If there was one ‘de facto’ home track for the CARS Racing Tour, it might be Hickory Motor Speedway.
The Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars is most known for its weekly sanctioned action but has built a reputation for some of the biggest moments in CARS Tour history over the past five years, especially as it pertains the overwhelming success of the Throwback 276 special event.
In fact, no other track has hosted more CARS Tour races than Hickory’s nine.
Thus, the first Tour race of the season in the foothills of the High Country comes with great anticipation, especially off a solid pair of season-openers for both the Late Model Stocks and Super Late Models on March 9 at Southern National Motorsports Park.
And due to the track’s centralized location, the spring CARS Tour race generally produces a great mix of series regulars and weekly contenders geared up for a run towards the Hickory Motor Speedway track championship later this summer.
LATE MODEL STOCK PREVIEW
Josh Berry left Southern National feeling pretty dejected.
The pilot of the JR Motorsports No. 88 dominated the race but finished second to Brandon Pierce following series of bump-and-runs over the final two laps of the season opener.
But Berry has been the best driver at Hickory over the past half-decade with 24 total victories across the CARS Tour and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. He’s also the 2014 track champion.
“We had a great run in the opener at Southern National, but the finish has made me motived as ever for this weekend,” Berry said in a press release. “Hickory has been a great track for me over the years, and as strong as our cars are, I know that we will be up front in our All Things Automotive Chevrolet.
“Hopefully we can have another great race that will give us a great start to the season.”
Berry is also the only driver pulling double-duty as he is set to drive the No. 97 Solid Rock Carriers Super Late Model owned by Buggy Pletcher and DLP Motorsports.
CARS LMSC Tour Pre Entered Drivers: #08 Deac McCaskill, #07 Bradley McCaskill, #01 Camden Guillie, #1 Craig Moore, #1P Brody Pope, #2 Brandon Pierce, #4 Jonathan Findley, #4H Leland Honeyman, #12 Austin McDaniel, #14 Vince Midas, #17 Taylor Gray, #17P Stacy Puryear, #18 Ty Gibbs, #19 Cameron Bowen, #19C Jessica Cann, #22 Bobby McCarty, #25 Zack St. Onge, #27 Tommy Lemons, #54 Tanner Gray, #57 Justin Carroll, #63 Tyler Matthews, #74 Ronald Hill, #77 Trevor Ward, #81 Mini Tyrrell, #88 Josh Berry, #95 Jacob Heafner, #98 Adam Lemke, #99 Layne Riggs (28 total)
SUPER LATE MODEL PREVIEW
Pulling a double duty of a different kind is Super Late Model veteran Brandon Setzer, who will begin his weekend at Martinsville Speedway working with the Kyle Busch Motorsports Truck Series team.
But the 25-year-old will make his way west as soon as the Truck race comes to a conclusion, hopefully in time for yet another foothill checkered flag.
Across all nine CARS Tour races held at Hickory, Setzer has accumulated two wins, five poles, and six top-10s. For all the track activity leading up to the race, Setzer will hand the driving duties over to his father, NASCAR veteran and winner Dennis Setzer to dial-in their No. 6.
“Hickory is going to be a lot different for us this weekend,” Setzer said. “I’ll be in Martinsville Friday and Saturday for the Truck Race working my normal job for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“As soon as the race is over I’ll head to Hickory as fast as I can. More than likely I won’t get any laps until they drop the green flag, but we’ve got plenty of laps on the car there, so I’m confident it will be right. Pops will hop in and shake it down and tune on it for practice, so that will be really cool for him to be back behind the wheel. It’s going to be a big challenge coming from the rear, but I think it can be done. It’s going to be a blast this weekend, I can’t wait.”
CARS SLM Tour Pre Entered Drivers: #00 Anthony Cataldi, #6 Brandon Setzer, #8 Tate Fogleman, #14 Jared Fryar, #16 Molly Hulmuth, #17 Mike Speeney, #21B Bronson Butcher, #22 Tim Hollis, #24 Colin Garrett, #27 Tyler Church, #34 Nolan Pope, #37 Dan Speeney, #45 Kodie Conner, #49 Jeff Batten, #54 Matt Craig, #78 Corey Heim, #96 Wyatt Alexander, #97 Josh Berry (18 total)
The event, along with all CARS Tour races, can be viewed online via a CARS Tour Dot TV subscription package for $24.99 a month. This package includes an archive of all previous CARS Tour races.