Carson Kvapil has become one of the top rising stars in all of short track racing. The recently turned sixteen-year-old has won the last two Open Outlaw Kart track championships at Millbridge Speedway (NC) and is one of the perennial favorites going into Wednesday night’s QRC Speed51 Open.
Kvapil’s accolades don’t stop there. He won in his ARCA Midwest Tour debut at Golden Sands Speedway last August, becoming the second-youngest driver to win in the history of the famed tour. He backed it up with a TUNDRA Super Late Model Series win in their season finale at Dells Raceway Park.
He called into Speed51.com’s "The Morning Bullring" to talk about his busy week, which includes the Speed51 Open and ARCA Midwest Tour races at Jefferson Speedway on Saturday and Wisconsin International Raceway on Memorial Day for the Triple 50’s.
Kvapil heads into Wednesday’s Speed51 Open with momentum after picking up a win on Sunday at Mountain Creek Speedway (NC) in the Clash at the Creek in a brand new car. He says he is confident he can end Wednesday night in victory lane against stout competition.
“I think we’re quite a bit ready,” Kvapil told Speed51.com. “We just raced at Mountain Creek yesterday and we ended up winning that with a brand new car that we finished the morning of. I think we’ll have a good car, we’ll tune on it. We don’t even have the decals on the car right now, so we’ll have to get those so hopefully it won’t look mismatched.”
Kvapil started racing at Millbridge Speedway four years ago and has worked his way to the Open Class, where he is the two-time defending track champion in the division. He enjoys racing at the Salisbury, North Carolina track because of the speed and how quickly things happen.
“We started racing there four years ago in the smaller division and I’ve worked my way up,” he said. “I really like it. The racing’s hard, you got to be quick. It’s not slow and the reaction time, you have none of that. I like it because of how quick it is.”
After select starts one year ago that included wins in the ARCA Midwest Tour and TUNDRA Super Late Model Series, he has expanded his Super Late Model schedule and will compete in the full Midwest Tour season and in other events in the Midwest Tour in 2019 with Brad Mannstedt. He will also compete at Millbridge Speedway throughout the summer in his Outlaw Kart.
With the vast difference between an Outlaw Kart and a Super Late Model, Kvapil admits switching back and forth presents its share of challenges. With competing in both cars within a week, making the switch will set the tone for how he does.
“It’s kind of hard to switch between the Outlaw Kart and the Super Late Model,” he said. “In the Super Late Model, you've got to lift and let the car do the work and not overdrive it, and in the Outlaw Kart if you don’t drive it hard enough, you’re not going to be fast. It’s hard to slow down, I’m not used to slowing down to get into different cars.”
He says the draw to dirt racing is all the options that are presented to a driver when finding speed. While asphalt requires a driver maintain consistency lap after lap, dirt allows him to experiment around the track on the fly to find speed.
“The Super Late Model, you got to be on your marks, you got to hit your point every single time to be fast. That’s kind of hard, coming from a dirt background to where if you’re not fast on the bottom line, you can go to the wall and run. You don’t stay committed to one line because you can switch it up. You can run the bottom, or the middle, or the top and you can do a bunch of things in dirt racing when you can’t in asphalt.”
While competing in the Midwest and in North Carolina, the Mooresville High School sophomore balances his racing career with schoolwork. He admits it can be a struggle at times, but believes it will all be worth it in the end.
“It’s pretty tough on me because there’s a lot of schoolwork that I have with being in tenth grade. Then I got to work on the car all day once I get out of school. Usually we’re racing on the weekends, so I don’t really have time to do anything. This week, every day after school I went and worked on the car until midnight, 1 a.m. Then wake up and do more work.”
All of Carson Kvapil's racing endeavors this week can be watched live on Speed51. Click here to order your pay-per-view ticket for the QRC Speed51 Open at Millbridge Speedway on May 21-22. Click here to become a member of the Speed51 Network and watch this weekend's ARCA Midwest Tour races from Jefferson Speedway and Wisconsin International Raceway live.
Click here to watch an on-demand broadcast of Monday's "The Morning Bullring" to see Kvapil's full interview as well as the rest of our show.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI) - Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo