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CARS Tour released its 2018 schedule on Friday during a press conference on Friday night in South Boston, Virginia.

The calendar includes 11 Late Model Stock Car races and nine Super Late Model races, many of which are companion events with the Southern Super Series and CRA Super Series in the Midwest.

The CARS Tour will have a brand new complexion in 2018 as it will feature several standalone races for the Late Model Stocks. Only six events are set to feature races for both divisions together at the same track.

Several of the track operators were in attendance at the press conference and series owner Jack McNelly took time to recognize their respective contributions to the league.

“You represent an expansion of the series. You give us a larger footprint. A little bigger audience, not only in fans, but also for the drivers and their sponsors. It was quite a task in putting this schedule together. Chris and Eric deserve a lot of the credit. Chris took some days off to regroup. We were the first series to put our schedule out and that was our intent.”

Just as the series teased back in September, it will focus more heavily on the Late Model Stock tour next year, but the Supers are not going totally unnoticed. The weekly purse will see an increase in value of 12 percent in addition to three $10,000-to-win races at Myrtle Beach Speedway (March 24), Orange County Speedway (April 21) and the SSS co-sanctioned race at Anderson Motor Speedway (June 9.)

“We announced at Concord that we were running a partial schedule for the Supers, and we are from 12-to-9 but I think you’ll agree, it’s still an attractive schedule when especially you are racing several times for $10,000.”

The season begins with the previously announced $10,000 Late Model Stock race at Tri-County Motor Speedway on March 10. All Late Model Stock races will also pay $6,000 to win, up from $5,000 over the previous two seasons.

READ MORE: CARS Tour opener to pay 10k for Late Model Stock Cars

McNelly has long sought to reward those who have been loyal the CARS Tour since its inception and has done so with the new ‘Touring Twelve’ reward program for the Late Model Stock program.

Prior to the season, drivers who plan to run the full schedule may submit applications to be included in the ‘Touring Twelve.’ Drivers selected will receive guaranteed pay at each event (a minimum of $1,000 total) in addition to the purse money they collect.

The ‘Touring Twelve’ drivers will also receive two sets of discounted tires and four complimentary tickets for each event. The program will also see the series design and sell driver merchandise for the drivers, with each of them receiving a check for corresponding sales.

Drivers not part of the ‘Touring Twelve’ will also have a chance to earn loyalty money and discounts. Any driver who makes three consecutive starts at any point during the campaign will earn a $500 bonus for the third straight race.

Drivers who run the full Late Model Stock Car schedule will also receive a $2,000 bonus.

One of the biggest challenges for the Late Model Stock tour has been luring those who race at a track for its weekly division when CARS arrives at the same track.

The new ‘Hometown Heroes’ program addresses that. It will award drivers in the top-3 in championship points at their local track with free tires if they choose to participate in the CARS Tour event.

The first driver in the top-3 in points who enters that race will receive three free tires, the second will receive two free tires and the third will receive a single free tire for the CARS Tour race at their home track.

All told, the CARS Tour attempted to address its biggest concerns in 2017 with several 2018 enhancements. The full schedule can be viewed below.

March 10 – Tri-County Motor Speedway (NC) – $10,000 to Win – LMSC

March 24 – Myrtle Beach Speedway (SC) – $10,ooo to Win for SLM – Both Divisions

April 7 – Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville (TN) – SLM – Tri-Sanctioned (CARS, CRA, SSS)

April 7 – Wake County Speedway (NC) – LMSC

April 21 – Orange County Speedway (NC) – $10,000 to Win for SLM – Both Divisions

May 5 – Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) – Both Divisions

May 19 – Bristol Motor Speedway (LMSC and SLM w/ SSS, CRA)

June 9 – Anderson Motor Speedway (SC) – $10,000 to Win for SLM – Co-Sanctioned w/ SSS

June 9 – Ace Speedway (NC) – LMSC – Guaranteed Spot in Rodney Cook Classic

June 23 – Carteret County Speedway (NC) – LMSC

July 14 – Kingsport Speedway (TN) – LMSC

August 4 – Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) – Throwback 276 – Both Divisions

September 8 – Orange County Speedway (NC) – Both Divisions

November 3 – South Boston Speedway (VA) – Both Divisions

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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