Carson Kvapil has spent years racing and winning around North Carolina in the Outlaw Kart ranks, but has spent most of his time behind the wheel of a Late Model in his family’s home state of Wisconsin with the exception of three CARS Late Model Stock Tour starts. This weekend, he makes his debut with the Super Late Model portion of the CARS Tour in the Throwback 276 at Hickory Motor Speedway with a new team and a throwback scheme to one of Wisconsin’s best drivers.
The 15-year-old has teamed up with GMS Racing for his Super Late Model debut in North Carolina. The Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist has thrown it back to the driver that bears its name. He will pay tribute to Alan Kulwicki with the Quincy Steakhouse scheme he ran during his rookie season in the NASCAR Cup Series. He tells Speed51 how they came up with the scheme that will be used this weekend.
“Since I’m in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program, I thought it would be good to do an Alan Kulwicki throwback scheme,” Kvapil told Speed51.com. “We thought it was also fitting because the No. 35 is the number I normally run and he ran that number with that scheme. We thought about it and that was the idea for it.”
It was a chance meeting with GMS President Mike Beam that got the ball rolling on Kvapil’s opportunity to race with GMS Racing. GMS and Jr. Motorsports joined forces to field the Driver’s Edge Development Program for the 2019 season, while GMS has fielded entries for Bronson Butcher and Toni Bredinger in Super Late Model events.
“My dad, me, and Mike Beam randomly met at a restaurant,” he said. “We weren’t planning it or nothing and he mentioned something about coming in and talking to him about this driver development program and running a car for them. It just came out of the blue, really.”
Having spent 2019 racing Super Late Models with the ARCA Midwest Tour in Wisconsin, it will also be his first Late Model start of the year in North Carolina and his first start at Hickory in touring series competition. He feels like he will be able to take what he has learned in the upper Midwest and apply it this weekend in the Tar Heel State. While some of the tracks may be similar to Hickory, he says the cars feel different.
“I can apply some of the basics to running at Hickory,” he said. “In Wisconsin, the tracks are a little smaller and they’re worn out about the same, Hickory’s pretty bad. The cars are a little different, we tested GMS’s car once before and I thought it felt really different than what I’m used to up there. I think we’ll adapt well and do pretty good.”
He heads into his second of three scheduled races in a six-day span confident he can compete for a win in his CARS Super Late Model debut. With 138 laps to decide who will end the race in victory lane, he knows what it will take to win in what has become the biggest standalone CARS Super Late Model Tour race on the schedule.
“A really fast car, a good driver, and really good crew chiefing really,” he said. “I think we have a shot to do it, but we’ll just have to see.”
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN/MI) – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: GMS Racing