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Carson Kvapil outduels Connor Hall for Icebreaker win

Lapped traffic didn’t do him any favors but Carson Kvapil held off a hard charging Connor Hall to win the Late Model Stock Icebreaker at Florence Motor Speedway.

Hall, in his debut for Nelson Motorsports, took second from a dominant Casey Kelley, and started marching closer towards the JR Motorsports No. 8 as it caught several side-by-side battles in the back half of the field.


Kvapil gave credit to spotter Brett Edwards in Victory Lane but also the whole team given the disaster of a race the Icebreaker was last year for both Kvapil and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“It’s awesome,” Kvapil said. “After last year’s run, it was good to have a good run, much less a win. I felt like we made gains on it all weekend. Maybe we didn’t have the speed some other cars had but it drove really good.”

The final 10 laps were dramatic.

“Spotter did work up there,” Kvapil said. “It was really hairy. I didn’t know what to do coming across so many cars side by side. But was really fortunate to have a good car and we had just enough of a lead over (Hall) that I could be patient and pick my spots.”

Hall, the reigning NASCAR Weekly Series champion, just ran out of time and maybe could have used a little more help but was more than pleased with his debut effort driving the iconic No. 22 for Barry Nelson.

“With 20 to go, I realized Carson was going to have the car to beat,” Hall said. “Once we got by (Kelley) for second, we were pretty much matching lap times until he got to traffic. If I had maybe one more lap or more traffic I would have had a shot.

“I drove it pretty deep on that last corner but not hard enough that I would have made a mistake. Really pleased to finish second in, with just a test, our first race together. We’re going to do some special things together this year.”

Kelley led the most laps and just feels like the caution with 20 to go bit him. Kvapil passed him on the ensuing restart and he nearly faded to fourth with Earnhardt pressuring him in the closing laps.

“I just wanted to stay up front and control the race,” Kelley said. “I was hoping for no cautions and try to maintain the gap. Third is still a really good race for us against a field this tough.”

Earnhardt qualified 13th and he believes that was the only thing really holding him back from chasing down the leaders. He had a long way to go to get to the podium and nearly got it there.

“With 20 to go, I was trying to do everything I could to park it on this front straightaway but just came up a little bit short,” Earnhardt said. “Thankful we got to running better we weren’t running as well the last couple of times we raced out here.

“We tested and worked really hard. Practice today and worked really hard. It’s a tough crowd and a lot of tough racing. I never have a bad time here. I had a blast and just thankful to be running a little better.”

Earnhardt runs this car three or four times a year and that’s the biggest hurdle for him to overcome after spending so much time away.

“You so badly want to win races but it’s such a tough crowd and when you don’t do it every week, that really shows up in qualifying,” Earnhardt said. “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong or need to do differently. Like anything else, you just need to do it more to be good at it.

“To come here and run 3-4 weeks in a single week, you can’t expect to win a lot races against all the guys who do this every week.”

Florence Motor Speedway
February 10 2024

  1. Carson Kvapil
  2. Connor Hall
  3. Casey Kelley
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr
  5. Sam Yarbrough
  6. Kade Brown
  7. Jacob Heafner
  8. Mason Diaz
  9. Matthew Gould
  10. Justin Hicks
  11. Darren Krantz Jr
  12. Doug Barnes Jr
  13. Brandon Pierce
  14. Lanie Buice
  15. Adam McCumbee
  16. Riley Gentry
  17. Landon Huffman
  18. Strom Altman
  19. Alex Meggs
  20. Bryant Barnhill
  21. Donovan Strauss
  22. TJ Decaire
  23. Tyler Matthews
  24. Truett Miranda
  25. David Roberts
  26. Matt Cox
  27. Zack Miracle
  28. Colby Higgins
  29. Cody Kelley
  30. Jamie Weatherford
  31. Alex Hicks
  32. Blayne Harrison

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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