Defending CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour champion Jared Fryar will be joining a talented group of drivers as he makes his NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour debut at Martinsville Speedway on Thursday evening.
Fryar admitted that several different things had to happen for him to race a Modified at Martinsville but he is looking forward to making the most of his opportunity driving for Bryan Dauzat.
“My spotter Tony White linked me and Dauzat with each other,” Fryar said. “I had some people come together to help me with tires and a few other things and we got everything worked out.”
Fryar has primarily raced in Late Model Stocks and Super Late Models during his career and is the only driver in CARS Tour history to win a title in both divisions.
In 2019, Fryar began to test his luck in Modifieds when he entered in a Southern Modified Racing Series event at Hickory Motor Speedway for Fishel Racing.
Fryar ended up finishing ninth in that race but would not team up with Fishel again until the SMART Modified Tour season-opener at Caraway Speedway last month.
The 99-lap feature proved to be a tremendous learning experience for Fryar, who battled his way from 16th on the grid to a strong, seventh-place finish.
“I learned a lot about how these guys pace themselves and how hard they race,” Fryar said. “These guys race super hard and everyone was wheel-to-wheel the last 20 laps. Nothing came easy [at Caraway].”
Some key aspects about Modified racing Fryar has notice in his two starts are the amount of tire falloff in a run and how differing strategies result in a lot of drivers coming and going through the field.
Fryar expects Thursday’s race to be similar in many regards with the exception being the quality and quantity of the field he will be going up against.
Along with the typical crowd that includes series champions in Doug Coby, Justin Bonsignore and Ryan Preece, Fryar will also have to contend against 2008 Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman and 2000 NASCAR Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte.
While Fryar believes the car Dauzat has prepared is strong enough to run up front, he knows that a strong qualifying run will be crucial in determining how his evening will play out from a strategy and competitive standpoint.
“Obviously our first goal is to make the race and then just try to do the best we can,” Fryar said. “If we can run in the Top 10, I’ll be tickled but I have very little experience in both Modifieds and at Martinsville, so that race is going to favor those who have raced there in the past.”
Fryar anticipates Thursday to bring plenty of challenges but he is ready to represent the CARS LMSC Tour with pride as he takes part in the first Whelen Modified Tour race at Martinsville since 2010.