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CARS Late Model Stock Tour

Kaden Honeycutt’s Varied Schedule Runs Through Coastal

Andy Marquis

Kaden Honeycutt is looking forward to returning to New River All-American Speedway for the second time in his career in Saturday night’s 125-lap race for the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Late Model Stock Tour.

Honeycutt, 20, from Aledo, Texas, finished ninth in last year’s CARS Tour race at New River after starting 17th while driving for Barry Nelson.  This season, he is paired up with Mike Darne in the CARS Tour while also racing part-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for a rotation of different teams.

“We’ve been in contention to win every race,” Honeycutt said.  “It’s just a matter of everything needing to fall into place.  Going to a new chassis with [Forrest] Reynolds, we’ve been very good everywhere we’ve gone.  We just need everything to fall into place the way it needs to be.  We’re having to go to a track we haven’t tested at or raced at, so it will be difficult to get it off the rip, but everywhere we’ve gone, we’ve had good baselines and been able to compete with Lee Pulliam Performance and JR Motorsports.”

While Darne set up the car that Rusty Daniels has driven to five wins in 2023, the Mike Darne Racing team itself has not competed at New River since the Battle of the Stars in March – a race won by Lee Pulliam Performance driver Brenden “Butterbean” Queen.  JR Motorsports has also won at New River with Josh Berry, and Chad Bryant’s racing team was victorious in last year’s CARS Tour race with Connor Hall.

Honeycutt, who is winless on the season but has six top-five finishes, expects to once again be in contention at the 4/10-mile track.

“Hopefully we’ll be in the winner’s circle,” Honeycutt stated.  “We don’t expect anything less than winning.  That’s all we’re trying to do.  [Winning] would be huge, especially since I haven’t won since Ace [Speedway] last year.  We’ve been really close.  It would mean a whole lot to Mike [Darne] for sure, and for me and Jason [Stanley] as well.”

The key to winning on Saturday night will be tire management.

New River All-American Speedway’s gritty track surface increases tire degradation at a faster rate than almost any other track on the CARS Tour schedule.  For the drivers, that will mean having to conserve their tires in order to be in contention at the end of 125 green flag laps.

“I enjoy the track,” Honeycutt explained.  “It’s different, and it’s definitely a race you have to manage.  In NASCAR, you go 100 percent the entire run.  With the experience I’ve had at New River, it’s a place that’s like Florence [in South Carolina.  You take the same approach, be as easy as you can, but also run a decent pace so you can be up front.”

In most races, the goal is to get out front and stay out front, but New River will require a more methodical approach, and Honeycutt does not believe track position will be as important as it is at other venues.

“I think it will be the same as last year,” Honeycutt continued.  “There will be a mixture of people who come and go pretty quickly, based on how their racecar is when it’s time to go.”

Honeycutt began racing in Bandoleros when he was six years old, following in the footsteps of his father, Kiby Honeycutt.  From there, he moved up to Legend Cars when he was 12, then ran part-time in the ARCA Menards Series at the age of 15 before moving to the CARS Tour.  Throughout the season, driving for a variety of teams, Honeycutt has emerged as one of the hottest prospects in racing.

“I’ve been very thankful for the opportunity that I’ve had and been able to make the best with what I’ve been given,” Honeycutt remarked.  “Everything helps.  Being able to race NASCAR every week is a dream I’m going to follow and the CARS Tour is a step toward that.  I’m just thankful for every chance I’ve gotten, and got to keep on going with what we’re going with.”

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Marquis comes from St. Charles, Maryland and has a widespread background in journalism, having covered politics in Washington and Maryland as well as nearly every form of auto racing, including NASCAR, IndyCar, AMA Motocross and IHRA Drag Racing. Now living near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, Marquis covers Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models in the Carolinas and Virginia.

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