CARS Pro Late Model Tour
Landon Huffman Scores First CARS Tour Win, Takes Home $30K at Tri-County
Aug 20, 2023
One week after holding its biggest race of the year in the Old North State Nationals at Tri-County Motor Speedway, the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour will travel to the smallest track on the schedule in Wake County Speedway for the Drive for Puryear 125.
Nestled in the woods of Raleigh, North Carolina, Saturday serves as the second CARS Tour race hosted by Wake County following a thrilling Pro Late Model Tour event in July that saw Logan Jones collect his first win. This time the Late Model Stock Car Tour will tackle the quarter-mile bullring, their first race at the track since 2021.
With fresh pavement having recently been put down at Wake County, tight racing and plenty of thrills are expected for Saturday’s Drive for Puryear 125 as LMSC Tour drivers look to push forward from an eventful Old North State Nationals.
Track: Wake County Speedway
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Length: .250 mile
CARS LMSC Tour races: 2
Wake County LMSC winners: Sam Mayer (1), Deac McCaskill (1)
LMSC Entry List (22 cars): #03 Brenden Queen, #04 Ronnie Bassett Jr., #05 Mason Bailey, #08 Deac McCaskill, #1 Andrew Grady, #1J Clay Jones, #2 Brandon Pierce, #4 Dylon Wilson, #5C Giovanni Ruggiero, #6 Bobby McCarty, #8 Carson Kvapil, #8B Chase Burrow, #11X Buddy Isles, #15 Ryan Millington, #16 Chad McCumbee, #22 Landon Huffman, #24 Mason Diaz, #51 Ethan Johnson, #67 Cameron Bolin, #77 Connor Hall, #81 Mini Tyrrell, #95 Jacob Heafner
LMSC Point Standings:
Clay Jones teams with Jency Markham for LMSC Tour debut
Wake County Speedway will have a hometown hero mixing it up with the CARS LMSC Tour regulars on Saturday evening.
Four-time track champion Clay Jones has teamed up with car owner Jency Markham in pursuit of a national victory at Wake County. The deal only came together recently for Jones, but he said there is plenty of mutual excitement between him and Markham as they prepare to battle for 125 laps.
“I hit Jency up online and said if he ever needed a driver, I’d love to run some races with him,” Jones said. “It was one of those deals that just kind of came together and I guess great minds think alike. We talked on the phone for a bit and now here we are.”
Jones, who scored two Top 5s in the CARS Tour’s defunct Super Late Model division, compared a race at Wake County to driving at renowned go-kart tracks like Rush Hour Karting and Trackhouse Motorplex.
The constant off-throttle time associated with Wake County’s short layout requires drivers to always be aggressive. Jones admitted the repave initially narrowed down the racing groove but has noticed drivers start using the higher line more, which he believes will make for an intense LMSC Tour feature.
A surplus of cars compared to a usual Wake County show is something Jones believes will only add to the energetic atmosphere. There will be a small margin of error for Jones when the green flag flies, but he hopes the Drive for Puryear 125 is the first of many successful runs with Markham.
“That would easily be one of the biggest wins I’ve had in a while,” Jones said. “It’d would be even bigger for us and Jency as a group now. We kind of threw this thing together and we’re hoping to run some more CARS Tour races with him next year. To kick off this relationship with a win would be special all the way around.”
Ronnie Bassett Jr. rides streak of momentum into Wake County
The past three CARS Tour races have seen Ronnie Bassett Jr. make significant strides with his Late Model Stock program.
Following two consecutive sixth place finishes, Bassett worked his way into contention during the Old North State Nationals before settling for third. None of those performances came easy for Bassett, but the veteran driver believes he is inching closer to that elusive first CARS LMSC Tour victory.
“I’m happy we’re making steps with what we’ve been working on,” Bassett said. “We’ve had an up and down season up to this point but thankfully I feel like we’re on the right track and making steps every week with solid finishes.”
The Late Model Stock world has changed significantly in the decade Bassett was away from the discipline to chase opportunities in NASCAR, particularly when it comes to tires and dealing with well-funded organizations.
Bassett’s primary obstacle in his debut LMSC Tour season was learning about who he was racing against. Now that he is familiar with drivers like Carson Kvapil, Brenden Queen and more, Bassett has found a comfort zone that is gradually translating into consistent Top 10 speed.
Improving qualifying speed is the next objective Bassett wants to accomplish before 2023 concludes. He looks to get closer to that goal with Saturday’s Drive for Puryear 125 at Wake County Speedway, which Bassett hopes continues the trend of him excelling on high-grip tracks.
“We went to Ace Speedway [a few weeks ago] and that has a lot of grip,” Bassett said. “I was happy with the way we performed there, so I was looking forward to Tri-County. Luckily everything transpired the same way. If we can qualify inside the Top 10, I feel like we’ll have a better shot, but it’s tough when you’re going up against 15 cars that can win every week.”
Cameron Bolin seeking third Top 10 of 2023
Amidst all the late-race drama of the Old North State Nationals at Tri-County Motor Speedway, Cameron Bolin brought home his second Top 10 in his rookie CARS LMSC Tour season.
With only a handful of people on his small team, Bolin was overjoyed to finish so well against a stellar field of competitors. Despite struggling to find speed earlier in the day, Bolin said the overall performance was indicative of the resilience and determination prevalent within his program.
“I was a little frustrated at the start of the race,” Bolin said. “We qualified 30th and didn’t know we had a good racecar. Everything played out in our favor and wound up nabbing that 10th place finish. I’m ready to keep it going now.”
One key factor Bolin believes has led to better on-track performance was bringing in NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran Josh Williams to assist him and his grandfather Roddey with overseeing the day-to-day operations.
Having Williams’ knowledge at his disposal since the beginning of May has allowed Bolin to get a better understanding of how to get the most out of his car from a setup and racing standpoint. He knows that influence will be crucial over the final five races of the year, especially with Roddey taking a leave of absence due to a surgical procedure.
Bolin wants to do everything possible to shine in the LMSC Tour, but stressed part of that goal involves being around and keeping his No. 67 in one piece. He does not plan to deviate from that strategy for Saturday’s Drive for Puryear 125, yet remains optimistic about adding another Top 10 to his solid rookie season.
“We just have to survive,” Bolin said. “That’s all I really know how to do. There’s a lot of emotion going on with grandpa and not having him there. If I feel like we’re in a position where we’ll tear the car up, I won’t take the chance. We could unload [at Wake County] and be pretty good, but we’ll see where the chips fall.
A full schedule is on hand at Wake County for Saturday’s Drive for Puryear 125, with the track’s Charger and Bandolero classes accompanying the CARS LMSC Tour. Chargers kick off the racing at 7 p.m. ET, with the 125-lap Late Model Stock feature set to get going at 8:15 p.m. ET.
FloRacing is providing coverage of all the on-track action on Saturday.
For more information on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Pro Late Model Tour, visit www.carsracingtour.com. Be sure to stay active and social with the tour by liking “CARS Tour” on Facebook, following @CARSTour on Twitter and scrolling through photos on Instagram cars_tour.
Additional series information can be obtained by calling the CARS Tour series office, located in Mooresville, NC, at 704.662.9212.
-CARS Tour Press Release