A new Super Late Model series makes its debut at Orange County Speedway (NC) Saturday, as the Prestoria Racing Association (PRA) Tours Super Late Model Series takes the green flag for its first event.
PRA Tours also promotes the Southern Modified Racing Series, Southeast Limited Late Model Series and 602 Tour, which will all also be in action Saturday at the 0.375-mile oval in Rougemont, North Carolina. However, the birth of the Super Late Model series adds some intrigue and excitement to the event.
“We’re very excited to bring on the Super Late Models,” PRA Tours promoter Renee Hackett. “I’m expecting at least 15 cars. I do think the makeup race at Nashville, I had cars that were going to do my event but with that tacking place, there’s a few cars I’ve lost because they’re doing that. You can’t do anything about a rain makeup, it happens in racing.“
Among drivers who have submitted entry blanks for the debut event are southern Late Model standouts such as Matt Craig, Tate Fogleman Trevor Noles and Kodie Conner. The father-son duo of Kelly and Ryan Moore have also entered, as well as Molly Helmuth.
Several of those drivers were frequent competitors with the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model Series. With PASS cutting back on their southern United States appearances for 2019, Hackett is hopeful many of those teams will join the PRA Tours Super Late Models.
“I would like to maintain no less than 15 cars per event,” said Hackett. “We had an event at Caraway last year with six cars and that was disappointing. I’ve promoted it a lot better this year and put the word out. With PASS only doing a few select events, it gives guys a different option other than CARS. Not that I don’t want them to run CARS, I want every race driver to run somewhere.”
Along with a new division, PRA Tours features a new race director for 2019, one that will ring a bell with many racing fans.
“We’ve brought on David Hoots as our race director with PRA Tours, and he’s doing an amazing job,” said Hackett. “I think he’s going to help our program significantly, as far as the race directing, procedures, everything remaining the same across the board for everybody. I’m really excited.”
The PRA Tours Super Late Model Series schedule features seven dates. The season will conclude with two marquee events with existing pedigrees which could also draw strong fields.
On November 9, PRA Tours will once again promote the North South Shootout. The event had been at Concord Speedway for the last four years (and 12 of its 16 runnings to date), but with uncertainty surrounding the half-mile tri-oval’s future, the event has been moved to Hickory Motor Speedway for 2019.
“I know drivers don’t like change, fans don’t like change, people don’t like change,” Hackett explained. “With the situation put before us, David Layton had told us he listed it. He’s probably going to sell it, and if that happens, we have this major event and nowhere to go with it.
“Not that drivers were afraid of Concord, but I think drivers knew if they wrecked at Concord, the chances of their car being totaled were very high,” Hackett added. “Hickory’s going to be interesting. I have a lot of people already calling about the North South Shootout excited. Modifieds, Supers, even some of the Wall Stadium modifieds that run the 602 crate, they’re calling interested about the 602 Tour event.”
The PRA Tours Super Late Models will also join the card for the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park, which will serve as the season finale. The Thanksgiving Classic has established itself as one of the premier Late Model Stock events in North Carolina since its inception in 1998, but competitor support for unsanctioned Super Late Model features as part of the event have been inconsistent.
Hackett hopes uniting her tour with Southern National will bolster the Super Late Model feature at the event and give fans another reason to look forward to the holiday weekend tradition.
“Mike Diaz [Southern National track owner] and I, we have a great relationship. Mason [Diaz, Mike’s son] runs Supers, and he really loves Supers, he’s excited. He has tried Supers in the past, and for whatever reason, he couldn’t get the guys to participate.
“I’m going to work it all year for him, it’s a prestigious event that’s been around a long, long time,” Hackett added. “I think we’re going to have a good, good group of cars.”
Grandstands open at 2:00 p.m. for Saturday’s PRA Tours Night at the Races at Orange County Speedway, with seven classes of racing in action. The green flag will drop at 6:30 p.m.
Speed51 will also provide a live broadcast for Speed51 Network Premium Members unable to attend the PRA Tours Super Late Model Series’ inaugural event, as the Super Late Models will compete for 125 laps. Click here to join the Speed51 Network today and watch the broadcast.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo