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With the goal of taking the next step in national prominence, the CARS Tour released the names of its Touring 12 participants this year and they represent some of the very best in Late Model Stock Car competition.

The program is designed to spotlight the full-time drivers, with the sanctioning body providing extra purse money and a merchandising platform simply for showing up for each event during the 2018 season.

The following 12 drivers will have their annual entry fee reduced to $825 for the entire season — a savings of nearly $1,000. These teams will also be able to purchase two sets of race tires per event for a $100 discount per set.

Additional Touring 12 benefits include four general admission tickets to each race for promotional use, a guarantee of $500 per race attempted if they fail to qualify for the feature event and the driver will receive sales commission on a paid for merchandise line that will be available throughout the campaign.

Without further ado, here are the drivers selected for the inaugural Touring 12 program:

  1. Josh Berry | Mooresville, NC | JR Motorsports
  2. Sam Mayer | Franklin, WI | JR Motorsports
  3. Layne Riggs | Bahama, NC | Scott Riggs Enterprises
  4. Charlie Watson | Lenoir, NC | C&C Racing
  5. Branon Pierce | Oak Ridge, NC | Nelson Motorsports
  6. Cody Haskins | Marietta, GA | Cody Haskins Motorsports
  7. Craig Moore | Rougemont, NC | Craig Moore
  8. Ty Gibbs | Charlotte, NC | Joe Gibbs Racing/Marlowe Motorsports
  9. Ronald Hill | Rougemont, NC | Ronald Hill Racing
  10. Bradley McCaskill | Wendell, NC | Renfrow-McCaskill Racing
  11. Justin Johnson | Semora, NC | Robert Tyler Racing
  12. Grayson Cullather | Chesterfield, VA | Jumpstart Motorsports

The selection process considered multiple factors including CARS Tour loyalty, marketability, future development of the series and its fan base, and the ability to fulfill the guidelines throughout the 2018 season.

“First of all to have 21 team and driver combinations apply for this program is unbelievable,” CARS Tour owner Jack McNelly said. “I think it speaks volume on the possibility of 2018 being the best season yet for the CARS Tour. To have that many teams interested in potentially running the full season is big. Furthermore let me tell you how difficult it was to get to these twelve team and driver combinations. While we want each and every competitor in Late Model Stocks to race at least once with us this season, having these twelve teams and drivers to help build the series is going to be a big factor in growing this series to the next level.”

That list includes the reigning series champion, Josh Berry, and his new teammate, Sam Mayer at JR Motorsports. NASCAR is also represented by Ty Gibbs, grandson of Joe Gibbs, of Joe Gibbs Racing. Championship runner-up Layne Riggs, son of national touring veteran Scott Riggs, also made the cut.

CARS Tour also has a loyalty program for non-Touring 12 members as well in the ‘Three & Get Green’ initiative. Any competitor not part of the Touring 12 will receive $500 in bonus money for racing in any three consecutive events on the schedule.

So plain and simple, at that third consecutive race a team competes in, they will receive $500 added to their winnings from the event. A competitor who competes in all twelve 2018 events will end up receiving $2,000 in bonus money throughout the year.

The CARS Tour season is set to begin on March 10 with a Late Model Stock standalone event at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, North Carolina — a race that pays $10,000 to the winner.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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