Kvapil Capitalizes On Gray’s Misfortune At Millbridge
Though Gray led from the start, surging around Kvapil from the outside pole to take command on the first lap, Kvapil never lost touch with the NHRA Pro Stock regular, holding station within one second of the top spot for most of the 20-lap distance.
When Gray got high off turn two with 15 laps complete and his kart began tumbling, Kvapil’s No. 35 CorvetteParts.net mini outlaw inherited the point and the die was cast.
“The only thing that was going through my head is, ‘He’s up in the air, so I need to get out of the way and not be involved in this,’” Kvapil said in Race City Steel victory lane. “Once we got the lead, the kart handled really well on the top and I could hook the power up pretty easily.”
Once Kvapil got the lead, it appeared to be game-set-match, but a final incident with three laps left set up one more restart, after Karsyn Elledge got sideways in turn four and collected Justin Haley as the two battled inside the top five.
Buddy Wise took a look to the bottom on Kvapil when the race went green for the final time, but to no avail, as Kvapil sprinted off to his fourth-career Open win at Millbridge and first of the season by 1.050 seconds.
“I wasn’t really nervous on the last restart,” Kvapil explained. “I had seen him on the restart before, and had a pretty good idea of where he was going to go … so I just tried to squeeze him down so he couldn’t get under me and we led it from there.”
Behind the front duo, Nick O’Dell notched a career-best Wednesday night finish in the Open class, followed by Hickory Motor Speedway late model points leader Ryan Millington and Elledge.
Meanwhile, Gray was left wondering what might have been, after a sure-fire second win of the season at the sixth-mile slipped through his fingertips and turned into a DNF in 10th.
“This kart was awesome tonight … probably the best mini outlaw I’ve ever driven (at Millbridge),” Gray lamented. “Greg Price and everyone who helped work on it tonight had this thing ripping (around the top).”
“I did my job for a little bit more than half the race … I don’t know. When I realized I had a pretty good lead, I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll just ride,’ but just caught a rut in the middle of turn two. I didn’t think anything was happening until it dropped off the side … and I was along for the ride at that point. It’s a bummer, but we’ll be back.”
Notably, Gray was running Nick Hoffman’s No. 2 to accrue points for the current track points leader, who was at Eldora Speedway Wednesday in preparation for the Dirt Late Model Dream.
Also absent were second-place points man Ethan Mitchell, who is putting his outlaw kart racing on hold to race a midget in Illinois this summer for car owner Steve Reynolds, and three-time track champion Tom Hubert, who is out of the car for three months with a broken hand.
Subbing for Tyler Letarte, Jarsocrak came home second ahead of Jordyn Bregoli, Stanley Hayes and Caden Kvapil.In other racing, Brent Crews scored his first-career Wednesday night Intermediate class win, trading sliders with Brandon Jarsocrak on laps 12 and 13 of the 20-lap main before driving away on the 14th round to a big victory.
Class points leader Ryan Israel suffered a shock DNF after his motor blew on lap two, relegating him to 11th.
Trevor Cline (Box Stock) and Cassidy Keitt (Beginner Box Stock) each won their fifth Wednesday series features of the year in their respective classes, leading from start to finish.
Millbridge Speedway’s Wednesday night mini outlaw kart series returns to action on June 21.