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CARS Late Model Stock Tour

CARS Tour Event Preview: Franklin County Speedway

Andy Marquis

Franklin County Speedway will host both divisions of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour for the first time ever after a schedule shakeup and Saturday night’s 250 has quickly become one of the most anticipated events in series history.

Franklin County Speedway, located in the mountains of Callaway, Virginia, is a gritty, high-banked 3/8-mile bullring that is known for thrilling racing.  Throughout its over 50-year history, Franklin County Speedway has seen many legendary racers compete and, on Saturday, two more drivers will add their names to a long and illustrious list of winners.

In the most recent CARS Late Model Stock Tour race, Jonathan Findley became the latest winner in the series over Mini Tyrrell, who is riding a wave of momentum following a pair of podium finishes, and Brandon Pierce.  Meanwhile, the CARS Super Late Model Tour returns to action for the first time since Hickory on August 1st where Matt Craig picked up his seventh career victory on the tour.

Jared Fryar leads the CARS Late Model Stock Tour by nine points over Layne Riggs and 12 points over rookie Connor Mosack while Matt Craig leads the Super Late Model title fight by 21 points over Carson Kvapil. 250 Notes & Quotes


Track and Location: Franklin County Speedway – Callaway, Virginia
Length: 0.375 mi (0.604 km)
Laps / Distance: 125 laps / 45.375 mi / 73 km (LMSC & SLM)
Event Schedule:

  • Practice: LMSC 1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., SLM 1:35 p.m. – 2:05pm, LMSC 2:10 p.m. – 2:40 p.m., SLM 2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
  • Qualifying: LMSC 5:15 p.m. (single car), SLM 5:45 p.m. (single car)
  • Green: 7:00 p.m., SLM (125 laps) followed by LMSC (125 laps)

Twitter Accounts / Event Hashtag: @CARSTour / @FCSpeedway / #AutosByNelson250

Media Coverage:

– CARS Tour TV ( will have the LIVE race broadcast.

– Speed51 ( will provide Trackside Now live coverage.

– Race22 ( will provide Raceday Live coverage.

– CARS Tour Facebook ( / CARS Tour Twitter (@CARSTour)

LMSC Entry List (23 total)

  1. 08 – Justin Johnson
  2. 1 – Nolan Pope
  3. 2 – Brandon Pierce
  4. 2s – Jonathan Shafer
  5. 4 – Jonathan Findley
  6. 4D – Kyle Dudley
  7. 8 – TBA
  8. 14 – Jared Fryar
  9. 16 – Chad McCumbee
  10. 17 – Chris Carroll
  11. 17P – Stacy Puryear
  12. 18 – Ricky Gillespie
  13. 19 – Deac McCaskill
  14. 19c – Jessica Cann
  15. 22 – Bobby McCarty
  16. 51 – Matt Cox
  17. 63 – Tyler Matthews
  18. 74 – Ronald Hill
  19. 78 – Corey Heim
  20. 81 – Mini Tyrrell
  21. 87 – Mike Looney
  22. 88 – Connor Mosack
  23. 99 – Layne Riggs

SLM Entry List (11 total)

  1. 7 – Justin Crider
  2. 15 – Mike Hopkins
  3. 22 – Trevor Noles
  4. 26 – Bubba Pollard
  5. 35 – Jake Garcia
  6. 35 – Carson Kvapil
  7. 45 – Kodie Conner
  8. 49 – Jeff Batten
  9. 51 – Sammy Smith
  10. 54 – Matt Craig
  11. 56 – Gus Dean



Hometown hero Mike Looney to make CARS Tour debut

Mike Looney has become one of the most prolific drivers in Late Model Stock Car racing after winning the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway back in 2016 with an underfunded team.  Now, the 42-year-old from nearby Roanoke, Virginia is hoping to get a victory in his first CARS Tour race at a track he has enjoyed a lot of success at over the years.

“There are so many talented drivers and powerhouse race teams in the CARS Tour,” Looney said.  “It’s cool to go somewhere and see how you stack up with those guys.  When a race this big comes to our backyard, we can’t miss out on racing somewhere where we don’t have to get motel rooms, which is a big part of our budget racing out of town.  What a great racetrack to race at.  Franklin is where I started and won my first race.  I have a lot of memories at Franklin.  It should be a barnburner.  If I wasn’t racing, I would be in the stands watching it.”

Despite all his wins at Franklin County Speedway over the years, which also includes a Pure Stock championship in 1998, Looney doesn’t see himself as a surefire favorite for the victory on Saturday.  He knows experience will help him but respects the talent and equipment many of the CARS Tour competitors will show up with on Saturday and he expects many of them to adapt quickly to the tough and gritty track surface.

“I’ve got more laps around that track than anybody in that series, but series regulars have such stellar equipment and great teams and are really fast,” Looney explained.  “They’re going to adapt really quickly.  The similarities with Hickory are so strong, I feel like the cars that run strong at Hickory are going to adapt right off the bat and be favorites to win.  It’s a fast place and I’m anxious to see how these young kids do on the high banks at home.”

While Looney wants to win, he feels no pressure from team owner Billy Martin to go out and do so and he feels that’s what makes him and his all-volunteer race team so successful.

“We’ve been really blessed and fortunate to get it right every once in a while,” Looney said.  “It’s a lot harder than we make it look honestly.  We work so hard and so everything we can do with what we’ve got.  The cool thing is Billy Martin doesn’t put any pressure on me or the team.  We go out and do the best we can.  We want to win, but it’s not a job to anybody and we’re not making any money.  That might be the difference that makes up for the deficit in budget and resources.”

Gus Dean hoping to score first series win at Franklin County

Multi-time ARCA Menards Series winner Gus Dean will make his first CARS Super Late Model Tour start since August 2019.  Dean is excited to get back to the track in his Super Late Model and hopes to get his first victory in the CARS Tour.

“It would be huge to win,” Dean said.  “I definitely want to win in the super there.  With the bigger cars and stuff I’ve been doing as of late, the super has unfortunately been on the back burner but I’m ready to get that turned around and get that program in the direction it needs to be in.  A win at Franklin would be some great momentum moving forward.”

Dean is teamed up with DLP Motorsports and has confidence that the team can have a strong run.

“We haven’t been in a Super Late Model in a while so I think we have some bugs to shake out but I think we’ll have a good chance to do so,” Dean stated.  “I feel very confident about it. I work well with [David ‘Buggy’ Pletcher] at DLP Motorsports and I’m looking forward to being at the track with him and Petey Hinson who has been my crew chief in the super for the past five years.”

Dean won a race in 2014 at Memphis Motorsports Park in the old CARS X-1R Pro Cup Series, prior to the successful relaunch of the series in 2015.  Dean has raced off-and-on with the CARS Tour since then and always enjoys coming back to the tour.

“We’ve been racing with Mr. McNally for quite some time.  He has a great series and is always fair.  I liked the Pro Cup cars, but the CARS Tour is the same people.  I’m always excited to get to come back and race with the CARS Tour again.

CARS Tour Policies to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 Continue

The CARS Tour’s COVID-19 policies will continue to be in effect for this weekend’s race at Dominion Raceway. They include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • All personnel will have their temperature screened before entering the race track.
  • Driver Intros will not be held amongst the crowd, per usual; instead, drivers will be introduced from their cars on the grid.
  • Trailers will be spread out across the infield to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Spotters will be required to wear masks during the race.
  • Masks will be strongly recommended for those who are in the infield and required for all Victory Lane celebrations.


About the CARS Tour

The Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour is one of the premier short track series in the United States. Drivers compete in Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models at the best short tracks across the Carolinas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia. The CARS Tour can be found on Facebook at “CARS Tour”, on Twitter @CARSTour, and on Instagram as @CARS_Tour. For more information, visit or call their Mooresville, N.C. offices at 704.662.9212.


Marquis comes from St. Charles, Maryland and has a widespread background in journalism, having covered politics in Washington and Maryland as well as nearly every form of auto racing, including NASCAR, IndyCar, AMA Motocross and IHRA Drag Racing. Now living near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, Marquis covers Late Model Stock Cars and Super Late Models in the Carolinas and Virginia.

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