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Carson Kvapil impressed in NASCAR Xfinity debut

The two-time CARS Tour champion validated a lot of opinions about his talents

Carson Kvapil can pick apart the nuances of his debut NASCAR Xfinity Series appearance but largely feels like it was mission accomplished on April 6 at Martinsville Speedway.

He finished fourth, after starting in P12, and ran inside the top-10 throughout the entire race. More important than the results, was that Kvapil ran a clean race, and came away with the respect of his peers who all said they enjoyed racing with him.

“Yeah, I mean, you don’t want to go out there and blast five guys out of the way and piss people off,” Kvapil told Sportsnaut on Saturday before the CARS Tour race at New River All American Speedway. “Really, I think the only body panel they needed to replace was the front bumper and that was from everyone checking up.

“The car was in good condition and hopefully got some respect from the racers out there. I just wanted to learn from those guys and hopefully we can get some more races to do it some more.”

The biggest hurdle for Kvapil to overcome, similar to Bubba Pollard in the car the week before, was pit stops. Some of it was Kvapil on his limited live pit road experience and some of it was from a part-time JR Motorsports crew.

It cost him track position all race.

“Andrew (Overstreet, Chevrolet) had the thing super tuned for sure,” Kvapil said. “It was a top-five car throughout the entire race. We just lost five to nine positions on every pit stop and that put us in a hole to be third and come out ninth.

“I would spend the next run just trying to get back where I was but I also learned a lot from those situations and about the car.”

Kvapil has made a Truck Series start and several ARCA platform appearances as well, and said it wasn’t too tremendously different than the Late Model Stock Car that he has raced the past three years. The biggest difference was the Goodyear radial tire used in NASCAR compared to the Hoosier bias plies used in Late Models.  

“I thought it raced pretty good,” Kvapil said. “I mean, the tires are the biggest difference to me. It just seems like it’s such a narrow grip range where the, these bias-ply tires we’re running on Late Model are kind of soft and squishy and you can lean on ’em a little bit.

“But I thought the racing was good. We passed a lot of cars and I enjoyed how they drove. They had a little more power than these Late Models but they feel slower through the corner too.”

He impressed car owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. too.

“He’s got this incredible temperament, he’s level all the time,” Earnhardt said. “Like not once did he show any nerves or anxiety over this being too big or too heavy. Can’t seem to really rattle him. I asked him in the middle of the race what he thought, he’s like ‘Pretty simple, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.'”

Earnhardt said Kvapil validated what everyone felt about him in the first place.

“He’s got such good racecraft, better racecraft than probably 80 percent of the field,” he said. “He’s just mature… kids grown up in it, works on cars all day, every day. Everything about his life every minute is racing.”

Kvapil, the son of 2003 Truck Series champion Travis, doesn’t have any additional starts confirmed but is also racing full-time in the CARS Tour where he is seeking a third consecutive championship, also for JR Motorsports.

The company is working towards securing the funding to race full-time in NASCAR in 2025.

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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