With 18 Super Late Models pre-entered for this weekend’s CARS Tour season opener at Concord Speedway (NC) there is no lack of talent ready to compete.


Brandon Setzer of Newton, North Carolina is one of the drivers looking to make a championship run after falling short behind young star Raphael Lessard last season. With Lessard not planning to run the full CARS Tour schedule in 2017, the door is open for a driver like Setzer to contend for the series championship.


300x250 PFC Brakes - Feb 2017Setzer started his season off with unfortunate luck by struggling at the Winter Meltdown at Dillon Motor Speedway (NC). They elected to leave the car in the shop since that outing and worked on it to ensure that both the driver and the car were in championship form.


“We know we have a good shot at the championship but I think winning races would be bigger for us than the championship,” Setzer told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We are running with the best of the best. Burton and Eckes have both been really good so we are really just focused on going out and getting wins.”


Setzer, at only 23 years old, could easily be considered one of the veterans of the series as a majority of the competitors are under the legal drinking age.


“Its weird that at 23 I could be filed as a veteran. All the other drivers are closer to 17,” Setzer stated. “When it comes to Concord though I have only competed there once so I don’t have any advantage but if we go to a track like Hickory where I have raced since I was 15 then I definitely have an upper-hand.”


Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) will be debuting a new driver during the season opener at Concord as Arkansas native Cole Rouse will make his first run in the CARS Tour. Rouse will be a full-time SLM driver for KBM and is slated to make a run for the championship title alongside Setzer.


Christian Eckes is another notable on the pre-entry list for Saturday’s race, as the 2016 Snowball Derby winner is slated to make select CARS Tour starts in his Fury Race Car. Eckes is winless so far in 2017 but will be on the hunt for a victory this weekend at Concord. He will be joined by Fury teammate Zane Smith who will also be racing the tricky triangle of Concord.


Bond Suss Racing is looking to field notable Toyota Racing Development (TRD) drivers throughout the season as Keith Kunz Motorsports dirt racer Spencer Bayston will be making his asphalt Super Late Model debut with the CARS Tour.


Already having close to twenty races under his belt only three months into the 2017 season, Georgia’s Spencer Davis will be making a run at Concord this weekend. Davis is competing full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Series and will be found in a Super Late Model on his weekends away from the series.


Harrison Burton is on a roll early on in the season after capturing a win at Speedfest, two wins at Speedweeks and also being crowned the Speedweeks SLM champion. Burton is also a full-time K&N East competitor and like Davis, will be in a SLM on off weekends.


Maine’s Austin Theriualt is making his return to Super Late Models this weekend after recently capturing a win on the high-speed high-banks of Daytona International Speedway.


Other familiar faces that will be seen at the track this weekend include Tyler Ankrum, Gus Dean, 2016 PASS South Champion Matt Craig and inaugural CARS Tour SLM champion Cole Timm.


For this weekends schedule for the Circle Track Warehouse 200 visit www.CARSracingtour.com.


Fans can follow along with all the action on Speed51.com’s Trackside Now and follow us on Twitter at @speed51dotcom.


Story by: Hannah Newhouse, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent

-Photo credit: Speed51.com Photo


Season Preview: CARS Tour SLM Title Wide Open in 2017