MOORESVILLE, NC — As the calendar changes to 2016 the sophomore season of the highly talked about CARS Tour is set to get underway. Much like a season ago, the tour will open in Eastern North Carolina at the 4/10th mile Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, North Carolina. Defending CARS Tour Super Late Model champion and defending race winner Cole Timm has to be the early favorite, but several additional names such as Quin Houff, Clay Jones, Brandon Setzer, and Zane Smith should all vie for the first checkered flag of the new season. The landscape couldn’t be more different on the Late Model Stock side of things. Defending champion Brayton Haws is sidelined due to sponsorship woes, while defending race winner Todd Gilliland has moved on to the NASCAR West Series, leaving the door wide open for a not only a new race winner but a new champion in 2016. Local veteran Deac McCaskill will be tough to beat at his home track once again, but one can expect plenty of challenges from Tommy Lemons Jr, Josh Berry, and Myatt Snider just to name a few. No matter the new names or the familiar ones, the 2016 season gets underway with everyone having a clean slate to work with when they roll in to Southern National on April 3.
#CARSTour300 NOTES & QUOTES
Track/Location: Southern National Motorsports Park-Lucama, NC
Track Size: .410-mile
Event Name: #CARSTour300
Laps/Distance: 150/60 miles (each)
Event Schedule: 12PM-1:35PM Practice, 2:30PM Qualifying, 4PM Green: SLM-LMSC
Twitter Handle/Event Hashtag: @CARSTour / @SNM_Park / #CARSTour300
CARS SLM Tour Pre Entered Drivers: #2 Jared Irvan, #6 Brandon Setzer, #8 Tate Fogleman, #12 Harrison Burton, #16 Lucas Jones, #17 Quin Houff, #22 Trevor Noles, #25 Stephen Leicht, #40 Tanner Gray, #41 Jake Crum, #44 Gus Dean, #45 Joey Mucciacciaro, #49 Jeff Batten, #51 Stephen Nasse, #54 Matt Craig, #55 Dalton Sargent, #57 Cole Timm, #58 Tyler Ankrum, #67 Clay Jones, #77 Zane Smith, #88 Garrett Jones, #97 Nicole Behar, #99 Raphael Lessard (23 total)
CARS LMSC Tour Pre Entered Drivers: #07 Hayden Humphrey, #08 Deac McCaskill, #1 Christian Eckes, #2 Myatt Snider, #7 Justin Crider, #12 Ryan Wilson, #12M Austin McDaniel, #16 Jeff Oakley, #18 Bradley McCaskill, #21 Mike Darne, #24 Mason Diaz, #27 Tommy Lemons Jr, #28 Chris Hudspeth, #29 Jake Ruggles, #31 Thomas Beane, #41 Chase Purdy, #42 Craig Stallard, #43 Jeb Burton, #44 Justin Johnson, #54 Michael Fose, #74 Ronald Hill, #77 Tal Davidson, #81 Adam Murray, #83 Matt Bowling, #88 Chris Davis, #88B Josh Berry, #95 Chad McCumbee, #98 Stefan Parsons (28 total)
***Official Entry Deadline: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at 4PM***
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McCaskill the Man at Southern National:
Deac McCaskill came close to winning the CARS Tour season opening event at Southern National a year ago leading 147 of 150 laps before eventual winner Todd Gilliland made a move that relegated McCaskill to second. However; McCaskill made up for lost time in May when the series returned to the 4/10th mile track dominating the 125 lap race for his first career CARS Tour win. Despite it being a new year, McCaskill feels like he can start the year strong once again in his backyard on April 3.
“Southern National is obviously a track that’s been good to me over the years. We had a great year last year picking up our one CARS Tour win at Southern National, but this year I think we could have maybe a better year now that we’ll be on the same tire all season and know what to expect right out of the gate. Once again the CARS Tour is going to have the toughest competition every time we race. Guys like Josh Berry, Tommy Lemons, Myatt Snider, and Bradley McCaskill can all win races everywhere we go. You’ve got to take advantage of the home track races, even if it’s the first race of the season. We’re ready to get going.” #08 Deac McCaskill – H&L Logging Ford Late Model Stock Car
Higher Expectations Than a Year Ago:
Clay Jones campaigned full time on the CARS Tour in 2015 and has plans to do so again in 2016. Jones feels that with a year under his belt on the CARS Tour, competing at many of the same tracks as a year ago, and kicking off the season at his home track of Southern National Motorsports Park the chance to move from competing for top fives to competing for wins is on the agenda beginning with race one.
“I feel like we are a lot more prepared than we were a year ago heading into the first race of the year. We’ve done a lot of work and improvement to the car over the off season that we wanted to do a year ago and never had the time. With that said I think we’ve got what it takes this year to be battling more often for the win, than just top five finishes. To be able to start the year off at Southern National is a huge bonus for my team, we know it’s a place we can run good at and can really set the tone for the start of the season.” – #67 Clay Jones – Wearcrete Concrete Polishing Ford Super Late Model
Forecasting the 2016 CARS Tour Season:
Coming off a nothing less than stellar inaugural year, the CARS Tour has big shoes to fill after setting the bar so high a season ago. Those expectations are one of the key focuses of the tour as the season kicks off at Southern National. Questions such as car counts, changes, and building blocks for the future are all on the table for discussion.
“We had an incredible year in our first season, one that exceeded our expectations to be honest with you. Now the hard part will be keeping that premier level of competition on the track and marketability off the track. We didn’t make a whole lot of changes, just small ones to improve our product, we are going to be branding our series more on a regional and national level this year. I think the quality of racecars competing will be just as good as it was last season. I feel that our year this year could give us a big indication on what direction we go as a race series for the future. I’m a firm believer it’s harder to stay on top than it is getting to the top.” – Jack McNelly – CARS Tour Owner
For more information and to stay up with all the latest news and information about the CARS Tour, featuring both Late Model Stock Car and Super Late Model divisions, visit www.carsracingtour.com or contact the tour’s office directly at 704-662-9212. Stay social with the tour by “liking” the CARS Tour Facebook page and following along on Twitter @CARSTour.
-CARS Tour Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com