For Southern National Motorsports Park, 2015 is a year of change.  With new leadership, a retooled premier division, and a marquee season-opening event for the debuting CARS Tour, the year promises to be unlike any other at the circuit.

Langley Austin, founder of, is the new promoter at the 4/10 mile NASCAR-sanctioned oval in Lucama, North Carolina. Austin will bring two seasons of experience with him, as he has previously promoted events at Franklin County Speedway in Callaway, Virginia and Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, North Carolina.

“I really appreciate the opportunity from [owner] Mike Diaz to be the first NASCAR track that I’ve been involved in,” said Austin on the new post. “Previously I’ve been at outlaw race tracks. I’m interested to see how it works and what they [NASCAR] do for short tracks and how much effort they put into it.”

Austin brings a fresh approach to the facility, which re-opened for the 2012 season under the management of current owners Diaz and Jerry Brown.

“Most promoters just want to keep the status quo and do the same things everyone else is doing, follow Motor Mile and South Boston,” said Austin. “I’m not interested in that. I want Southern National to be the forefront of short track racing because we’re going to do things differently.”

Austin hopes this unique approach will rejuvenate Southern National, which struggled to consistently draw fans last season.

“The one thing that Southern National has lacked over the last three seasons has been the crowd,” said Austin. “The fans were there when the track re-opened, but they faded away. There’s not as much I can do about the racing product, but I can make it where it’s an event and a spectacle.”

Part of Austin’s impact on Southern National for 2015 includes a blending of the Late Model Stock Car division with the Limited Late Models, in hopes of producing a strong premier division at the NASCAR-sanctioned facility.

“We’ve gone with more of a limited rules package, but it’s a blending of the limited and the late model cars,” said Austin of the alteration. “We expect there will be a handful of late model guys that will still run with us.  It’s a way for us to combine two successful divisions and make them extremely successful and both groups be competitive.”

Austin is particularly optimistic about the U-Car division at Southern National, for good reason. Last season, the class routinely drew fields of 15 or more cars, including a 24-car grid for the annual Thanksgiving Classic.

“The U-Car class at Southern National is one of the best in the country,” said Austin. “We changed a lot in the Late Models, but we didn’t change much at all in the U-Cars.  They’re really big there, and we’re going to have some big races for them.”

“I like to treat that UCar guy and that Legend car guy the same way I treat the Late Models,” added Austin. “I built a reputation at Franklin County on being the fan of the smaller guys and treating them with the same respect that the Late Model guys get.  A lot of tracks don’t do that.”

Southern National’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will begin on April 11th, headlined by twin 50-lap races for the Late Models. However, their first event of 2015 will come on March 28th, when the high-banked oval will host the inaugural event of the CARS Racing Tour.

The CARS Tour, formerly the X-1R Pro Cup Series, will hold 150-lap Super Late Model and Late Model Stock races that Saturday. The list of Late Model drivers committed to the CARS Tour includes three drivers with nine combined track championships at Southern National, with four-time champs Deac McCaskill and Jamey Caudill alongside 2014 Late Model Stock Car champion Tommy Lemons, Jr.

Meanwhile, the CARS Tour’s Super Late Model field will include the likes of 2012 PASS South champion Kyle Grissom, 2014 PASS South champion Tyler Church, 2004 Snowball Derby winner Steve Wallace, and newly-crowned 2015 World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing champion Zane Smith.

“It’s a good way to kick off the season,” said Austin. “The series has a lot of publicity. I think it’s going to be good for us as our opener because it will draw a really good crowd. It’ll give us some momentum and something to build off of with our first NASCAR race just two weeks later.”

The CARS Tour will also return on May 30th for another 300-lap day of racing. The PASS series will visit Southern National on September 26th, with 200 laps slated for that event.

Along with the traditional Thanksgiving Classic on November 27-29th and the Halloween Spooktacular on October 31st, there are two dates on the Southern National schedule with events to be announced at a later time.

Along with the traditional Thanksgiving Classic on November 27-29th and the Halloween Spooktacular on October 31st, Southern National recently announced it is adding the Jerry Moody Memorial to its calendar for 2015. The Late Model Stock Car race will take place on April 26th, three days after the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at South Boston.

Moody was a long-time car owner for drivers at Southern National, including Caudill, Scott Riggs, and Matt McCall. Moody was also the father of 20-year-old Haley Moody, last season’s Limited Late Model track champion at Southern National. He passed away after a battle with cancer on November 24, 2013.

“Most of his years were spent at Southern National,” said Austin. “We really want to do that race as a big tribute to him.”

“That’s the weekend of the Richmond race for the Cup series,” added Austin. “There’s nothing else going on that Sunday, it could be an opportunity to have a big event in the spring.”

There are also two other dates on the Southern National schedule, with events to be announced at a later time.

2015 will be the 20th season of racing at Southern National, which opened in 1993 but was dormant from 2009 to 2011. Former drivers at the track include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star and 2003 track champion Denny Hamlin and two-time track champion and four-time NASCAR Xfinity Series race winner Scott Riggs.