Carson Kvapil picks up the win at Thunder Road 2023

Published 9:47 am Sunday, July 2, 2023

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Carson Kvapil got a good jump on a restart with 21 laps to go and sped away to a 1.7-second win over Bobby McCarty in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 Saturday night at South Boston Speedway.

However, the results of the race are unofficial pending review of post-race technical inspection. A decision on the official results is expected this coming week.

Saturday night’s Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway was the first race of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown which also includes the Hampton Heat 200 on July 22 at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway, and the September 23 ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.

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If Kvapil is officially declared the winner of the race, he will earn $10,750. In addition to the $10,000 winner’s prize, he would earn a $500 award from Sunoco/Sparks Oil Company for the race’s halfway leader award and a $250 prize from Southside Disposal that goes to the race leader at the end of the third stage of the race.

“It’s awesome, it’s a big deal,” the Mooresville, North Carolina resident said of his apparent win. “I struggled here last year in this race, so to come back and rebound with a win is a big confidence booster going into Langley and Martinsville. They are all very hard races to run well in.”

Kvapil led 155 laps of the 200-lap race, taking the lead from pole winner Brenden Queen on the 46th lap and holding the top spot the rest of the race. The Chesapeake resident led the first 45 circuits and gave Kvapil a tough battle for 135 laps before McCarty, of Madison, North Carolina and Landon Huffman of Claremont, North Carolina rallied to try to contend for the win.

McCarty and Huffman made their presence felt but Kvapil was able to open up his lead when McCarty and Huffman began battling for second place. The pair made a run at Kvapil on the race’s final restart, but Kvapil had enough speed to fend off the challengers.

“We had a good car,” remarked McCarty who won this race in 2021. “This is a back-up car we don’t run that much. There are a couple of things that are different on this car compared to our primary car. The window with this car is really small, so to be “off” and finish second is a good feeling.”

Huffman finished third, Queen finished fourth and Trevor Ward of Winston-Salem, North Carolina rounded out the top five finishers.

“We felt like we had to over-adjust to beat the eight (Kvapil),” Queen explained. “We weren’t going to beat him like we were. We took a swing at it and went a little bit too far.”

If Queen’s fourth-place finish stands he will earn the Ronnie’s Auto Body Pole Award which is worth $250 and a $250 award from GutterworX for leading the race at the end of the first stage.

Landon Pembelton of Amelia, Jacob Borst of Elon, North Carolina, Mason Bailey of Richmond, Logan Clark of Mechanicsville and Carter Langley of Zebulon, North Carolina rounded out the top 10 finishers.

The 200-lap Sentara Health Late Model Stock Car Division race appeared to produce a new South Boston Speedway points leader. Peyton Sellers of Danville entered the race with a five-point lead over Langley. However, Sellers’ car sustained heavy damage in an early-race mishap, and he lost many laps while his team worked to make repairs sufficient enough to get him back into the race.

Of the race which took With Langley finishing 10th and Sellers finishing 19th it appears Langley can emerge as the points leader if the difference of nine finishing positions remains after the race results are declared official.
The 200-lap race was slowed by seven cautions that consumed a total of 51 laps. There were four red flags.
Thirty-five cars took the green flag for the start of the race that took two hours, 11 minutes and 31 seconds to complete.

Post-Race Fireworks, Pre-Race Festivities at Thunder Road

During Saturday night’s showcase event fans were treated to one of the region’s biggest and most dazzling Fourth of July fireworks shows immediately following the last race of the night. Pre-race Ceremonies powered by Hitachi Energy featured a flyover of vintage military aircraft piloted by members of the Raleigh, North Carolina-based Bandit Flight Team.

The Raleigh, North Carolina-based Bandit Flight Team made a pass over the speedway near the conclusion of the National Anthem and returned a couple of minutes later for an additional demonstration prior to the start of the first race of the night.

Fans were also able to participate in an Autograph Session powered by Hitachi Energy prior to the start of the night’s racing action during which they had an opportunity to meet the drivers and see the cars up close.