The CARS Response Energy Tour got their 2018 season started off with a big way with the Do the Dew 150 at Tri-County Motor Speedway. The season-opening race paid $10,000 to win and the heavy hitters of Late Model Stock Car racing made their way to the Hudson, NC track.

Among the top Late Model Stock Car racers were a handful of CARS Tour Rookies. They’ll be vying for a $1,000 Rookie of the Year award and after race one there are some clear favorites and some guys who need to get their program together to have a chance to win the award.

In this weeks PRW Chassis CARS Tour Rookie Report, we offer our scouting report on the rookies through race one and let you know what to expect at the next stop on the CARS Tour Late Model Stock Car series.

Sam Mayer, pictured at Myrtle Beach Speedway. Andy Marquis Photo

Sam Mayer #9
Of the eight rookies who entered the Do the Dew 150 at Tri-County, Sam Mayer was the cream of the crop. He finished third rallying from an 18th place qualifying effort. He kept his nose clean all day and brought home a great finish. He’s heading to a place in the next race at Myrtle Beach Speedway where his team has won the last two Myrtle Beach 400 events. It should be a good place for him to build on his Tri-County performance.

Cody Haskins pictured at Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC). Jaden Austin Photo

Cody Haskins #2
He didn’t have the best race at Tri-County but he rebounded from a mid-race wreck to finish ninth. Haskins started 14th and was working his way up when he got involved in a crash. He also collected the right front nose piece of Layne Riggs car (and it stayed there) when the two collided during the race. Needless to say, his race was an eventful one and he’ll be hoping for a calmer trip to Myrtle Beach.

Trevor Ward checks out his car in between practice and qualifying for the Do the Dew 150 at Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC). Jaden Austin Photo

Trevor Ward #77
He’s the highest finishing rookie not in the CARS Tour Touring 12 but Trevor Ward was looking for much more. He was third fastest during practice on Friday before the race and then on Saturday, he didn’t show near the speed. Ward started 21st and finished 18th but that’s not what you’ll see from this young hot shoe as the season progresses.

Brandon Pierce pictured at Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC). Jaden Austin Photo

Brandon Pierce #2
While his Nelson Motorsports teammates led laps and won the race, Brandon Pierce didn’t have near as good of a day. He seemed to have good speed in his car qualifying eighth but was unable to maintain his position as cars that missed it in qualifying raced towards the front. Pierce just didn’t have the day it looked like he was going to have finishing 20th, the last car on the lead lap. He’ll be looking for more in Myrtle Beach.

Grayson Cullather helps push his #22 Jumpstart Motorsports entry down pit road at Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC). Jaden Austin Photo

Grayson Cullather #22
Debuting with Jumpstart Motorsports, Grayson Cullather was expected to be among the contenders for not just the top rookie but for a spot near the front of the field. Cullather, unlike most of the competitors at Tri-County, was loose and couldn’t find the setup. Cullather, however, wasn’t alone as his teammate and team owner, Tommy Lemons, Jr. struggled mightily as well but was tight like most of the cars fought all weekend. Cullather had to take a provisional to make the field and his day never really got better as a piece of the track came up and punched a hole in his radiator ending his day. He would finish 26th but he’ll certainly be hoping for a better outing closer to the sand.

Charlie Watson was the only one of the Touring 12 drivers for the CARS Tour to miss the season-opening Do the Dew 150 at Tri-County Motor Speedway. Jaden Austin Photo

Charlie Watson #9
Despite being one of the Touring 12, Charlie Watson found himself on the outside looking in as he missed the Do the Dew 150 at Tri-County. Watson was the 30th fastest car, missing the race by four spots and was not eligible for a provisional based on last years car owner points standings. It wasn’t a total loss as the CARS Tour still pays Touring 12 drivers $500, even if they miss the race. Watson will be looking to rebound next weekend.

Jacob Heafner #95
Along with Watson, Heafner missed the field also. Driving a car for Justin Carroll, who finished second in the race, Heafner was unable to lay down a lap in qualifying to get himself in the field. Heafner finished 15th in the NASCAR sanctioned Icebreaker at Myrtle Beach Speedway in February and he’ll be looking to first make the field and get a decent run put together back at Myrtle Beach next weekend.

Andrew Garcia #12
This guy had a bad weekend. He didn’t get through practice cleanly and was never even a threat to grab a position in the race. He was one of five drivers to not make the race and the slowest of the bunch timing in three tenths out of the final lock-in position in qualifying. Andrew Garcia, if he makes the trip to Myrtle Beach, will be looking to redeem himself from a terrible weekend.

For full statistics on all the CARS Tour Rookies and every other driver check out