While IndyCar, Formula One, and NASCAR get nearly all of the attention when it comes to televised racing. However, there are numerous racing series including go-karts, sprint cars, stock cars open wheel cars, and late models. When the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour Series gets underway this year, it will do so with four new owners; all who are very familiar with racing. The CARS Tour includes Pro Late Models and Late Model Stock Cars.
Four former drivers, two team owners, two broadcasters, one NASCAR driver, and a NASCAR Hall of Famer make for an impressive group of owners with Trackhouse Racing co-owner Justin Marks; current NASCAR driver Kevin Harvic; former driver and NBC broadcaster Jeff Burton; and former driver, broadcaster, NASCAR Xfinity Series team owner, and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Jr spoke on his newest acquisition saying, “this This is a dream come true for me. I’m a huge fan of the CARS Tour and local short-track racing. The competition, the tracks and the drivers are some of the best around. These regional series are vital to the quality of racing you see at the top level. Jack (McNelly, CARS Tour founder) has done a tremendous job establishing the CARS Tour as a preeminent series, and I’m thrilled to be part of its future.”
Jack McNelly and his staff will continue to oversee the day to day operations of the series. The new CARS Tour owners promise that nothing else will change. The CARS Tour will run for 19 weekends beginning March 11.
However, the new ownership does hope to build up the health and longevity of the series in the form of brand management, business strategy, and partnerships – both new acquisitions and retention of current partners.
Creator and former owner Jack McNelly said, “owning and developing the CARS Tour has been an honor and one I’m immensely proud of. Fortunately, it’s in the best of hands with this new group. They have the passion and talent to take the Tour to the next level. I can’t wait to see what this next chapter brings for everyone involved.”
He added, “I give my heartfelt thanks to all that have contributed to the success of the series over the years. It has truly been a team effort. The CARS Tour staff, officials, competitors, sponsors and fans have made this series one of the best in the country.”
Current driver of the number four car for Stewart-Haas Racing car Kevin Harvick spoke on being a part of the new CARS Tour ownership saying, “I grew up racing Late Model Stock Cars on the West Coast. Late Model racing has always been a passion of mine, and I want to ensure short-track asphalt racing and the CARS Tour continue to grow and succeed. I look forward to sharing the responsibility with this like-minded group of racers.”
Harvick added, “This is going to be fun because of the fact that I want to be in the car. I want to be in the pits. I want to be in the grandstands. I want to know what these competitors are struggling with and really be a part of this group and try to make it better.”
Trackhouse Racing co-owner and former race car driver Justin Marks added, “this is something I’m really excited about, not only for Trackhouse and the initiatives that we’re pursuing, but for short-track racing in general. Asphalt Late Model racing truly is the foundation of NASCAR and bringing a group like this together will serve the racer and fan. The CARS Tour is so important to the racing scene in the Southeast, and this group can bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and passion to the series that will ensure authentic and valuable growth in the years to come.”
Jeff Burton added, “the opportunity to work with a group of partners that I have so much respect for in the sport that I love is amazing. Collectively, I believe we can contribute to grass-roots racing and the overall health of motorsports in the process. By building off the positive foundation Jack has built, I’m confident we can create a next-level experience for the competitors, partners and fans.”
NASCAR drivers Josh Berry, Harrison Burton, William Byron, Ty Gibbs, Sam Mayer, Zane Smith, Christian Eckes, Corey Heim, and Myatt Snider have all run in the CARS Tour prior to coming to NASCAR.
Carson Kvapil, Deac McCaskill, Bobby McCarty and Layne Riggs are among the current stars of the series.
Feature photo credit: Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Facebook page