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Kaden Honeycutt Wins Orange Krush 200 at Orange County Speedway

Kaden Honeycutt held off Deac McCaskill on Friday night to win the Rogers Heating & Cooling Orange Krush 200 at Orange County Speedway and take home the $15,000 first-place prize.

It’s a big win for one of the top drivers in recent years in Late Model Stock competition who was hungry for a win. There were plenty of strong showings in 2023, including runner-up finishes in the South Carolina 400 at Florence Motor Speedway and the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park to close out the season.

However, going winless in the Late Model Stocks pushed Honeycutt to get back to victory lane, and he accomplished that on Friday evening.

“I needed this so bad,” Honeycutt told Racing America. “Just for myself and my family. I haven’t won a Late Model Stock race, honestly, since 2022 at Ace. I needed this so bad for confidence and also for these guys. Knowing we can do this on a week-to-week basis, especially in CARS since they’re coming back here in April. We’ll have a really good baseline to go off of.”

Honeycutt inherited the lead during the race’s halfway break at lap 100. The top eight drivers took part in a redraw during the intermission, and Honeycutt moved from second in the running order to first.

It was only one position on the scoreboard, but that one spot paid huge dividends on the restart that followed and the ensuing 100 laps.

“I knew the lane choice would be huge,” said Honeycutt. “If I had drawn a two, it would be extremely hard to get the lead from the bottom. To be able to have lane choice and lead the rest of the trace was definitely huge, for sure.”

While the redraw gave him the lead, Honeycutt had to hold off one of the best at Orange County in Deac McCaskill to walk away with the win. It was a hard-fought battle with a little bit of contact, but ultimately Honeycutt escaped McCaskill’s grasp and pulled away to win by nearly a second.

“He ran me so clean,” said Honeycutt of McCaskill. “I appreciate that. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win, right? So I wasn’t mad at a little bit of fender damage. It was just an awesome race. I respect him so much. He’s probably one of the best here at Orange County, hands down. I’d put him over myself, honestly. It was such an awesome race.

“I knew once I was able to clear him and get a car length or so that I could run my own line. It took away his air, especially down on the bottom in one and two to have the drive off so I could pull away like I was able to at the end. We’ll come back and hopefully have the same battle on April 20 and put on another show like we did tonight.”

McCaskill echoed the importance of that track position, saying he didn’t have quite enough muscle to pass Honeycutt.

“I was a little too free on exit to get that good run on him,” said McCaskill. “I could get under him but I was just squeezing in that gas and trying not to bust the rear tires loose. He was up top with that momentum. I’ve been on both sides. It’s really tough to pass. If I had been in front of him, it would have been hard for him to pass me as well. Just track position kind of cost us there.”

McCaskill still offered heaps of praise for Honeycutt following the driver’s winning effort.

“Hats off to Kaden. He gets around here really good. He reminds me of the first time Josh Berry came here. Those guys adapted to it really well. People that can do that, they’re race car drivers. Kaden has his name out there, but I hope he can land something really big. He’s working hard at it and he’s a heck of a wheelman.”

The redraw also played a significant role in the race for the halfway leader, Bobby McCarty. McCarty qualified on the pole and paced the field for the first 100 laps, but faced the misfortune of drawing the number eight spot for the restart.

“Just my luck, of course,” said McCarty. “I knew when I walked up there I was going to draw the eight. Sure enough, I did. I got the eight.

“I know Bobby was probably a little better than us tonight,” said Honeycutt. “I have a feeling we’ll still need some work to do to be a little bit better. We can work off of this and know what to do.”

Still, McCarty drove his way to a podium finish, taking the third position in the final rundown.

“I ran the top two down, I just burned it up trying to get to them,” said McCarty. “I couldn’t do nothing with them. A really good day for R&S Race Cars, we had three in the top three.”

The Orange Krush 200 benefitted the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, and featured Burton’s return to on-track competition alongside his son, Jeb. Jeb finished sixth, while Ward was 15th in the 23-car field.

-Photo credit: Will Bellamy, Racing America

ROGERS HEATING & COOLING ORANGE KRUSH 200 RESULTS

Fin No Driver Laps Diff
1 17 Kaden Honeycutt 200
2 08 Deac McCaskill 200 0.947
3 6 Bobby McCarty 200 1.434
4 23 Kade Brown 200 3.118
5 01 Camden Gullie 200 6.379
6 27 Jeb Burton 200 6.779
7 77W Trevor Ward 200 8.324
8 06 Terry Dease 200 10.528
9 51 Timothy Peters 200 10.754
10 00 Chase Burrow 200 11.081
11 87 Mike Looney 200 11.388
12 77S Blake Stallings 200 13.593
13 15C Logan Clark 200 13.901
14 15P Stacy Puryear 199 1 Lap
15 2 Ward Burton 199 1 Lap
16 19 Jeremy Mayfield 199 1 Lap
17 31 Andrew Patterson 197 3 Laps
18 95 Sam Yarbrough 187 13 Laps
19 29 Brent Crews 164 36 Laps
20 04 Ronnie Bassett, Jr. 152 48 Laps
21 82 Barry Beggarly 134 66 Laps
22 75 Landon Huffman 114 86 Laps
23 11 Buddy Isles, Jr. 77 123 Laps
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