Jared Fryar may not have won a race in 2018. However, he ended the season with a trophy in his hand, earning the CARS Response Energy Super Late Model Tour championship. Now, Fryar plans to convert this year’s consistency and experience into trips to victory lane on the CARS Tour next season.
Fryar claimed the 2018 CARS Super Late Model Tour championship by eight points over Corey Heim. The season finale at South Boston Speedway (VA) did not go Fryar’s way, as an accident ended his day 23 laps shy of the finish. Still, he had done enough over the course of the year to secure the title while Heim took the checkered flag.
Now a month removed from the crowning achievement, Fryar is able to look back fondly on his first championship in a full-bodied race car.
“It’s definitely set in a lot more, now that we’re done,” Fryar said about the championship. “It feels good to get the title. It was definitely very emotional at the race track, because of everything that kind of happened that day. It was a lot of high and low emotions at the race track. All in all, it feels great to be able to have my first stock car title underneath my belt.”
While he was not present at the season finale, Fryar’s primary challenger throughout the season had been Raphael Lessard. Lessard, the 2016 CARS Super Late Model champion, and his Kyle Busch Motorsports team buoyed their title hopes with a win at the Short Track U.S. Nationals at Bristol Motor Speedway.
While Lessard had the win to his credit, Fryar boasted more consistent finishes. Entering the season finale, Fryar led Lessard by eight points, but Lessard opted to race instead at the rescheduled All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN).
Lessard may not have factored into the final battle, but Fryar still took pride in holding the points lead and holding his own against the promising Canadian driver and the Super Late Model team that has now won the last two Snowball Derbies.
“It definitely felt good to take my one car, one motor operation and just me and my dad, we were running and competing and outrunning them at races,” Fryar said. “It was frustrating not being able to get the win, but I felt like we did all we could to put ourselves in contention week in and week out.”
The father-and-son operation added to the proud Fryar legacy in short track racing lore. Jared is the grandson of the legendary Freddy Fryar, a two-time Snowball Derby winner and former ALL PRO Super Series champion. Now, Jared can also say he is a champion driver in the Fryar racing family.
“It’s definitely big,” Fryar said. “I’ve never been able to win a championship in a stock car. To be able to do that and get one step closer to his accomplishments means a lot to me.”
Next season, Fryar hopes to add another title to that resume, as he will return to the CARS Tour to defend his championship.
“That’s the plan right now, to run the CARS Tour again and go after the championship again,” Fryar said about his 2019 plans. “We’ll see what else happens, obviously I’d like to venture out. Most importantly, I’d like to focus on the CARS Tour and next year win the championship and more races. That’s the goal.”
Fryar spoke highly of the Mid-Atlantic touring series. In 2017, Fryar competed in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and won a race at Dominion Raceway (VA) before moving up to the Super Late Model in 2018.
“I really enjoy racing with the CARS Tour,” Fryar said. “It’s great people. I feel like it’s run really good. The rules package on the Late Model Stock and Super side are just hard to beat. That’s what I tell everybody. It’s a great series. It’s very beneficial in money paid, the support you get. It’s just a good deal. Everybody I talk to outside of racing, whether it’s fans or sponsors, they’re all about the CARS Tour and think it’s the best thing going right now for short track racing.”
Fryar hopes the lessons learned from visiting new tracks in the Super Late Model this year will translate to even more success next year.
“We learned a lot from this season,” Fryar said. “We went to Nashville for the first time, only had an hour of practice to get a grip on it and salvaged a good finish up there. We went to Bristol for the first time with the Super Late Model, things like that, I think, will help us go back next year and be even more prepared and know what to expect. I’m excited to go back to those tracks again and have a little edge on it this time.”
The CARS Response Energy Tour will kick off the new season at Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) on March 9, 2019, with eight races on the CARS Super Late Model slate for the campaign.
-Story by Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com