The gap between Matt Craig and Carson Kvapil in the CARS Super Late Model Tour point standings tightened on Saturday evening.
Taking advantage of an off evening from Craig, Kvapil led the final 60 laps of Saturday’s feature at Motor Mile Speedway to pick up his third victory on the 2021 season.
A victory for Kvapil was a much needed change of pace for him after he was unable to produce winning results outside of the East Coast in his own equipment.
“We’ve really struggled with our car the last two months,” Kvapil said. “Our two-week trip in Wisconsin was honestly pretty bad compared to what we should be doing. We came home and made sure everything was straight but didn’t find anything wrong, so hopefully we tighten the points up more in the next race.”
Kvapil and Craig have separated themselves as the two most efficient drivers in a small full-time CARS Super Late Model Tour field.
The duo opened the year in thrilling fashion with Kvapil edging Craig in a photo finish at Hickory Motor Speedway before leading wire-to-wire in the North vs. South SLM Shootout 100 at Fairgrounds Speedway.
A blown engine for Kvapil at Jennerstown Speedway enabled Craig to take the points lead before finally scoring his first CARS Tour victory in 2021 during the series’ return to Hickory for the Throwback 276.
Craig was on pace to even Kvapil in victories on Saturday until he was forced to give up the lead at the Lap 40 competition caution so he could tend to an ill-handling car.
“The car got really free on us after 30 laps,” Craig said. “We came down and pitted, worked on it and made the car a little bit better. We got back to third so it wasn’t all that bad.”
Kvapil himself pondered whether or not to follow Craig into the pits after enduring struggles of his own but credited a solid launch on the only restart of the evening for giving him a comfortable advantage out front.
Despite picking up his third win with relative ease, Kvapil knows that lucky breaks are never a certainty and that he and his team has to keep matching the production and effort of Craig if they want to hoist a trophy at South Boston Speedway.
“We have to work harder [than Craig],” Kvapil said. “I respect Matt a lot and those guys work very hard every week. We’re just going to have to step our game up and bring out the best piece we can for these final two races.”
Only two races remain for Kvapil to build off the momentum from his Motor Mile victory and deny Craig the opportunity of winning three consecutive CARS Super Late Model Tour titles.
1. Carson Kvapil
2. Jake Garcia
3. Matt Craig
4. Giovanni Bromante
5. Jeff Batten
6. Kyle Plott
7. Justin Crider
8. Austin MacDonald
9. Michael Ritch
10. Jake Keaton
11. Grant Enfinger