A new series for Mini Stock cars will launch in March offering 4-cylinder drivers in Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina an option to tour to many tracks in the region.
The Mini Stock Tour will be operated by Langley and Kimberly Austin under the umbrella of Moonshine Capital Promotions. The Austin’s operate the leading news and information website in the Southeast, RACE22.com and have promoted races over the last decade at Franklin County Speedway, Southern National Motorsports Park and Ace Speedway and most recently promoted the Southern Turkey Derby in November at Franklin County Speedway.
Langley Austin says the goal of launching this series is because he wants to sustain and grow a division that’s one of his favorites.
“I’ve had so many people over the last few years talk to me about doing a touring series, some Mini Stocks and some Late Models or Limiteds or even Chargers,” Austin said. “I grew up in an era when Mini Stock racing was really coming to life and really got my feet wet outside of Franklin County Speedway when Harold Crook had the Mini-Mod Madness tour every fall at area tracks. That was some of the most fun I ever had as a photographer and doing t-shirts for the drivers and I genuinely love Mini Stock racing and I’m glad to help try and grow this division today.”
The Southern Turkey Derby last November that we promoted really showed me where things are at with all the divisions in this region. We put up a little money for the Mini Stocks and they showed out. 28 cars made the trek to a track that had only had one race for that division all season. The idea behind this series started before that but we really started putting the wheels into motion after those guys showed up strong.”
The Mini Stock Tour hopes to compete at a variety of race tracks this season with dates already secured at a handful of venues. However, Austin says he hopes he can stay off of the dates of the Carolina Mini-Stock Challenge Series and has no plans to race up against what he says is the two biggest bases of Mini Stocks at Bowman Gray Stadium and Motor Mile Speedway.
“We’re looking to be a compliment to what Travis Provost and the Carolina Mini-Stock Challenge Series has done for Mini Stock racing in the Carolinas,” Austin explained. “We hope that we can align our schedules to where we don’t race against them and we know for sure looking at the schedules for Bowman Gray and Motor Mile, that we won’t compete against them.”
Austin says the rules for the Mini Stock Tour are geared to allow anyone with a Mini Stock in the four-state area to compete with little to no changes.
“We basically took the Carolina Mini-Stock Challenge Series rulebook copied it word for word and just made a few adjustments to allow for cars on the Western side of Virginia and Eastern Tennessee the chance to compete. The difference in rules from the Carolina’s to say Motor Mile and Kingsport Speedway wasn’t very much. Nothing that would make that big of a difference. That showed in our Turkey Derby race when despite a small disadvantage to the Carolina cars, they were able to claim all the top three positions in a race by Motor Mile Speedway’s Mod4 rules.
The top ten finishers were an even split with five Motor Mile competitors and five competitors from Bowman Gray Stadium in the top ten. That tells you how close the rules were between Mini Stocks in the Carolina’s and Mod4’s at Motor Mile and Kingsport. We’ve blended those rules to make sure everyone can compete with us and not change anything and go right back to racing at Motor Mile or Bowman Gray or in the Carolina Mini-Stock Challenge Series the next week.”
The Mini Stock Tour is planning an eight to ten race season and is working to finalize plans to compete at as many as seven different venues with most located on the Western side of Virginia, North and South Carolina and in Eastern Tennessee. Austin said despite not being able to announce the schedule in full today, he wanted to get the announcement out there as soon as possible.
“We’ve got a handful of loose ends to tie up before we release the schedule in its entirety,” Austin commented. “I really wanted to release at least all our spring dates and tracks but we have some things to work out yet. We’re hoping to have two dates in March, one in April and then hit or miss through the summer until we can finish the season with four or more events in the fall when everyone is done with points and most tracks are closed for the season.”
The Star City Stunner at Franklin County Speedway, which will serve as the season opener for the Mini Stock Tour will be a 50-lap race paying $1,000 to the winner and $100 to start. That event is being sponsored by part-time Mini Stock competitor Dennis Holdren and his business Hannabass and Rowe Collision Centers. Entry forms for that race will be posted in the next couple of days as well as other events for March and April.
The lone April date will take place on April 11th at Hickory Motor Speedway as the Mini Stock Tour races alongside the Pro All-Stars Series (PASS) during the Easter Bunny 150. That race will also be 50-laps and will pay $1,000 to win and $100 to start. A couple of holiday weekend dates will dot the summer with more races planned for the fall.
“Going to Hickory with the PASS series is a big deal for the Mini Stock Tour,” Austin said. “Tom and Mike Mayberry have given us a chance to race in front of a large crowd and at one of the biggest spring events in the Southeast. It’s also a track that Mini Stocks don’t get to race at very often and that’s what we’re hoping to do with a lot of our schedule is to take these guys places they don’t get to race much and many might have never been to. We’re hoping our fall races are at places like Tri-County, Kingsport and other tracks where a lot of these guys have never raced. We’ve still got some places we’re trying to reach out to and the schedule will be a work in progress.”
Austin says he’s going to do what he can to give these guys a bigger spotlight and if they show up the races will get even bigger.
“These guys racing four-cylinders deserve the spotlight just as much as a Late Model and that’s what we’re hoping to give them. Bigger races, bigger purses and bigger audiences to race in front of. Now all they have to do is show up in numbers and show these tracks what we have to offer and we can build something really big for them.”
For more information on the Mini Stock Tour visit our new website, which is still under construction at http://www.ministocktour.com/ or find us @ministocktour on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Cover photo by Andy Newsome.