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CARS Late Model Stock Tour

Takeaways from the CARS Tour Opener at Dillon

It was a fun afternoon of racing in South Carolina and most got home by dinner.

Eric Creel

It was refreshing on a tiny bullring like Dillon Motor Speedway to see mutual respect prevail in the battles between both Layne Riggs and Timothy Peters, but also Riggs and Justin Johnson, even if those battles looked nothing like each other.

Riggs and Peters raced side-by-side for multiple laps without touching each other in the middle stages of the race.

“There were times I could have moved him up the racetrack, and he would probably race me that way too under the right circumstances, but that’s short track racing. We raced each other hard, but respectfully, and we had fun today.

Johnson, on the other hand, did move Riggs up the racetrack and contested a different kind of battle for the lead. That was reciprocated by Riggs, who showed a lot of versatility in racing how he was raced, but no one got torn up.

It was a contrast to what took place on Saturday at the Hickory Motor Speedway opener between Ryan Millington and Landon Huffman.

Johnson didn’t want to win using the bumper, but felt he had no other way late on a tiny bullring and with a car that just wasn’t as good.

“I knew I didn’t have enough rear tire to complete the pass, honestly,” Johnson said to Short Track Scene. “I don’t like to win aggressively, but I would have expected the same thing.”

Riggs agreed.

We’re both trying to win the race, and you just have to expect the same thing (if the roles are reversed) next time,” Riggs said.

Riggs was the first person from another team to congratulate Johnson and it was the perfect way to end a competitive day of racing in South Carolina. -MW

Dillon A Welcomed Addition to CARS Tour Schedule

Before the green flag, many CARS Tour regulars and newcomers were unsure of what kind of race to expect on Saturday afternoon, with most of them anticipating the event to predominantly feature single-file racing on the bottom of the track.

While the bottom proved to be strong, drivers like Timothy Peters and Layne Riggs made the top side work, which led to several incredible battles for the lead that culminated with the finish between Riggs and Justin Johnson.

The CARS Tour has found tremendous fortune with new venues over the past year, with the series’ inaugural trips to Franklin County Speedway and Florence Motor Speedway also resulting in classic finishes. -BW

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The Season Truly Begins at Hickory

Technically, the Blacks Tire 125 was the season opener for the CARS Late Model Stock Tour, but you probably shouldn’t read too much into the results.

Sure, Layne Riggs and Justin Johnson will contend for wins, but you have to think the likes of Bobby McCarty, Brandon Pierce and Jonathan Shafer will be better once the season resumes on March 20 at Hickory.

This was pretty much the first time that the majority of the field raced at Dillon. The race was essentially added as an insurance date in the case that Rockingham can’t take place in October. It was the earliest a CARS Tour season has begun, and it showed in a light (but competitive) car count. When the season begins properly at a place like Hickory, that’s when you can start to draw conclusions about what kind of season it can become. -MW

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Competition Cautions Not Needed

The CARS Tour made a surprise announcement during the driver’s meeting on Saturday afternoon by eliminating the 40-lap competition cautions that had been a staple of the series since its inception in 2015.

With no breaks, the drivers had to put extra emphasis on conserving their equipment during the early portions of the event. The first and only caution did not fly until Lap 92 when Craig Moore lost a tire heading into Turn 1.

The lack of competition cautions ended up benefitting the overall quality of the race, as Riggs, Peters and Johnson simultaneously battled for the lead and saved their tires, while other drivers took advantage of others that did not execute the strategy properly to move up through the field late. -BW

Daytime Is the Right Time

It’s not feasible during the summer months, but daytime races during the spring and fall are just wonderful experiences.

It’s nice to show up to the racetrack around lunchtime and be able to return home by dinner time. The weather is perfect this time of year. Here’s to hoping the Thanksgiving Classic can take place this season. And by the way, now that both Cup races take place under the lights at Martinsville Speedway, maybe the Valleystar Credit Union 300 can return to its traditional Sunday afternoon time slot, too. -MW

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