Jared Fryar made history in 2020, winning the CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car championship. His title run made him the first driver to win both a Late Model Stock Car and Super Late Model championship with the CARS Tour since its inception in 2015.
It was a season with plenty of challenges for Fryar, who discussed the title run while on Speed51’s “The Bullring” on Monday. The first challenge came in the form of a new car, so new he didn’t even have it ready for the season’s first race at Southern National Motorsports Park.
“We started off the year in a different car than we finished on,” said Fryar. “We ended up getting a new car. The pandemic played out where we didn’t get it until after the first race. We got a second offseason, and we got it put together in time for Ace.”
From there, it was rolling with the punches of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in states such as North Carolina and Virginia which faced considerable restrictions. The season’s schedule was constantly in flux, with several events changing locations, but ultimately a full CARS Tour campaign was completed.
“We raced, took a couple of weeks off, and it felt like we raced every week after that. There were a couple of weeks we didn’t know what track we were going to until the week of. We weren’t sure at times if we’d get a full season. Jack and everyone at the CARS Tour did a great job getting us on the race track and doing what they had to do.”
Perhaps the toughest task of all came at the end of the year. With the CARS Tour’s Old North State Nationals first postponed, then relocated to Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Fryar and his championship contending counterparts went to an unfamiliar track against the biggest field of the year, battling for both a $30,000 victory and a championship.
A 13th-place finish may not have been what Fryar hoped for in that event, but it was enough to secure the championship by one point over Layne Riggs and three points over Corey Heim.
“It was tough to go to Greenville, too, the last race of the year. It had the most cars we had all year, a little different strategy, lap count, everything. It threw us off a little bit, but it all worked out.”
The championship also came during a year when Fryar lost his grandfather, the legendary Freddy Fryar. Freddy Fryar was a two-time Snowball Derby winner and a World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing champion, among other accomplishments.
Jared Fryar credited some of the lessons learned from “The Beaumont Flyer” to his success.
“He was big on keeping his equipment in one piece. I feel like I took that part away from it and have done the same. It’s special to be able to run the 14 and have his initials on the car in his memory. It was a tough year, but it was special to win a race, have good runs and win a championship.”
Fryar won the CARS Tour Super Late Model championship in 2018 on the strength of a consistent season, but never made a trip to victory lane. By winning at Franklin County Speedway in 2020 en route to the Late Model Stock championship, Fryar acknowledged this one was more special.
“I have a lot more pride in the Late Model Stock one. We had such good, consistent runs. We had a couple of good shots at winning. The Super one was great, don’t get me wrong, it was just frustrating not winning a race. To be able to win a race in the fashion we did at Franklin County was special, and going on to win the title was unbelievable.”
Fryar admits he misses going to venues such as Five Flags Speedway and Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway with the Super Late Model, but has made himself a home in the Late Model Stock Car world. He plans to defend his CARS Tour championship in 2021.
“I’m pretty content with the Late Model Stock. I enjoy it. I like that Super Late Models get to go to some different tracks. I’m a big fan of Pensacola, Nashville, it’s cool that Super Late Models get to do that. I wish Late Model Stocks got to do that.
“I enjoy Late Model Stocks, especially after this year. I see myself staying with them and keeping my focus there. I’ll be back with the CARS Tour again and try to defend that title. Then we’ll run select NASCAR events, like Martinsville and the [Virginia] Triple Crown.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo