HUNTER THOMAS TheFourthTurn.com
TIMMONSVILLE, SC – Kade Brown dominated late at Florence Motor Speedway and held off Kaden Honeycutt to win the South Carolina 400 Saturday night.
Brown, a native of Denver, North Carolina, entered Florence after a winning streak and a track championship at Hickory Motor Speedway. He’s no stranger to victories at the Timmonsville short track; However, on Saturday night he held off the most talented drivers in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock to win the biggest race of his career. Tire management is the name of the game at Florence Motor Speedway, as is track position. Brown ran strong early in the race and prepared for a ride in the second half of the event.
“In the first 100 laps I felt like we were using too many tires, but we knew we wanted that clean air and keep that front the whole time before the next stent and just keep track position because that we know it’s important here,” Brown said. “That’s exactly what we did. They were closing the gap at the bottom, we couldn’t go down, so from the start we just marched forward and kept a consistent pace throughout the race, and It paid off 100 percent.”
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Brown fought hard against Honeycutt and Carson Kvapil in the final rounds. At one point, Honeycutt pushed Brown to take the top spot, but the favor was quickly returned. Overall it was a good battle at the front with the tough racing with Brown prevailing to win the prestigious event. The victory comes in his first season competing for Matt Piercy Racing.
“It was the next level,” Brown said. “Honeycut was going to do what they had to do to win, and we were going to do whatever we had to do…I expected it, I was ready for it, and I was also ready to give it back.”
Honeycutt, who finished second, said: “I tried to get him (Brown) up the track, but I definitely wasn’t going to push him away. I wanted to give him a path, and I did, but he just didn’t expect me to bump into him. We made contact, and he came back to me in (round) 3 and used me, which I respect – I have no problem with that because I started.
Honeycutt competes in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but when given the opportunity, he continues to race at the local level. Even though he didn’t make it, second place was a good run for him.
“My guys did an incredible job all weekend,” Honeycutt said. “I felt like we weren’t the best, but then we got into the race and we realized we were actually pretty good. I just needed more momentum at the end. I used too much of my stuff trying to get there to catch Kade. It’s like that.”
Carson Kvapil was in the lead throughout the race and in the final laps he pressured Brown and Honeycutt for the top two spots. Kvapil finished third, but at one point he worked his way to the lead, but Brown was so much faster down the track. As the laps passed, Kvapil had second place in his sights, but Honeycutt prevented Kvapil from gaining ground on the high side of the track.
“We took the lead on that restart with Kade (Brown),” said Kvapil, 2023 CARS Tour champion. “I knew our stuff wasn’t good at the bottom. I just couldn’t pull on the low. I struggled all night. Once I got to the top I was able to get some momentum and pinch it. I think if that was the case, would have gone green, we would have had a chance to win. He had a good car, he was allowed but he was trying to pass us being at the bottom, he wasn’t going to pass us. On the restart he barely beat me to the finish line in one laps, and the yellow came out, so they went for the top and I was just screwed.
“I was basically just waiting to get back to the top, and I got to the top behind the 10 (Kaden Honeycut). This place, there’s some bumps and stuff around, where you can’t get too high in some places, and around the corner, I really couldn’t go any higher. You take off with the bumps. We did our best. We had a good race. I’m happy to finish the season with a good result for the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. »
Josh Berry, racing for Kevin Harvick, Inc., with NASCAR Cup Series crew chief Rodney Childers at the controls, finished fourth. Berry absolutely dominated the first half of the race.
Brenden “Buttebean” Queen rounds out the top five.
Landon S. Huffman, Jacob Heafner, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr., Connor Zilisch and Carter Langley rounded out the top 10.
Before the Late Model portion of the event takes place, the Street Stocks and Mini Stocks are on the track. Bobbie Tumbleston of Summerville triumphed in a battle with Ricky Locklair Jr. of Darlington to win the Street Stock race. AJ Sanders won the Mini Stock feature.
On Friday, Connor Zillisch won the Charger, Austin Green won in Super Trucks, Jacob Stanton dominated the Legend Cars and Brexton Busch, who is the son of NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, won the Bandoleros main event .