Only two race weekends remain before the 2023 Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour season draws to a close.
The penultimate event on the calendar will see both the CARS Late Model Stock Car and Pro Late Model Tour venture back to Hudson, North Carolina for the Blue Ridge 250 at Tri-County Motor Speedway. This will be the second time the LMSC Tour has competed at Tri-County this year, while the PLM Tour is making their third visit to the facility.
Tri-County was the site of one of the most thrilling races in CARS Tour history back in August during the fifth running of the prestigious Old North State Nationals. In a fuel mileage race, local hero Landon Huffman made his car last to the checkered flag and bagged $30,000 in front of the exuberant Tri-County crowd.
Huffman and many of the same faces from that night are heading back to Tri-County on Saturday along with a few surprise names across both divisions, all of whom are seeking to capitalize on two remaining opportunities to visit victory lane in the CARS Tour this year.
Track: Tri-County Motor Speedway
Location: Hudson, North Carolina
Length: .400 mile
Laps: LMSC (125) / PLM (75) / SS (50)
CARS LMSC Tour races: 7
CARS PLM Tour races: 4
LMSC Tri-County winners: Josh Berry (2), Brayton Haws (1), Bobby McCarty (1), Mini Tyrrell (1), Conner Jones (1), Landon Huffman (1)
PLM Tri-County winners: William Sawalich (1), Jake Garcia (1), Carson Kvapil (1), Caden Kvapil (1)
LMSC Entry List (30 cars): #03 Brenden Queen, #04 Ronnie Bassett Jr., #08 Deac McCaskill, #09 Riley Gentry, #0 Landon Pembelton, #1 Andrew Grady, #2 Brandon Pierce, #4 Dylon Wilson, #5C Gio Ruggiero, #6 Bobby McCarty, #7W Dylan Ward, #8 Carson Kvapil, #8B Chase Burrow, #15 Ryan Millington, #15C Logan Clark, #16 Chad McCumbee, #20 Joshua Dickens, #21 Landon DeVaughn, #22 Landon Huffman, #23 Kade Brown, #24 Mason Diaz, #43 William Sawalich, #45A Bryce Applegate, #51 Timothy Peters, #51N Stephen Nasse, #57 Connor Zilisch, #67 Cameron Bolin, #77 Connor Hall, #81 Mini Tyrrell, #95 Jacob Heafner
PLM Entry List (17 cars): #6 Brandon Setzer, #7 Tristan McKee, #7C Justin Crider, #8 Rusty Skewes, #9 Ashton Higgins, #13 Austin MacDonald, #15B Aiden King, #25 Gavan Boschele, #26 Dawson Sutton, #28 Brent Crews, #43 Nick Loden, #43H Joshua Horniman, #55 Charlie Keeven, #74 Ryan Moore, #77 Logan Jones, #81 Katie Hettinger, #96 Caden Kvapil
LMSC Point Standings:
- 8 Carson Kvapil
- 03 Brenden Queen -33
- 24 Mason Diaz -108
- 15 Ryan Millington -121
- 6 Bobby McCarty -131
- 16 Chad McCumbee -140
- 04 Ronnie Bassett Jr. -164
- 95 Jacob Heafner -171
- 2 Brandon Pierce -182
- 10 Kaden Honeycutt -188
PLM Point Standings:
- 96 Caden Kvapil
- 81 Katie Hettinger -4
- 9 Ashton Higgins -67
- 13 Austin MacDonald -81
- 77 Logan Jones -91
- 7 Tristan McKee -124
- 6 George Phillips -129
- 03 Kyle Campbell -131
- 8 Rusty Skewes -148
- 43 Joshua Horniman -151
The Honey Badger returns: Stephen Nasse making third LMSC Tour start
Stephen Nasse heads to Tri-County Motor Speedway determined to shake off a bitter and controversial end to the Winchester 400.
The Blue Ridge 250 on Saturday night will see Nasse make a rare appearance behind the wheel of a Late Model Stock. Nasse has not run any races with the CARS Tour since 2021 but is eager to test his skills in the LMSC division, especially with how much growth the series has experienced under the current ownership group.
“I’ve always loved running with this series,” Nasse said. “There’s always good racing [in the CARS Tour] and the Late Model Stock class is thriving right now. We’ve teamed up with Forrest Reynolds, so I think we’re going to have a great shot of running well.”
One of the most accomplished Super Late Model competitors of the past decade, Nasse’s accomplishments include victories in the Winchester 400 and All American 400. His resume also features four wins in the now defunct CARS Super Late Model Tour.
Nasse’s two previous starts in the LMSC Tour took place in 2021, which resulted in finishes of fifth and ninth respectively. One aspect Nasse has enjoyed in his limited Late Model Stock appearances is the ability to race side-by-side for a prolonged period, which he attributes to how close teams are in lap times.
While Nasse anticipates a track position race at Tri-County with the amount of grip around the facility, there is no shortage of optimism as he shifts his focus over to the LMSC Tour event. With Chase Pistone also assisting him for the Blue Ridge 250 alongside Reynolds, Nasse has every reason to believe he will be contending for a victory at the end of the night.
“I’m expecting to win,” Nasse said. “I have confidence in what I can do in this car and it would be cool to show [the Late Model guys] that I can be a threat in these bigger races. It won’t be easy with so many good drivers, but I’m going there to win. It’s the only reason I show up anywhere.”
Timothy Peters coming out of retirement to race at Tri-County
When Timothy Peters took the checkered flag in last year’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, he found himself content as he prepared to transition into a post-racing career.
Peters ultimately could not stay away from racing too long, as he will be driving the No. 51 for Bobby Hall Motorsports in Saturday’s Blue Ridge 250 at Tri-County Motor Speedway. Even though he expects to shake off a little bit of rust, Peters intends to stay focused and have fun during his first CARS LMSC Tour race in two years.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Peters said. “Bobby Hall has built this brand-new R&S car, so we’re excited about having this opportunity to make some laps with it. I appreciate Bobby, Marcus Richmond, Johnny Haymore and everyone else that made this happen.”
Since 2021, Peters has worked as a delivery man for UPS. He admits to missing racing on a regular basis but said he made the decision to spend more time with his family and watching his kids grow up.
Peters still finds time to help R&S Race Cars with their own program whenever he is not delivering packages. Richmond helped spearhead the idea of having Peters drive a car for Hall, who is fresh off fielding an entry for another Late Model Stock veteran in Jamey Caudill during last month’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300.
The strength of the LMSC Tour field for Saturday’s race at Tri-County is a challenge Peters is ready to tackle with Hall. He is familiar with many of the drivers entered in the Blue Ridge 250 but said the main obstacle will be figuring out how to navigate Tri-County’s new surface.
“There’s a lot of unknowns for me because I haven’t raced [at Tri-County] since they paved the corners,” Peters said. “A win is certainly not out of reach, but the CARS Tour is pretty hard. What we’re hoping for is to come home with a respectable finish.
Brandon Setzer climbing back into his familiar No. 6
It is not often Brandon Setzer has an opportunity these days to drive the No. 6 that he co-owns alongside his father Dennis.
With George Phillips running the Asphalt Nationals inside The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, Setzer will be taking the wheel in Saturday’s Blue Ridge 250 at Tri-County Motor Speedway. Although he has embraced being a team owner, Setzer is looking forward to having fun racing against the PLM Tour regulars.
“I love the crew chief and team owner aspect of the sport,” Setzer said. “There’s a lot of fun with helping these young drivers grow and learn everything about racing. I don’t have much desire to be a full-time driver again, but it’s definitely fun to bring the driving suit back out and see if I can hang with the kids.”
Setzer became familiar with success in Super Late Models during the late 2010s. He tallied six victories in the CARS SLM Tour and finished runner-up in the point standings during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
As a team owner, Setzer was crucial in the development of William Sawalich, who won six times in the CARS PLM Tour last year before claiming the ARCA Menards Series East championship back in September. Although Setzer’s current driver Phillips has yet to win in the PLM Tour, the duo has been victorious several times together this year.
With plenty of experience and speed on his side, Setzer has high expectations heading into Tri-County, which he considers to be a favorite track. The setups Setzer tested at Tri-County have responded favorably to the track’s fresh pavement, which has him optimistic about potentially contending for a win in the PLM Tour on Saturday night.
“A win would be awesome,” Setzer said. “Tri-County is a home track for me since it’s about 15-20 minutes up the road from where our shop is. Hopefully we’ll be competitive and keep expectations in check. It’s going to be tough beating the top guys, especially since I haven’t been in the seat in a long time, but I want to be in the conversation.”
Sharing the track with the two CARS Tour divisions for the Blue Ridge 250 will be the GXS Street Stock Series, which previously ran with the PLM Tour at Tri-County Motor Speedway back in May. Gary Ledbetter took home a checkered flag in the series’ inaugural event.
The 50-lap GXS Street Stock Series race will be sandwiched between the PLM Tour and LMSC Tour features. FloRacing has coverage of all the on-track action starting at 7 p.m. ET.
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
-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America