Neither Bobby McCarty nor Mike Jones has ever raced in a CARS Tour Late Model race, but they both figure October 14 is the perfect time to start.
The CARS Tour will make its inaugural stop at South Boston Speedway on Saturday, October 14 with a 125-lap race for the CARS Tour Late Models and a 125-lap race for the CARS Tour Super Late Models.
McCarty and Jones will be two of at least four South Boston regular competitors attempting to make the AutosbyNelson.com CARS Tour 250. Timothy Peters and Brandon Pierce have also committed to the late model race.
Austin Thaxton, who finished sixth in South Boston’s Late Model points this season, will be racing in the CARS Super Late Model event. He will be driving for the Georgia-based team that he has made several starts for this season.
“South Boston is a place where we run well and the money they (CARS) pay is really good,” McCarty said, explaining his decision to enter. “That and Mr. Nelson (car owner Barry Nelson) is sponsoring the race, so it would be a big deal for me to win a race with his name on it.”
McCarty scored four late model wins in the regular season at South Boston on his way to a runner-up finish in the points. McCarty said his experience should be a help, but it may not be a huge advantage.
“Yes and no,” McCarty responded when asked about a home-track advantage. “I know how the track will play out. I know the groove well, but I don’t know the tires they use so that could throw things off a bit.”
Not only will it be Jones’ first CARS Tour race, it will be his first Late Model race. Period. He’s been a regular in South Boston’s Limited Sportsman Division for several years and recorded three wins this year.
“I’ve been after dad for a year or more to do this,” said Jones, referring to his car owner and father Dean Jones. “I heckled him about it all of this year. So, I got with my chassis guy and engine builder, decided we could do it and I submitted an entry. Then I told dad we were racing.”
Even though he doesn’t have any Late Model experience, he believes his time at South Boston in a Limited car will pay off.
“I’d like to think it’s an advantage running here. I’ve probably got 2,000 laps here on the new pavement and probably 10,000 total,” said Jones. “That was the reason I was trying to coax him (his father) to do it. It’s better than going to a track we haven’t seen before.”
Both McCarty and Jones know they will need every advantage they can get going head-to-head with the solid field of CARS regulars.
Layne Riggs brings a four-point lead over Josh Berry into the October 14 CARS Tour season finale. Berry’s Junior Motorsports teammate Anthony Alfredo is another five points back. Berry leads the tour with four wins while Riggs and Alfredo have two each.
The CARS Tour Late Model race will also have some former South Boston runners, including Deac McCaskill, Ronald Hill and Justin Johnson.