The debut for the newly-conceived CARS Tour on Saturday March 28 at Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) has been highly anticipated ever since the plans for the tour were announced near the end of 2014. Now that the debut weekend for the dual Super Late Model and Late Model Stock Car series is finally here, the anticipation is through the roof.
The chance to be an inaugural series champion is something that every driver wants, but getting that chance is quite rare. Almost all Super Late Model tours have been established for quite some time, with the exception of the Southern Super Series which made its debut in 2013.
So now the stars of Super Late Model racing today have another shot. And it starts on Saturday.
“That would be really cool to win the championship,” Steven Wallace told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “That’s what we’re hoping for but there are a lot of guys that are running it that are really good. They’re going to have a good car count full of a lot of good competitors.”
That much is certainly true. The entry list for the season opener boasts an impressive 32 cars, including many big names such as Clay Rogers, Harrison Burton, Bubba Pollard, Christopher Bell and Gus Dean.
Dean formerly competed in the X-1R Pro Cup Series, which is now the CARS Tour, and competed in other Super Late Model races throughout the Southeast at the same time. He finished third in the Pro Cup standings in 2013, and fourth one year ago while scoring a win.
The offseason change made by CARS Tour officials has Dean very optimistic and excited for the inaugural season.
“It is a little bit of a change but a change that can benefit us,” said Dean. “I feel like we can make more advancements than in the past,” Dean said. “I am very excited about the CARS Tour program this year. I feel like Jack McNally and everyone else at CARS have done an excellent job of promoting it.”
A big reason why Dean, Wallace and many other drivers are so enthusiastic about this tour is the purse structure. The CARS Tour is promising to pay out $43,000 in total purse money every race with $5,500 of that going to the winner.
“I also think the tire is a really good tire,” said Wallace. “The reason I’m running is because the tire is better and the schedule is better and on top of that it pays a lot more money.”
Now, after an offseason full of hype for the new tour, Dean and Wallace finally get to take to the track and get the season started this Saturday. Wallace explained that a good weekend at Southern National would do big things for the rest of his season.
“We had a pretty good Speedweeks and we learned a lot so we’ve got a bit of momentum from down there,” said Wallace. “So to go into this week and get a good top-five finish would be great. That would get some good momentum built.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com Photo