Deep in the heart of Parker, CO, NASCAR Regional Series Champion Cody Dempster awaits a daring adventure. A journey spanning over 1,500 miles from the comfort of his hometown to the bustling hub of racing in Mooresville, NC. In 2024, Dempster is set to embark on a thrilling new chapter, as he gears up to join the ranks of the CARS Late Model Stock Tour for a full-time campaign.
It will be a huge step for the former Colorado National Speedway Super Late Model track champion. Not only will it be his biggest endeavor travel-wise of his career, it will also be his first time competing in a Late Model Stock.
The decision to go CARS Tour racing stems from a want to travel away from his home track of Colorado National Speedway. He has ventured west with the Spears SRL Southwest Tour and east with CRA in the past, but on a part-time basis. With no Super Late Model racing in the near vicinity of the Centennial State, racing full-time on the other side of the country became the more financially sound decision.
“We wanted to do more than just race in Colorado. I’ve raced in Colorado my whole life, I’ve done some touring stuff in go-karting and with hit or miss appearances in Super Late Model racing. Being in Colorado, our other closest track is 12 or 13 hours away at Tuscon or in Vegas at the Bullring. It just makes it tough from a financial standpoint to go out there and do it weekly,” said Dempster. “We’re not in a big central hub and I don’t have a lot of connections out west to do it. There’s a lot more faces out east and I have friends out east that are making this whole thing possible from a financial standpoint. Running a touring Super Late Model series versus running a touring Late Model Stock is miles cheaper and it makes it a lot easier for a guy who funds his own racing to be able to do that.”
Dempster purchased a Reynolds Racing Chassis and will run the family team out of North Carolina with the help of some friends. Meanwhile, he will continue to live and work in Colorado while traveling east to go racing.
Even with living across the country from where the team will be located, he still has big potential plans with the new Late Model Stock.
“I still have an 8-4 job fixing heating and air conditioners. Me, my dad and one other guy are the whole company, we do everything we can out here to go play with racecars every weekend. Having connections out there to make running our team possible and potentially expand it in the coming year to year and a half is huge.”
With 17 races on the CARS Late Model Stock schedule in the Carolinas and Virginia, that equals to a lot of frequent flyer miles going back and forth from Denver to the East Coast in what he calls a “huge logistical nightmare.” That will include another trip east for a test date before the season opener on March 9 at Southern National Motorsports Park.
He has already spent time trying to learn the ins and outs of Late Model Stock racing from others in the Mid-Atlantic and how it compares to a Super Late Model.
“We’re going testing before our first race. I’ve talked to a lot of folks and from my understanding they have their own tweaks and things, how you drive them with finesse. A lot of it transfers back to a Super Late Model and what we’re doing on the setup side. At the end of the day, it’s still a Late Model; it’s just a little bit different.”
“There’s been a lot of prep. I’ve been planning since September budgeting and once the schedule came out, travel plans. There’s been some sponsor hunting, we’ve got Liberty Puzzles coming back on this year. They’re stoked, it’s a new market for them and most of their stuff is online, so it gets them good access into a new market. The guy that owns it (Jeff Eldridge) loves racing, he races boats himself. When we go to Nashville, he goes with.
When first asked about his goals for the 2024 season, he gave one that every racer can relate to.
“Not having to put a clip on a racecar.”
With a Rookie of the Year title up for grabs, Dempster has his sights set on being the top rookie. His biggest goal is for improvement in the new discipline week in and week out.
“From my understanding, I’m eligible for Rookie of the Year so I want to go out there and run for Rookie of the Year this year. The first couple of weeks, I know we’re going to go out there and we’re not going to hit the ground running. If we do, great; if we don’t, we’re not going to hang our heads too low. We’re going to go out and dig a little harder next week. By the middle and end of the season, I want to be running top-ten consistently, turning heads and people realizing hey, this kid isn’t just here to spend money, he’s here to do something serious.”
He has Jeff Eldridge and Liberty Puzzles to thank for their continued support and sponsorship for the 2024 CARS Late Model Stock Tour season. A race fan and boat racer himself, Eldridge jumped on board in 2020 and has played a big part in Dempster’s success over the years.
“Jeff has been fundamental with our program since 2020. He came on board and came to the racetrack a few times to see what we’re all about. He loved it and joined our program, and ever since he joined he’s been a huge fundamental part in giving us the ability to go out of town more and more each year on a smaller budget. Every little bit we can get helps and they’re just a small family company out of Boulder, CO. You can go tour the shop with them; you’ll be walking around with him and he knows every single person in that factory and he’ll say hi. He doesn’t just know a name, if you go out of town that weekend he knows and he asks about it. He’s a really caring person and he’s been fundamental in helping me chase my dream for the last five years.”
-Patriot Media and Marketing Release