This Saturday the CARS Racing Tour descends on Concord Speedway. Though the track is one of the closest for many drivers, not many consider it their “home track”. With weekly racing extinct from Concord for nearly ten years, the track sees minimal action and just a handful of Late Model events each year, making it difficult for most drivers to feel they really know their way around the half-mile mile track.
“I think racing at Concord is good for the industry as whole,” said Chris Ragle, CARS Racing Tour Director of Operations/Marketing. “It’s a shame the place does so little racing on the half mile. With that said it could make for an intriguing race with it being a bit of an unknown facility on the tour’s schedule.”
“I don’t know if anyone will have an upper hand,” said Brayton Haws, CARS Racing Tour Late Model Stock Car point leader, “Because late models haven’t seen the track since 2012.”
In addition to the lack of track time a lot of these drivers have seen at Concord Speedway, the track’s unique design provides its own challenges. The triangle-shaped half-mile racing surface combined with high speeds makes it one of the more challenging tracks on the CARS Tour schedule.
“It’s the biggest track around this area plus it has a dog leg where you carry a lot of speed,” said Super Late Model driver Kyle Grissom, “So it’s a challenge to get your car comfortable for the whole race.”
“Intense racing at high speeds no doubt,” said Ragle, “It may not produce the beating and banging racing that a track like Hickory produces, but there will be “a lot of holy cow moments” for the drivers and ‘did you see that’ moments for the fans.”
Added Haws, “I think the speed factor and also the little dog leg on the back stretch will really make it an exciting race.”
Grissom and Haws both find themselves in the thick of heated point battles in the Super Late Model and Late Model Stock CARS Racing Tour divisions. Grissom currently trails Cole Timm in the Super Late Model points by 10, while Haws leads the Late Model Stock Car points by five over Myatt Snider. With such tight point battles, both drivers know a track like Concord can definitely be a wild card.
“Honestly you can’t think about points at Concord because there is no safe place to hide,” said Grissom, “So you just have to race as hard as you can and just let it play out.”
“We’ve got close point battles in both divisions,” said Ragle. “This track could really create a separation if those drivers in the battle get caught up in an accident or just miss it on setup. I really wouldn’t be surprised to see winners in both divisions be someone that’s not in the point battle.”
Qualifying begins at 5p.m. Saturday at Concord Speedway with racing starting at 7:30p.m. Speed51.com will bring you live Trackside Now coverage presented by JET Tools and LFR Chassis starting at 1:00p.m.
-Jana Wimmer, Midwest Editor, Twitter: @JWimm22
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com