CARS Tour officials announced a majority of the details about the sanctioning bodies 2018 season during a press conference Friday night in South Boston, VA. Among those details was the release of a full schedule that includes 11 Late Model Stock Car races and nine Super Late Model races.
Unlike in previous years, the CARS Tour will see the Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models split up for a handful of events. Only six of the scheduled events are slated to consist of feature races for both divisions.
As announced Thursday, the Late Model Stock season will kick off with a $10,000 race at Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC) on March 10. All races will pay a minimum of $6,000 to win, an increase from the $5,000 the series has paid out in recent years.
Four new tracks have been added to the Late Model Stock Cars portion of the 2018 schedule. Ace Speedway (NC), Carteret County Speedway (NC), Kingsport Speedway (TN) and Wake County Speedway (NC) will all host their first CARS Tour events next season.
With representatives from each of those new tracks seated in the front row Friday evening, CARS Tour owner Jack McNelly described his appreciation for their support.
“To the folks here on the front row, it’s wonderful. You represent an expansion of this series,” he stated. “Not that we don’t like the tracks we go to now, but it gives us a little bigger footprint, a little bigger audience, not only in fans but only for our racers with their sponsor base.”
On the Super Late Model side, the series will host of total of nine events at eight different race tracks with Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) being the only repeat on the schedule.
Out of the nine races, four of those will pay $10,000 to win. Those races include the SLM season opener at Mrytle Beach Speedway (SC) March 24, the Mid-Atlantic Classic at Orange County Speedway (NC) April 21, a to-be-announced race May 10 and a co-sanctioned race with the Southern Super Series at Anderson Motor Speedway (SC) June 9.
“Back wherever we were, Concord, I said we were going to race a partial schedule. I had a lot of questions about that,” McNelly said during the press conference. “The fact of the matter is that we’re running a partial schedule from 12 to nine. But I think you will agree that it’s still a pretty attractive schedule, espeically when you’re racing three or four times for ten thousand dollars.”
Both series will once again end their seasons at South Boston Speedway (VA) on September 15.
In addition to the full release of the 2018 schedule, which can be seen below, CARS Tour Series Director Chris Ragle also introduced a handful of new programs for next season.
One of the more unique programs announced Friday evening was the new “Touring Twelve” for Late Model Stock Cars. Prior to the season, drivers who are committed to running a full schedule with the series will submit applications to be included in the “Touring Twelve.” Drivers chosen for the program will receive guaranteed pay at each event (a minimum of $1,000 total) in addition to the purse money they collect.
Additionally, “Touring Twelve” drivers will receive two sets of discounted tires and four complimentary tickets for each event. As part of the program, CARS Tour officials will also design and sell driver merchandise for those 12 drivers with each driver receiving a check based upon merchandise sales.
Drivers not in the “Touring Twelve” will also have a chance to earn bonus money throughout the season through a loyalty program. Any driver who makes three consecutive starts at any point during the season will earn a $500 bonus for that third race. Drivers who run the full Late Model Stock Car schedule will also receive a $2,000 bonus.
Another program for “Hometown Heroes” was also announced by Ragle on Friday night. This program will award drivers in the top three in points at their local track with free tires if they choose to enter the CARS Tour race. The first driver in the top three in points who enters the race will receive three free tires, the second will receive two free tires and the third will receive a single free tire for the CARS Tour race at their home track.
A full breakdown of the 2018 CARS Tour schedule can be seen below.
2018 CARS Tour Schedule
March 10 – Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC) – $10,000 to Win – LMSC
March 24 – Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) – $10,ooo to Win for SLM – Both Divisions
April 7 – Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) – SLM – Tri-Sanctioned (CARS, CRA, SSS)
April 7 – Wake County Speedway (NC) – LMSC
April 21 – Orange County Speedway (NC) – $10,000 to Win for SLM – Both Divisions
May 5 – Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) – Both Divisions
May 10 – TBA – $10,000 to Win for SLM
June 9 – Anderson Motor Speedway (SC) – $10,000 to Win for SLM – Co-Sanctioned w/ SSS
June 9 – Ace Speedway (NC) – LMSC – Guaranteed Spot in Rodney Cook Classic
June 23 – Carteret County Speedway (NC) – LMSC
July 14 – Kingsport Speedway (TN) – LMSC
August 4 – Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) – Throwback 276 – Both Divisions
September 8 – Orange County Speedway (NC) – Both Divisions
September 15 – South Boston Speedway (VA) – Both Divisions
-Story by Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor
-Photo credit: Speed51.com