A new era for the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour will see the series’ most prestigious event, the Old North State Nationals head to its fourth different venue.
Tri-County Motor Speedway will host the Old North State Nationals during Memorial Day weekend in 2023 with sponsorship from Grand Atlantic Resort, where plenty of fireworks are expected to take place both on and off the track as the best Late Model Stock competitors in the Southeast battle for a $30,000 winner’s check.
CARS Tour founder Jack McNelly considers Tri-County Speedway, located in Granite Falls, N.C., to be an ideal facility for hosting the Grand Atlantic Resort Old North State Nationals and he is confident both fans and spectators will be treated to another fantastic chapter in the event’s growing legacy.
“We have moved [the Grand Atlantic Resort Old North State Nationals] around a few times, and Tri-County is just a good track for competition,” McNelly said. “There’s plenty of seating and trackside parking, which are important as far as the opportunity for a successful event goes. I’m of the opinion we need to move this race around and I wanted to give Tri-County a shot at it.”
Aside from a two-year absence in 2019 and 2020, Tri-County has been a staple on the CARS Tour calendar since the inception of the series, with past series champions Josh Berry and Bobby McCarty being among those to claim a checkered flag at the track.
Despite undergoing several changes over the years, including a complete repave of all four turns, Tri-County remains a popular track for everyone involved in the CARS Tour, with the Grand Atlantic Resort Old North State Nationals on May 27 expected to be one of the most distinguished races in more than five decades of competition at the facility.
Along with the Late Model Stock and Pro Late Model races on Saturday, the program for the Grand Atlantic Resort Old North State Nationals also includes a 75-lap Street Stock feature scheduled for May 26 that will pay $2,000 to the race-winner. Drivers who wish to enter the Street Stock race are encouraged to reach out to Nate ‘Boo’ Carlisle for information.
Additional details are still being finalized regarding the weekend festivities for the Grand Atlantic Resort Old North State Nationals, but McNelly intends to properly celebrate Memorial Day so that fans are entertained before, during and after the race.
CARS Tour Director of Operations Keeley Dubensky said having the Grand Atlantic Resort Old North State Nationals on Memorial Day weekend provides the CARS Tour a unique opportunity to attract visitors attending the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with an event that highlights all the best features of short track racing in the southeast.
“Tri-County is a beautiful track that’s drawn a lot of loyal fans over the years,” Dubensky said. “Having this huge event with a large trackside area on Memorial Day weekend is going to be a big hit. Fans who are traveling to Charlotte [for the Coca-Cola 600] can also experience one of the best short track events on our schedule.”
Now that the event is in its fifth year, both McNelly and Dubensky believe the future of the Grand Atlantic Resort Old North State Nationals remains brighter than ever.
The annual classic has endured numerous challenges during its existence that included inclement weather at Caraway Speedway last year and being temporarily moved to Greenville-Pickens Speedway in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, support for the event has remained high.
McNelly anticipates a great car count for both CARS Tour divisions at Tri-County, but is especially looking forward to the close, exhilarating racing that has been prevalent since the series’ first visit to the facility back in 2015.
“The racing is always phenomenal [at Tri-County],” McNelly said. “Our guys have no problem running two or three abreast there and you can’t do that at a lot of places. Tri-County is just a good, competitive track.”
On-track activity for the Grand Atlantic Resort Old North State Nationals at Tri-County Speedway on May 27 will consist of a 100-lap race for the CARS Pro Late Model Tour followed by the 200-lap Late Model Stock feature for $30,000. Additional information will be announced in the coming weeks.
-CARS Tour Press Release