A trip towards the Crystal Coast is in store for the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour competitors with this weekend’s Carolina 125 pres. by Milam Equipment Rentals at New River All-American Speedway.
Built in 1999, New River has hosted events for divisions like the NASCAR Goody’s Dash Series and USAR Pro Cup Series during its existence. Under the leadership of Anthony and Tonya Goodyear, New River has experienced a resurgence by introducing the prestigious Battle of the Stars Late Model Stock event and welcoming the CARS Tour last year.
With New River’s surface being one of the more abrasive on the schedule, drivers will have to find a perfect balance between being aggressive and conservative if they wish to add their name to the facility’s growing Late Model Stock record book.
Track: New River All-American Speedway
Location: Jacksonville, North Carolina
Length: .400 mile
CARS LMSC Tour races: 1
New River LMSC winners: Connor Hall (1)
LMSC Entry List (20 cars): #03 Brenden Queen, #04 Ronnie Bassett Jr., #08 Deac McCaskill, #1 Andrew Grady, #2 Brandon Pierce, #4 Dylon Wilson, #6 Bobby McCarty, #8 Carson Kvapil, #8B Chase Burrow, #10 Kaden Honeycutt, #15 Ryan Millington, #15C Logan Clark, #16 Chad McCumbee, #19B Chris Burns, #22 Landon Huffman, #24 Mason Diaz, #44 Conner Jones, #67 Cameron Bolin, #81 Mini Tyrrell, #95 Jacob Heafner
LMSC Point Standings:
- Carson Kvapil
- Brenden Queen -41
- Mason Diaz -100
- Ryan Millington -114
- Bobby McCarty -125
- Chad McCumbee -133
- Connor Hall -145
- Jacob Heafner -150
- Kaden Honeycutt -158
- Ronnie Bassett Jr. -159
Chris Burns ready to make strong impression amongst CARS Tour regulars
Among those entered in Saturday’s Carolina 125 pres. by Milam Equipment Rentals is New River All-American Speedway track regular Chris Burns.
Saturday’s race will be Burns’ second appearance in the CARS LMSC Tour. He had no intention of missing one of the biggest races at New River this year and is optimistic he can put together an efficient performance against the LMSC Tour regulars.
“We’ve only run one time this year with everything being so busy and hot,” Burns said. “We figured we’d at least see what we had against these boys. [The CARS Tour] is a well-run series, so hopefully we have a good time.”
New River has always been one of Burns’ favorite tracks. The facility is located just 30 minutes away from Burns’ house, but the main reason he continues racing there stems from the leadership of the Goodyears and their efforts to make New River a pristine environment for drivers and fans.
Burns sees the CARS Tour’s continued involvement with New River as a positive sign for the track’s future. He added the facility’s unique tri-oval layout, combined with its aging surface creates a thrilling on-track product that he knows will test even the top drivers on the LMSC Tour roster.
Earning a solid finish in the Carolina 125 is something Burns knows will be difficult to accomplish. Although Burns has plenty of experience at New River on his side, he said the outcome of Saturday’s Late Model Stock feature will come down to who is better at saving their equipment.
“With the tire wear, it’s really anybody’s game,” Burns said. “I’m not expecting to win, but I don’t expect to finish last either. I really hope we can at least run somewhere inside the Top 5 or Top 10, but with the level of competition, that’s a chore. A win there would definitely be the biggest of my career.”
Brenden Queen seeks another big victory at New River
The last time Brenden Queen visited New River All-American Speedway, he came away $20,000 richer in the track’s Battle of the Stars.
That triumph kicked off a spectacular year for Queen that has seen him nab victories at North Wilkesboro Speedway and in the Hampton Heat. With confidence on his side, Queen is eager to head back to New River this weekend for another chance at a big victory.
“[New River] is a very nice place,” Queen said. “That was the first time I raced there and it’s such a cool place to race at. I know it’s going to be tough with the whole [CARS] Tour field, but we’re up to the challenge. If we keep bringing fast cars, we’re going to end up in victory lane.”
Queen was immediately impressed by the friendly atmosphere of New River when he made his first visit to the track in March. The abrasive, low-grip nature of the track also played to Queen’s driving style, as he managed to conserve his equipment early in the Battle of the Stars before making a run to the front.
Tire conservation is expected to be at the forefront of Saturday’s Carolina 125 pres. by Milam Equipment Rentals just like it was in the Battle of the Stars. Queen believes track position is going to be important with a large field, but also anticipates some drivers coming through the field late after saving their rear tires to open the feature.
Regardless of the strategy he uses, winning is the primary objective for Queen and Lee Pulliam Performance moving forward now that he is 41 points behind Carson Kvapil in the CARS LMSC Tour standings. The championship may be a long shot for Queen, but he is determined to end his debut LMSC Tour season on a high note starting with another New River triumph.
“We just have to go out there and win at this point,” Queen said. “To be second in my first year with [the CARS] Tour is nothing to be upset about. I wish Tri-County would have turned out different because we were probably going to leave there with a closer battle than we did. I can’t go back and change things, but if we win, the points will take care of themselves.”
Andrew Grady sees New River as perfect opportunity for first win
In the two-decade history of New River All-American Speedway, the Grady family has become one of the most successful at the facility.
Tony Grady mastered New River’s unorthodox layout with several high-profile wins and would pass down that knowledge to his son Andrew. The younger Grady has enjoyed his fair share of efficient outings at New River, but admitted earning his maiden CARS LMSC Tour victory there would easily be a career milestone.
“We’ve really shown a lot of speed the past few races,” Andrew said. “We need to finish one out and I think we’ve got a good shot at New River. We were so good there last year before we got cleaned out. I’ve won races there and run up front a lot, so we can’t help but be excited and are looking forward to being competitive.”
Andrew said New River’s layout makes it one of the weirdest short tracks in the southeast and compared it to a roller coaster ride.
Exiting Turn 4 at New River requires drivers to turn uphill before descending back down heading into Turn 1. Each set of corners are also much different from each other, as the first two turns are more sweeping compared to the tight Turns 3 and 4, which Andrew said only adds to the fun of racing there.
Although the result did not reflect it, Andrew used that knowledge to lead 55 laps at New River last year. He intends to be back up front in Saturday’s Carolina 125 pres. by Milam Equipment Rentals but stressed that a victory will not be possible unless he methodically conserves his tires for the end of the feature.
“Tire management is the name of the game this weekend,” Andrew said. “There’s going to be a lot of riding and saving. You really can’t afford to abuse your stuff because this place eats tires like very few tracks do. It’s on the coast, so there’s a lot of fine sand that eats tires just like Myrtle Beach [Speedway] use to.”
There will be four divisions accompanying the CARS LMSC Tour on Saturday: Champ Karts, Bombers, Bandoleros and Legends. On-track activity starts at 7 p.m. ET with the Carolina 125 pres. by Milam Equipment Rentals being the third race on the docket.
FloRacing will provide coverage of all the on-track action.
For more information on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Pro Late Model Tour, visit www.carsracingtour.com. Be sure to stay active and social with the tour by liking “CARS Tour” on Facebook, following @CARSTour on Twitter and scrolling through photos on Instagram cars_tour.
Additional series information can be obtained by calling the CARS Tour series office, located in
Mooresville, NC, at 704.662.9212.