Austin McDaniel (12) leads Sam Mayer (9) during the CARS Tour season opener at Tri-County Motor Speedway. Jaden Austin Photo

CARS Tour Preview :: Hickory Motor Speedway (May 5th)

For the first time this season the CARS Response Energy Tour will make its stop at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway. The .363 mile track located in the Catawba Valley of North Carolina has been a staple on the tour since the beginning, hosting seven races since the 2015 inaugural season. Several key names are always the ones to keep an eye on when it comes to the Late Model Stock division. Austin McDaniel, Justin Carroll, and JR Motorsports are the ones that have produced the most consistent top-five finishes in recent events. McDaniel has all but won his first CARS Tour event at the facility, while Carroll did just by outlasting McDaniel in front of a sold out Throwback 276 crowd last August. No matter who drives the JR Motorsports cars, whether it be Josh Berry or Sam Mayer, both drivers should be a factor Saturday night.

When it comes to the Super Late Model side of things, several of the past winners are now racing in the NASCAR Cup (William Byron) and Xfinity series (Christopher Bell), however; Canadian Raphael Lessard returns to the track where he picked up his first career win and happens to be the only repeat winner at Hickory. Brandon Setzer, the hometown driver from nearby Newton, NC, is always a factor in his backyard but will have his work cut out for him from the likes of points leader Jared Fryar, Matt Craig, Corey Heim, and Taylor Stricklin just to name a few.

Cloer Construction 300 NOTES & QUOTES

NOTES:

Track/Location: Hickory Motor Speedway-Hickory, NC

Track Size: .363 mile

Event Name: Cloer Construction 300

Laps/Distance: 150L (54.45 miles)

Event Schedule: Practice: 1:15PM-3:30PM, Qualifying: 5:30PM, Green: 7:30PM SLM/LMSC

Twitter Handle/Event Hashtag: @CARSTour / @hickoryspeedway / #CloerConst300

CARS LMSC Tour Pre Entered Drivers:
#08 Deac McCaskill
#07 Bradley McCaskill
#1 Craig Moore
#2 Cody Haskins
#2P Brandon Pierce
#2D Christopher Denny
#5 Lee Pulliam
#5C Dexter Canipe Jr.
#5G Cole Glasson
#9 Sam Mayer
#9W Charlie Watson
#12M Austin McDaniel
#14 Ryan Repko
#17 Ryan Millington
#18 Ty Gibbs
#22 Grayson Cullather
#22M Bobby McCarty
#27 Tommy Lemons Jr
#44 Justin Johnson
#57 Justin Carroll
#74 Ronald Hill
#77 Trevor Ward
#88 Josh Berry
#95 Jacob Heafner
#99 Layne Riggs
(25 total)

CARS SLM Tour Pre Entered Drivers:
#00 Anthony Cataldi
#1 Wayne Jefferson
#2 Danny Gilchrist
#2R Bradley Reithmeyer
#6 Brandon Setzer
#7 Taylor Stricklin
#7C Tyler Church
#8 Tate Fogleman
#9 Chris Dilbeck
#14 Jared Fryar
#16 Molly Helmuth
#17 Mike Speeney
#21 Blaise Rutherford
#26 Chandler Smith
#37 Dan Speeney
#49 Jeff Batten
#51 Raphael Lessard
#54 Matt Craig
#78 Corey Heim
(19 total)

Media Coverage:

-Speed51 (speed51.com) will provide Trackside Now Live Coverage

-Race22 (race22.com) will provide Raceday Live Coverage

-CARS Tour TV (www.carstour.tv) – LIVE Broadcast Video Production Coverage

-CARS Tour Facebook (facebook.com/CARSTour) / CARS Tour Twitter (@CARSTour)

QUOTES:

Continued Success in the HKY:

It’s no secret that JR Motorsports has Hickory Motor Speedway figured out. The organization has won four of the seven CARS Response Energy Tour races at the Hickory, NC track. Both current JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry and former driver Anthony Alfredo have each won two features. With Alfredo now running the K&N series and TORP Chassis Rookie of the Year contender Sam Mayer now piloting the team’s second entry, the expectations for the youngster could be considered pretty high. Mayer, however; doesn’t necessarily feel the pressure to perform, but does have the inner desire to keep the team’s high expectation going when the tour visits the team’s home track twice a year.

“You always feel a little pressure when you go to a track where your team performs well at, but I’m going to use that pressure to my advantage. I ran the Bobby Isaac race there last season and ended up 9th against some of the best around the area, and then Josh and I finished one, two in the tracks season opener so I think it will be a track we should be pretty good at. You always have that fire to win every race, but if I can get a solid points finish and be in position for a win at the end, is what we are really hoping for Saturday night.” Sam Mayer – #9 Menards Chevrolet

Canadian Lessard Looking Toward Hickory Return:

A season ago Raphael Lessard returned to Edelbrock Victory Lane at Hickory Motor Speedway, the sight of his first CARS Tour win, scoring the victory in the second of two twin races. With this weekend’s event going back to the traditional 150 green flag lap race; does the Canadian driver, now driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports think he can continue his winning ways at his favorite track on the tour?

“It’s really cool to come back at Hickory! I’ve run well there in the past so it will be fun to come back with my new Kyle Busch Motorsports team. The racing is usually really good there for me, so I’m excited to try to get my 3rd series victory and my first one this season. Plus if we can stay in the top two points positions in the CARS Tours championship standings, it would lock me in for Bristol. That removes lots of the pressure from me, knowing I have a guaranteed spot for the Bristol race with so many great drivers that will try to make it in.” Raphael Lessard – #51 FRL Express/Mobile 1 Toyota

The Road to Bristol Goes Through Hickory:

Just as it was a season ago, the weekend’s Cloer Construction 300 at Hickory, will be the last race before the CARS Response Energy Tour visits the famed Bristol Motor Speedway for the May 19-20th event. This event will give both Super Late Model and Late Model Stock teams an opportunity to lock themselves into the Short Track U.S. Nationals. The top two in Late Model Stock Car owners points will receive a guaranteed starting position in the feature event. The same will apply to the Super Late Model division with the addition of the Saturday night’s feature winner will also be locked into the major event at the Last Great Coliseum.

“This weekend’s Cloer Construction 300 at Hickory will not only be a big race in itself, but it will also be big for those potentially headed to Bristol for the Short Track U.S. Nationals. The Late Model Stock championship battle is a tight one for that second place position, behind Bobby McCarty, but we all know anything can happen at Hickory. Then with the Supers, you’ve got Jared Fryar with a seven-point lead over Raphael Lessard, that are currently holding down the first two points positions. You could easily see someone that isn’t even in the points battle win Saturday at Hickory and then have their ticket punched to Bristol. This weekend’s race at Hickory will have several storylines outside of the race itself. I think fans will be treated with a pretty big event Saturday night.” Jacklyn Drake – CARS Response Energy Tour TV Personality

For more information and to stay up with all the latest news and information about the CARS Response Energy Tour, featuring both Late Model Stock Car and Super Late Model divisions, visit www.carsracingtour.com or contact the tour’s office directly at 704-662-9212. Stay social with the tour by “liking” the CARS Tour Facebook page and following along on Twitter @CARSTour.


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