A local short track racing aficionado would easily be able to identify the CARS Tour, and the average NASCAR fan has undoubtedly heard of it at some point. But what exactly is the CARS Tour and how does it work? How does the new ownership group effect the series?
We at the Daily Downforce are here to explain everything you need to know about the CARS Tour.
History and About the Series
According to their website, the CARS Tour was founded by Jack McNelly in the fall of 2014 out of what was formerly the Pro Cup Series. It is sponsored by Solid Rock Carriers, a trucking business based out of North Carolina. It was also bought by a group including Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, and Justin Marks before the current season began.
The Tour has two top divisions. The CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Pro Late Model Tour (formerly super late models). The two series are distinguished by the types of cars they run, and both series run exclusively on asphalt.
The late model stock division runs the typical late model stock cars found at short tracks across the country. According to the CARS Tour Website, the car weighs 3100 lbs and 400 horsepower power plants. They also mention that the car has a fiberglass body, but it does have stock-style brake calipers
The pro late model division cars are lighter and have slightly more horsepower. According to the website, The cars are 2800 lbs with the same material used for the bodies, but 58% of the weight needs to be ballasted to the left side of the car. However, the engines are what the CARS tour described as “sealed” at 425 horsepower to extend engine life and durability.
How Does it Work?
As was previously mentioned, the series races on exclusively asphalt tracks. The tour has 19 race weekends with 10 races being companion races between the two series, six races being exclusively late model stocks, and three races being exclusively pro late model events.
The series is regional, as it only races in tracks across the Carolinas and Virginia. Some tracks are tracks that NASCAR either currently does or has raced at in the past including North Wilkesboro, Hickory, and South Boston.
As far as who competes in the series, that depends on the weekend. For example, multiple Cup Series drivers entered into the North Wilkesboro race this week even though some had to withdraw. These include guys like Dale Earnhardt Jr, Brad Keselowski, and Ross Chastain.
However, there is a select group of drivers who compete every single week. The CARS Tour has what they call the “Touring 12”. This features drivers such as 2012 Homestead-Miami Truck Series winner Cale Gale, Arca Menards Series winner with 10 Cup Series starts Chad McCumbee, and former Xfinity Series driver Mason Diaz.
According to Matt Weaver from Short Track Scene, it “Rewards teams that have either supported the series for several years or to drivers who have displayed tremendous marketing and social activation attributes for the purpose of promoting their races.”
Weaver goes on to explain that the benefits from the program include a $100 discount on per tire set, four general admission tickets to every race, and a guaranteed starting spot amongst other benefits.
The series also features a season long points system. It’s most notable champions include Josh Berry in the late model stocks 2017 and Carson Kvapil, son of 2003 Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil, in the pro late models in 2021 and the late model stocks in 2022.
With the new ownership group, the CARS Tour appears to be on healthy ground heading into this season. It should be fun to see how this series begins to develop as time goes on.