CARS Tour officials have released its tentative 2020 season schedule, but on Speed51’s “The Morning Bullring” Monday, CARS Tour series director Chris Ragle hinted that more big events could on the horizon.
A printout of the 2020 schedule provided to competitors on Saturday at Orange County Speedway (NC) featured 10 Late Model Stock events and six standalone Super Late Model series races, including a new $20,000-to-win Super Late Model event at Jennerstown Speedway (PA).
On Speed51’s Morning Bullring, Ragle noted there could be another date added to the Late Model Stock calendar for 2020. While Ragle was not prepared to confirm whether or not an 11thLate Model Stock would be added to the schedule, he acknowledged that such a date would likely be a major event offering a unique challenge to those racers.
“If we add that other event, it would be something special,” said Ragle. “There could be potential to take the Late Model Stocks out of the Mid-Atlantic region a bit. We talked to our competitors, and they feel there’s a pretty good base that has jumped on with what we’ve done. They’re willing to make a go of it outside of a normal Late Model Stock area, to go to a place that offers something we don’t have in this region.
“There are no big, fast half-mile tracks in the Late Model Stocks get on. Most of them are like a Hickory or Orange County (both 3/8’s mile facilities). They’re old and flat, (although) Orange County is probably our most banked track. A big half-mile that has a lot of speed intrigues those guys. I think we would have a pretty good car count to support it.”
Ragle also mentioned that preliminary conversations are underway with Martinsville Speedway (VA) for a potential event at the historic venue. Martinsville currently hosts the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, the most traditionalevent in Late Model Stock Car racing.
While discussions are still in the exploratory phases, Ragle admitted he would love to bring the CARS Tour to the famed paperclip, ironically for a Super Late Model event.
“Barry Nelson and the Nelson Motorsports team (located) up that way, he is good friends there with [Martinsville Speedway President] Clay Campbell,” said Ragle. “In the past week or two, we have done some communication and some plans for, once our schedules get a break, we’d like to sit and talk, and Clay would too.
“As we all know, the Late Model Stock race at Martinsville is, quite frankly, in terms of car count and maybe even fan count, the most attended asphalt Late Model race annually in the country. I think we want to have a conversation. We’re on each other’s radars. With a NASCAR-owned track, some of the business things happening in the NASCAR world impacts some things, compared to going to Bristol as an SMI facility.
“I think there could be a future deal,” added Ragle. “I would love to be a part of any event. I think it would be a great, great facility for Super Late Models. That would help us all out, getting one of the bigger facilities in racing at a place that’s really close to us.”
The most notable change on the confirmed 2020 schedule is a new event, scheduled for Saturday, July 4 at Jennerstown Speedway (PA). The event will feature the Super Late Models, paying $20,000 to the winner for the highest-paying event in CARS Super Late Model Tour history.
The event also marks an expansion of the CARS Tour’s footprint, as the series will make its first ever appearance outside of the Carolinas, Tennessee or Virginia.
“The highlight is going a little out of our region,” said Ragle. “We are going up to Jennerstown, Pennsylvania for our first-ever CARS Tour event on a holiday. We’ll race July 4 for a $20,000-to-win Super Late Model race.”
The season finale, held at South Boston Speedway since 2017, will now move to September 12. In years past, the series has taken a break following its penultimate event, allowing its teams to compete in marquee fall races. Now the series will conclude its season and crown its Super Late Model and Late Model Stock champions before entering “big race season.”
“We don’t have to wait until November to crown our champions,” explained Ragle. “We can do that three weeks later on September 12. I think that’s crucial and continues that momentum and lets us go to work in the offseason on making our series better.
“Late Model Stocks can go into Martinsville, Myrtle Beach, the Thanksgiving Classic, and when they pull in the gate someone can say they are the 2020 CARS Tour champion. Same thing with the Super Late Models, everybody knows September, October, November, all the way to the first week of December with the Snowball Derby, that’s your big event season. This lets the guys focus on those big races. We want our CARS Tour guys running those events and representing. That’s a huge move, not having that two-month layoff.”
Fans who missed Ragle’s interview on “The Morning Bullring” can click here to view an on-demand replay of the show, which traditionally airs at 7 a.m. on Mondays for free on Speed51 and on Speed51’s Facebook page, presented by Five Star Race Car Bodies. In observance of Labor Day, next week’s episode will instead air on Tuesday, September 3.
CARS Tour Tentative 2020 Schedule
|March 7, 2020||Southern National Motorsports Park (NC)||SLM/LMSC|
|March 21, 2020||Hickory Motor Speedway (NC)||SLM/LMSC|
|April 5, 2020||Orange County Speedway (NC)||LMSC|
|Old North State Nationals – $30,000 to win|
|May 1, 2020||Ace Speedway (NC)||LMSC|
|June 6, 2020||Langley Speedway (VA)||LMSC|
|June 20, 2020||Dominion Raceway (VA)||LMSC|
|July 4, 2020||Jennerstown Speedway (PA)||SLM|
|July 11, 2020||Carteret County Speedway (NC)||LMSC|
|August 1, 2020||Hickory Motor Speedway (NC)||SLM/LMSC|
|August 22, 2020||Orange County Speedway (NC)||SLM/LMSC|
|Mid-Atlantic Classic – $10,000-to-win LMSC|
|September 12, 2020||South Boston Speedway (VA)||SLM/LMSC|
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo