridesmaid to [Carson] Kvapil again, but [second] is not bad,” Hall said. “We’re all here to win and there’s only one winner, but I couldn’t ask for more in our first outing together. We’ve been here for five days and made a lot of progress, so I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Hall knew the 125-lap LMSC Tour event would be the most difficult to prevail in, especially with a larger field and a different tire compound. The strategy Hall used to keep track position involved being both aggressive and conservative with a tire he believed wore out quicker compared to last year.

Getting briefly trapped on the outside line and missing a shift on a restart were the only two factors Hall said inhibited him from staying in front of Kvapil. Hall tried to nudge Kvapil during the final sprint to the finish, but was not willing to try anything that risked damaging both of their cars.

Although Hall is trying to take a big picture approach to open 2024, the LMSC Tour championship was the furthest idea from his mind during the post-race debrief. Hall took advantage of a poor day from fellow title favorite Brenden Queen, but he said efficiency will be paramount for him and Nelson Motorsports to stay one step ahead.

“We all know what Brenden and Lee [Pulliam] can do when they’re in true form,” Hall said. “The fact they had one bad day doesn’t ease my mind much. It’s going to be a really good championship battle all year and I think there’s going to be a lot of upcoming bump-and-runs for some wins.”

Brent Crews leads most laps, fades to sixth

Prior to Sunday’s 125 at Southern National Motorsports Park, Brent Crews had only run two events in the CARS LMSC Tour.

The 15-year-old prospect showcased poise and composure in his first race with Kevin Harvick Inc.’s Late Model Stock program. He led the most laps of any competitor from the outside pole, but ended up settling for a sixth place finish that Crews attributed to his own inexperience in the discipline.

“I’m super thrilled to be here,” Crews said. “It was a fun day and I felt like I learned a lot. I should have picked some lanes differently and saved a little bit more, but that’s why we’re here. This series is unbelievably competitive and it’s a blast, so I’m looking forward to the next one.”

Crews believed he had done everything necessary to conserve his tires for the end of the race but had no idea how much the drivers behind him were saving.

Seeing Kvapil, Hall and several others pull away in the closing laps provided Crews a perspective on how much he needed to save to maintain his lead. Sunday may have ended in disappointment, but Crews intends to use the knowledge obtained from Southern National to improve himself in future tire conservation races.

The speed Crews showed all weekend at Southern National has given him some confidence ahead of a grueling 17-race schedule. Crews expects to be tested in a variety of different ways, but he knows everyone at Kevin Harvick Inc. is going to keep providing him race-winning equipment all year long.

“I need to learn how to race super tight on these ovals,” Crews said. “I do have a good bit of experience, but the CARS Tour is a whole different animal. It’s so competitive, but with how fast this race car was, it gets me excited for what’s ahead.”


Although Carson Kvapil is not contending the full year in the CARS LMSC Tour due to scheduling conflicts that include his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Martinsville Speedway later this year, Sunday only reinforced just how efficient he and JR Motorsports are going to be every time they show up to the track.

Kvapil and the rest of the LMSC Tour drivers will next head to New River All American Speedway in Jacksonville, North Carolina on March 23. The reigning champ is seeking his first win at the track but will have to face plenty of tough competition that include the two most recent winners in Connor Hall and Brenden Queen.

FloRacing will provide live flag-to-flag coverage.

For more information on the zMAX CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the zMAX 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 X (formerly known as 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. 8 Carson Kvapil
  2. 22 Connor Hall
  3. 08 Deac McCaskill
  4. 00 Chase Burrow
  5. 17 Kaden Honeycutt
  6. 29 Brent Crews
  7. 81 Mini Tyrrell
  8. 1J Clay Jones
  9. 77T Tretyen Lapcevich
  10. 6 Bobby McCarty
  11. 62 Layne Riggs
  12. 11 Buddy Isles Jr.
  13. 15C Logan Clark
  14. 71 Katie Hettinger
  15. 04 Ronnie Bassett Jr.
  16. 2 Brandon Pierce
  17. 90 John Goin
  18. 95 Jacob Heafner
  19. 03 Brenden Queen
  20. 45 Bryce Applegate
  21. 15 Ryan Millington
  22. 55 Gavan Boschele -1
  23. 67 Cameron Bolin -1
  24. 50 Jamey Caudill -1
  25. 23 Kade Brown – OUT
  26. 16 Chad McCumbee – OUT
  27. 1 Andrew Grady – OUT
  28. 77 Trevor Ward – OUT
  29. 15J Ryan Joyner – OUT
  30. 14 Mason Diaz – OUT