The ongoing tire shortage currently plaguing short track racing has made its first major impact on the CARS Tour.
During the driver’s meeting for the Throwback 276, series owner Jack McNelly announced that the Solid Rock Carriers 125 scheduled at Wake County Speedway for Aug. 14 would be postponed until Oct. 9.
McNelly wanted to avoid any setbacks while Hoosier dealt with their shortage but said that a postponement became inevitable as the weeks progressed.
“The handwriting was kind of on the wall,” McNelly said. “Things were progressively getting worse and Hoosier gave me a call on Monday to let me know that [the Wake County] tires were not scheduled for manufacturing until Aug. 25.”
Many tracks around the United States have been forced to either postpone or cancel events because of tire scarcity, which is stemming from factors such as a lack of raw materials to an increased demand from tracks.
The CARS Tour initially adjusted to the shortage by limiting the amount of practice tires teams could purchase before announcing that none would be sold for the Throwback 276.
McNelly does not believe tire availability will be an issue for the next event at Motor Mile on Aug. 28, as Hoosier has told him a set of practice and race tires will be ready for competitors to use for the weekend.
While McNelly is optimistic about Motor Mile going on as scheduled, he expressed his concern about the shortage potentially getting more severe and creating more issues for the series and its younger drivers.
“This is not only a financial burden but a competitive burden,” McNelly said. “Hoosier isn’t making any money but we have a lot of young kids that need all the track time they can get. Josh Berry and Deac McCaskill could probably unload and put tires on to go race but that’s not true with 3/4 of the field.”
With Wake County being moved to October, the CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour is set to now run three consecutive weekends in the fall with the date in between races at Florence Motor Speedway and South Boston Speedway.
McNelly said the CARS Tour is no stranger to adversity after dealing with a season dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic but he hopes the series can weather the tire shortage for how much longer it persists.
“We ran consecutive weeks during COVID,” McNelly said. “We sucked it up and got it done. I truly thought when this first started that it would get straightened out in a couple months. Things are worse now than what they were in May.”
Following the Throwback 276, the CARS Tour will have to get through six more Late Model Stock races and three Super Late Model events as the tire shortage continues.