SOPHIA, NC – In less than a month, Late Model Stock racers from across the Southeast will head to Caraway Speedway with an eye towards the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship. But a new race format and more money being offered has teams especially excited for the prospects that a new year brings. The NASCAR Late Model Stocks will compete six times in 2016 at Caraway Speedway with each race paying $5,000 to win and $500 to start. Most of those events will be 150 laps and will feature a live pit stop with teams having the option to change two tires.
Tommy Lemons, Jr. is a hometown driver at Caraway Speedway, having started racing there in 2004. In recent years, Lemons has traveled to different speedways in the region, where he has also been a winner. Lemons believes the changes at Caraway Speedway are necessary to not only benefit the track, but the racers too.
“I like the bigger purse, it’s what we’ve needed from the track as the costs of racing has gone up,” said Lemons. “I know it’s been hard on the tracks financially, but it’s been hard on us too and I’m glad to see them upping their effort. And I love the idea of the pit stop. I think it will add excitement for the teams and fans. It’s something out of the norm for most short tracks and that’s another thing the racing community needs.”
Although Lemons has won almost everything there is to win at Caraway Speedway, including last year’s Daggett Shuler’s Attorneys At Law Rusty Harpe Memorial, he has never won the track championship. With nearly $5,000 being awarded to the champion and an invitation to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Banquet in Charlotte, Lemons is excited for his prospects at a first title.
“Caraway is where I went as a kid dreaming to one day race there,” said Lemons. “I came within one race of the championship in 2006, so to win a title at Caraway would be awesome and would rank pretty high for me.”
Virginia’s Kyle Dudley scored his first win at Caraway Speedway last year and thinks the changes for 2016 will bring even more competition to race against. Dudley has improved tremendously since his first start at Caraway and believes the new format and increased purse will be beneficial to all the Late Model Stock competitors.
“The $5000 to win is huge and I think it’s going to draw a lot of people and attention to Caraway,” says Dudley. “$500 to start is what I would consider fair with the tire rule. As far as the live pit stops, I’m not real sure how that’s gonna go quite yet, but it will change things up for sure. I think it will be a kind of learn on the fly type deal for a while, but I definitely see it being exciting for the fans.”
Dudley narrowly missed out on the track championship last year to veteran Nathan Buttke. He believes he is primed for a run at the title in 2016 and is excited to compete against other track champions from across the Southeast.
“A championship would be huge for this team and it’s something we’ve strived for,” said Dudley. “I feel like what we’ve got going on and the progress we’ve been making and with all we’ve been learning, I feel like we’re stronger and better and more experienced than ever and this year is our best shot yet.”
The season will begin at Caraway Speedway with the first 150 lapper for the NASCAR Late Model Stocks on Sunday, March 6. There will be an open practice on Saturday, March 5. For more information please go to carawayspeedway.com or contact Renee Hackett at 336-302-5803.
2016 Caraway Speedway Late Model Stock Schedule
March 6 150 laps
March 26 150 laps
May 26 150 laps
June 18 150 laps
July 1 Daggett Shulers Attorneys At Law Rusty Harpe Memorial TBD laps
Sept. 3 150 laps
-Caraway Speedway Press Release. Photo credit: