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CARS Late Model Stock Tour

2023 CARS Tour Touring 12 Selected, Explained

These will be the faces of the tour this summer.

CARS Tour unveiled its Touring 12 loyalty program recipients on Wednesday night and it’s a familiar cast of teams and drivers.

The program benefits both participating teams, the series itself and fans who follow along throughout the summer. Touring 12 rewards teams that have either supported the series for several years or to drivers who have displayed tremendous marketing and social activation attributes for the purpose of promoting their races.

For fans, it guarantees a dozen guaranteed entries for each race as these drivers must compete for the entire season to receive their benefits.

“It’s a loyalty program for the competitors, the drivers and the owners,” said series president and founder Jack McNelly. “We started it in 2018. It has many befits to it. First and foremost, there is a financial benefit to it.”

Those benefits include:

  • 50 percent off entry fee
  • $150 ‘show money’ for each event
  • Built-in provisional if cars are sent home
  • A case of water or beer at each event
  • Four general admission tickets
  • A pair of T12 K1 Race Gear gloves
  • $100 off per set of tires

(Most teams buy two sets of tires per event week, so that’s $200 off a week)

“We try to showcase these competitors,” McNelly said. “They are the face of the series. Whether they are working their way to NASCAR or are perfectly content being a Late Model driver, we want to create extra exposure where we can.”

Director of operations Keeley Dubensky said it’s also a benefit to the markets they race in.

“When we select these drivers, we do it with the local economies in mind, because we boost these economies when we come to town,” she said. “We want these drivers to be representative of CARS Tour and short track racing. We go to local restaurants and give out tickets. This year, we’ll take them to the Air Force base at Langley. We really want to increase our military support this season.

“At autograph sessions, they’re required to bring hero cards and engage with fans before races.”

Series owner, and team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. says it’s an important marketing exercise for their younger drivers too.

“It’s a great thing for everyone,” Earnhardt said. “it’s a great way during broadcasts too to highlight these drivers. For these young drivers trying to work their way up the ranks to challenge them. Make them think about how they can create content or go the extra mile for their partners, something they’ll be able to use as they move on to the next thing.”

The Earnhardts withdrew their teams from Touring 12 consideration last year, even before Dale led an all-star ownership group to purchase CARS Tour, so more deserving grassroots teams could reap the rewards.

Thus, the eligible drivers for the Touring 12 this season are as follows:

  • Brandon Pierce, Lee Pulliam Performance
  • Brenden ‘Butterbean’ Queen, Lee Pulliam Performance
  • Mason Diaz, Chad Bryant Racing
  • Connor Hall, Chad Bryant Racing
  • Chad McCumbee, Elliott McCumbee Racing
  • Cale Gale, Nelson Motorsports
  • Jacob Heafner, Carroll Speedshot
  • Andrew Grady, Mike Darne Racing
  • Chase Burrow, Chase Burrow Motorsports
  • Mini Tyrrell, Timmy Tyrrell Racing
  • Isabella Robusto, Lee Faulk Racing and Development
  • Dylon Wilson, TwoBoros Performance

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 also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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