MOORESVILLE, N.C. — After a short offseason, the CARS Tour kicks off their third season this Saturday at Concord Speedway in Concord, N.C.
The Circle Track Warehouse 200 marks the first time in the tour’s history that a facility besides Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C. will host the tour’s season-opening event.
Circle Track Warehouse has partnered with the CARS Tour as the race sponsor for the season-opening event, with the company desiring to grow their late model and grassroots new and used inventory. CTW is looking to grow its late model customer base by not only selling products to them but by also purchasing their used parts, something that most late model teams rarely see.
As part of their involvement at Concord, CTW will award $500 to the highest finishing CTW customer in each division, as well as a brand new MPI steering wheel to each race winner.
“We’ve had a relationship with the CARS Tour for the last several years and this year we wanted to do something a little different,” explained Circle Track Warehouse owner Bryan Rogers. “The opportunity came along to kick things off at Concord, at the same time frame we are looking to expand our reach to the late model crowd, so it worked out perfectly. We had a great response already and hope that the late model teams competing at Concord this weekend will keep us in mind when they are not only buying parts, but when they want to sell their used stuff too.”
Plenty of off season changes occurred for both the competitors and the fans watching from around the track. Kids 12 and under are now admitted free into the grandstands, discount advance ticket options and VIP upgrades will be available each race and more fan fest opportunities to meet the CARS Tour drivers on track and in person headline the list of fan initiatives leading into the first race.
On the competition side of things, traditional single car qualifying and traditional 100-150 lap green flag races will be the standard; while group qualifying and duel races will take place at times on the 2017 schedule.
The most intriguing new formats will be knockout qualifying and live pit stops for position races, which will be in place to kick things off this weekend at the Concord half-mile this weekend.
With more opportunities to win than ever, pit stop strategy now a factor, and some of the tightest competition to date expected throughout the year, the 2017 season has something for everyone and carries the potential to be CARS’ best season to date.
“We wanted to mix things up, we wanted to be different, and most importantly we wanted to make an effort to have a chance to gain more fans,” said CARS Tour Series Director Chris Ragle. “We feel like we have some great racing with some of the most talented drivers behind the wheel of a late model, but when you’re having longer distance races and tire conservation is such a big factor we felt that sometimes the races would get stale.”
“If you do the same things, you get the same results — plain and simple. We needed to create a platform that produces entertaining racing from the time the green flag waves, with unpredictability on who might win. I’ll be the first to say we’ve heard some negative and positive feedback, but at the end of the day we can’t judge it either way until we see it in motion. That reason alone is why you should by a ticket to watch this CARS Tour race at Concord.”
Among the drivers pre-entered for the event on the super late model side are New Smyrna World Series of Asphalt Racing champion Harrison Burton, 2016 Snowball Derby winner Christian Eckes, NASCAR Next driver Spencer Davis and new Kyle Busch Motorsports hotshoe Cole Rouse.
Dirt midget and sprint car standout Spencer Bayston will take the wheel of the Bond Suss Racing No. 55 Toyota as he debuts into the stock car ranks, and former CARS Super Late Model Tour champion Cole Timm also returns to the series in his familiar No. 57.
On the late model stock side, defending tour champion Deac McCaskill headlines the field, chased by contenders including NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Myatt Snider, JR Motorsports rookie Anthony Alfredo, former Hickory Motor Speedway track champion Austin McDaniel and heavy-hitters Josh Berry and Stefan Parsons.
CREDIT: CARS Tour