MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 20, 2023) — Carson Kvapil and Dale Earnhardt Jr. delivered exceptional performances in the final big race of the JR Motorsports Late Model season on Saturday night at Florence (S.C.) Motor Speedway. Kvapil claimed a strong third-place finish while Earnhardt Jr. secured a solid eighth place in the 250-lap fall classic event.
Kvapil, the two-time and defending Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour LMSC champion, began the 250-lap classic in 11th place driving his No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet. Meanwhile, Earnhardt Jr. was in 26th place in his white No. 3 Bass Pro Shops machine.
The 250 laps on the abrasive track surface demanded careful tire management from both drivers, especially before the break. Numerous caution flags, including one for a car that flipped into Turn 3, resulted in a red flag, slowing the running and prompting NASCAR officials to reschedule the planned break at lap 125 to lap 100.
At this point, Kvapil had advanced to eighth place, and Earnhardt Jr. had climbed to 12th in the rundown. With both cars taking tires and adjustments for the final 150-lap run, NASCAR officials assured that additional red-flag stoppages would be added if there were fuel concerns.
At lap 212, a caution was issued for an incident on the track, leading to a fuel stop and setting up a 38-lap shootout to the end. On the final restart of the night, Kvapil claimed the third spot, while Earnhardt Jr. reached eighth place.
Kvapil’s impressive run was highlighted by a late charge towards the front, ultimately securing a third-place finish. On the other hand, Earnhardt Jr. made his way to eighth place just nine laps from the checkered flag.
“We got lucky right as the caution came out,” Kvapil expressed. “On the restart (where he took the lead), I got the top line rolling and had momentum. I couldn’t run the bottom at the end, was just too tight all day. I got a good start, had more speed. He (Brown) barely got by us on one of the runs and he chose the top to block my runs. I fell back to third. We were better than the 10 car (Honeycutt), but I couldn’t make any moves on him. Track isn’t wide enough. It was a good day overall. I should have finished second and had a shot to win it, but I’m happy with the result.”
The top line played a crucial role for Kvapil and the Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet throughout the race. “I was worried at the beginning of the race,” he said. “We were struggling. Coming through the field when we got to third or fourth, but getting those early and getting to the outside produced a good finish for us.”
Earnhardt Jr. reflected on the eighth-place finish, highlighting the need to improve his qualifying performance to secure better starting positions in future races. “Everyone was running as hard as they could there at the end, and everyone in the top five was pretty even. It turned out to be really good,” he expressed.
Kvapil finished third, Brown led Honeycutt and Kvapil to the checkered, with Berry and defending race winner Brenden Queen rounding out the top five. The race showcased spirited performances and offered a thrilling spectacle for fans.
Olivia Carter revs up excitement in the world of NASCAR. As a dedicated motorsports enthusiast, she covers race results, driver profiles, and the latest developments in the NASCAR world, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.