When the CARS Late Model Stock Tour kicks off its season on April 2 at North Carolina’s Southern National Motorsports Park, the defending champion will most likely not be there.  As of Wednesday, Brayton Haws has no racing plans for the 2016 season after losing sponsorship from Rheem.


“Rheem told us that they weren’t sponsoring anyone below Xfinity,” Haws told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.


MVPR cabarrus dining 2015Rheem, one of the top water heater and air conditioning manufacturing companies, currently sponsors Auston Dillon and Paul Menard at Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.  They were Haws’ primary sponsor throughout his entire 2016 racing campaign that saw him win the inaugural CARS Tour championship.


The 16-year-old driver said that losing his sponsor is unfortunate, but mostly surprising.


“It is very disappointing because we had a good year last year, won a championship and this year I’m left without a ride,” Haws explained.  “And yes it was a surprise to me because I did win the CARS Tour championship with them, but they are a great company and it’s a racing thing.”


In addition to winning the inaugural CARS Late Model Stock Tour championship, Haws won three CARS Tour races last year, and one pole award.  He also finished seventh in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Virginia’s famous Martinsville Speedway, the biggest Late Model Stock Car race of the year.


Haws said he still has hopes to be behind the wheel of a race car in 2016, and he said he and his family are doing everything they can to make that happen.


“We will come back from this,” Haws said.  “This year we are looking for as much sponsorship as we can get.  Racing has been my dream ever since I was four years old, and nothing can hold me and my family down from moving on.”


-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount

-Photo Credit: Speed51.com

CARS Tour Champ Haws Left Sitting on the Sidelines