Honeycutt Grinds Out A Top 10 At Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Kaden Honeycutt salvaged a gritty top-10 finish during Friday night’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway despite several mid-race skirmishes.

After making contact with Daniel Dye in turn two and subsequently spinning on lap 133, then a shunt with Bret Holmes 25 laps later that collected Justin Carroll, Honeycutt still persevered to a ninth-place finish in the No. 45 Chevrolet Accessories Silverado RST for Niece Motorsports.

The effort marked Honeycutt’s second top-10 finish in three Truck Series starts this season, though it didn’t come without its challenges and chaos.

After collecting points in both stages, highlighted by a top-five finish in the second 50-lap segment, Honeycutt fell down the running order after the incident with Dye, which caused him to clip the inside curb in turn two and loop his truck on corner exit. The setback put the 20-year-old at the tail of the field.

“Going down into (turn) three, I was trying to make the move on the [No.] 7 [of Sammy Smith] to go three wide and we just all came together,” Honeycutt explained after the race. “That jumbled us back a little bit, and we lost some ground [to] the 18 [Tyler Ankrum] and some of the other ones that we were going to be [racing around]. Then I got back to him, and we moved each other, so that lost us another two seconds.

“And then down in (turns) one and two, I got down to the 43 and I barely moved him up … but he just came right back down just a little bit, and I nicked the curb and spun myself out. I didn’t do a very good job there on recovering. We had a really good truck, got stage points. I thought we had a great truck.”

Honeycutt used that strong truck to creep back up the leaderboard, despite the incident with Holmes and Carroll with 42 laps left where the Willow Park, Texas, driver admitted he “just missed the braking point.”

“That one was all on me,” Honeycutt admitted.

With bungee cords holding the battered hood of his race truck in place, however, Honeycutt avoided the additional mayhem of three cautions inside the final 35 laps to come home ninth at the end of the night.


The nose damage on Kaden Honeycutt's truck Friday at Martinsville Speedway. (Jacob Seelman/RFD photo)


It gives him an average finish – appropriately – of ninth in his three starts this season, after runs of sixth at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway in February and 12th at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in March.

“We had a great truck, had really good turn and drive off, and I feel like we just needed to get the track position like we had in stage two … but we lost all that track position [at the] beginning of stage three,” said Honeycutt, who was on the same pit strategy as eventual winner Christian Eckes. “We were just wrestling it back there. Obviously the 19 [Eckes] won so the strategy worked. I just needed to execute better and just have things go our way.

“There’s nothing really else we can do but try better and go on to Kansas.”

Honeycutt owned his mistakes Friday night – particularly with the later incident that took out Holmes and Carroll – but was still called to the NASCAR hauler along with his crew chief, Phil Gould.

“I apologize to Brett; I just messed up,” Honeycutt admitted. “I was so tucked underneath him; I wasn’t paying attention to where the cones were in turn one and I just flat out hit him. That’s not really an excuse, but (I) still have to fix that and not let that happen ever again.

“I screwed up. I hit him and I spun him out, along with the 90 (Carroll), so I just have to not let that ever happen again. That’s not how I race. That’s not how I was raised to race,” Honeycutt added. “Unfortunately, half this field does it too. So, if there’s anybody else going to be called to the trailer, there’s probably going to be about five or six of them who are going to be at the trailer and that’s fine.

“I can be singled out, be an example, and then we’ll move on to my next race at Kansas and come back better with this Niece Motorsports crew.”

Friday’s post-race discussion marked the first time in Honeycutt’s career that he’s been called to the series trailer in any series he’s raced in. He also intends to make it the only time that happens.

“I’ve just never really done that before, so I’m sure it’ll be brief,” Honeycutt said prior to the meeting with Truck Series managing director Seth Kramlich. “[It’ll] be (something) like ‘you know, be careful next time; don’t do it again.’ We’ll have to make sure that never happens again. So, yeah, we’ll fix that.”

Honeycutt will complete the second leg of a double-duty, double-discipline weekend by racing in Saturday’s CARS Pro Late Model Tour event at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

His next Truck Series start with Niece Motorsports will come May 4 at Kansas Speedway in the Heart of America 200 at the 1.5-mile oval. It will be Honeycutt’s third career Truck Series start at Kansas.