2023 CARS Tour at Southern National Motorsports Park

Everything You Need To Know Before CARS Tour Season Opener

Everything You Need To Know Before CARS Tour Season Opener

With the CARS Tour season right around the corner, here is everything you need to know before the first race of the season at Southern National.

Mar 10, 2023 by Rob Blount

The 2023 CARS Tour season kicks off Saturday at Kenly, North Carolina’s Southern National Motorsports Park for both the Late Model Stock Car and Pro Late Model divisions, and it will do so live on FloRacing for the first time. If you’re new to the CARS Tour, allow us to catch you up to speed on everything you need to know about the premier Late Model Stock Car touring division in the Southeast.

What Is The CARS Tour?

Let’s start with a brief history lesson. The CARS Tour was founded in late 2014 and debuted in 2015. It began out of the remnants of the old Pro Cup Series, which was a stock car touring series. Then-owner Jack McNelly revamped his series into a dual Late Model touring series, featuring Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models. 

As the Late Model Stock Car division grew healthier and healthier, the Super Late Model division began to falter and car counts started to shrink. McNelly then did away with the Super Late Model division in favor of a new Pro Late Model division before the 2022 season began.

At the end of the 2022 season, series founder Jack McNelly sold the CARS Tour to an ownership group consisting of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, and Justin Marks. The new ownership group has made it a point to look towards the future, while also keeping an eye on the past to ensure that the CARS Tour doesn’t lose any of its grassroots charm while it continues to grow.

What Are The Divisions?

As we mentioned above, the CARS Tour consists of the Late Model Stock Car division, which has been around since the series began in 2015, and the Pro Late Model division, which is now entering its second season.

The Late Model Stock Car is a “perimeter” chassis that is raced primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Most tracks in the Carolinas, Virginia, and eastern Tennessee run the Late Model Stock Car as its headlining division. 

The Pro Late Model is a “straight-rail” chassis, identical to the Super Late Model. The main difference between a Pro and Super is that Pro Late Models run a Crate engine that produces about 425 horsepower compared to the 550-600 horsepower that Super Late Model engines produce. The Pro Late Model is a cheaper alternative to the Supers, which has made the discipline become more of a developmental division than a headlining division around the country.

Who Are The Stars?

One place where the CARS Tour certainly isn’t lacking is in the star-power department. Between younger hotshoes and the grizzled veterans, the Late Model Stock Car division is jam-packed with big names.

We’ll start off with Carson Kvapil, the defending LMSC division champion. The 19-year-old Kvapil is a second-generation racer, the son of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion, Travis Kvapil. He also races the No. 8 for JR Motorsports, so you know Kvapil has all of “Junior Nation” backing him.


VIDEO: Carson Kvapil On Why CARS Tour Is The Best Tour

Then there’s 45-year-old Deac McCaskill on the opposite end of the spectrum. McCaskill has won championships at Southern National Motorsports Park, the site of this weekend’s season-opener, and he’s a nine-time winner with the CARS Tour. Oh, and he was also the series’ second LMSC division champion, claiming the title back in 2016. 

And then there’s the “Touring 12,” which this year is made up of Brandon Pierce, Brendon Queen, Connor Hall, Cale Gale, Chad McCumbee, Jacob Heafner, Mini Tyrell, Isabella Robusto, Andrew Grady, Dylon Wilson, Chase Burrow, and Mason Diaz. 

The Touring 12 is a program that is meant to place extra emphasis on drivers and teams who commit to helping the series grow by racing full-time, and through social media and marketing efforts. 

Where Are The Races?

With the CARS Tour being a Mid-Atlantic touring series, the series stays in the Carolinas and Virginia. The 2023 season consists of 19 dates, with the Late Model Stock Cars racing 16 times, and the Pro Late Models racing 13 times. 

The 2023 season will open with a LMSC/PLM doubleheader at the 4/10-mile high-banked oval of Southern National Motorsports Park on Saturday, March 11, and it will end on November 4 at North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway.

In North Carolina, the CARS Tour will race at the aforementioned Southern National Motorsports Park, as well as Hickory Motor Speedway, Ace Speedway, North Wilkesboro Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, Wake County Speedway, and New River All-American Speedway.

In South Carolina, the series will run at the Florence Motor Speedway, and Dillon Motor Speedway.

And in Virginia, the series will race at the Langley Speedway, Dominion Raceway, and South Boston Speedway.

How Can I Watch?

Every single CARS Tour event will be broadcast live on FloRacing due to a new partnership agreement between the CARS Tour, NASCAR, and FloRacing. All 19 events will be included in the annual FloRacing subscription for just $150. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can become one by clicking here.