With the most prestigious Late Model Stock event in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway now in the record books, the competitors of the Solid Rock Carriers CARS Tour are set to regroup for the Puryear Tank Lines 225 at Ace Speedway this weekend.
Originally a standalone Late Model Stock event scheduled for May 6 before being postponed twice due to inclement weather, the CARS Tour’s second visit to Ace this season will now serve as a doubleheader for the LMSC division and the PLM Tour.
There are plenty of storylines across the two divisions heading into Friday night. LMSC Tour points leader Carson Kvapil is suspended after crashing Zack Miracle during the post-race cooldown, while PLM Tour points leader Luke Fenhaus will be tasked with holding onto a small, but comfortable advantage in the standings.
Track: Ace Speedway
Location: Altamahaw, North Carolina
Length: .400 mile
Laps: 125 (LMSC) / 100 (PLM)
CARS LMSC Tour races: 5
CARS PLM Tour races: 1
LMSC Ace winners: Bobby McCarty (2018), Josh Berry (2019), Ryan Millington (2020), Layne Riggs (2021), Jonathan Shafer (2022)
PLM Ace winners: William Sawalich (2022)
LMSC Entry List (23 cars): #2 Brandon Pierce, #2r Braden Rogers, #4 Hayden Swank, #5 Carter Langley, #7 Dylan Ward, #8 Josh Berry, #8b Chase Burrow, #9 Ashton Higgins, #10 Janson Marchbanks, #12 Kaden Honeycutt, #14 Jared Fryar #16 Chad McCumbee, #21 Mike Darne, #22 Bobby McCarty, #24 Mason Diaz, #32 Zack Miracle, #44 Conner Jones, #77 Connor Hall, #77s Blake Stallings, #77w Trevor Ward, #81 Mini Tyrrell, #91 Jonathan Shafer, #95 Jacob Heafner
PLM Entry List (11 cars): #1 Kody King, #5 Gavan Boschele, #6 Mason Diaz, #8 Rusty Skewes, #13 Austin MacDonald, #24 Penn Crim, #29 Nick Loden, #35 Caden Kvapil, #49 Luke Morey, #96 Luke Fenhaus, #96k Katie Hettinger
Jacob Heafner looks to ride solid Martinsville run into Ace
A stellar weekend for Jacob Heafner in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville saw him finish third behind Carson Kvapil and winner Peyton Sellers.
Consistency has been a theme for Heafner through the entire 2022 season, but he said showcasing his talent on Late Model Stock racing’s biggest stage has provided him some confidence heading into the final three races on the CARS LMSC Tour season.
“It felt really good,” Heafner said. “I was confident we at least had a shot at a Top 10, but we were rolling on Saturday night. Everyone with the Carroll Speedshop crew gave me a really fast car and I thought we had a shot to win all the way until the green-white-checkered restart.”
Despite a slow start to the 2022 season, Heafner rebounded to record three consecutive Top 5 finishes during the summer, including a career best run of second at Dominion Raceway. He now sits fifth in the LMSC Tour point standings.
Heafner has done everything possible to eliminate his on-track mistakes and be more patient around his competition. The competitive depth in the LMSC Tour is a quality that Heafner believes has helped him become more rounded as a driver while simultaneously building more chemistry with Justin and John Carroll.
With his first full-time LMSC Tour season about to wrap up, Heafner is eager to deliver a victory for the Carrolls at Ace on Friday night. He expects to be right in the mix for the win if the team builds off what they learned in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.
“I’m very confident about [Ace],” Heafner said. “We have a lot of momentum going into the weekend after such a great run at Martinsville. There’s some similarities between the two tracks, but we have a shot to win every week despite having some bad luck recently. Any of these last three provide us a good shot to win, especially Ace.”
Chase Burrow searching for second Top 5 finish of 2022 season
Like Heafner, Chase Burrow also impressed many people in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 by starting on the outside pole and finishing in sixth.
Burrow simply wanted to make the prestigious event in his first appearance but was pleasantly surprised at how fast he was all weekend despite his inexperience and intends to maintain his strong pace when the green flag flies at Ace on Friday.
“We came in with no expectations,” Burrow said. “I was trying to learn the track as fast as I could before qualifying and had about 52 laps on the track. To run that good [at Martinsville] is crazy, especially since we’re a small team with just one car.”
Burrow’s sixth place finish at Martinsville continued a hectic but successful 2022 season for the King George, Virginia native. He originally served as a replacement for Rusty Skewes in the Old North State Nationals at Caraway Speedway before earning that ride full-time following a sixth place run.
The following 11 races for Burrow in the CARS LMSC Tour have been dominated by positives and negatives. He recorded his lone Top 5 finish at Hickory Motor Speedway in March but has hindered by mechanical issues that have dropped him further down in the points.
Despite this, Burrow still holds a narrow lead in the Bilstein LMSC rookie points and believes he and Top Gun Motorsports are getting better with every week. While he hopes to break through for a win in the Puryear Tank Lines 225, Burrow is more focused on learning and getting the most out of his car.
“I’m just trying to adapt,” Burrow said. “No matter the circumstances or the track, I just have to do the best I can for the guys. They spend many long nights in the shop on this car and it’s my job to perform. That’s all any of us can ask for.”
Rusty Skewes persevering through first PLM season
While Chase Burrow finds himself in contention for the CARS LMSC Tour Rookie of the Year, Rusty Skewes has been working to get Top Gun Motorsports’ Pro Late Model program up and running.
The maiden voyage for Skewes into Pro Late Model competition has been dominated by frustration and inconsistency, but an extra week of preparation for Friday’s Puryear Tank Lines 225 at Ace has allowed him the necessary time to experiment with his car’s setup.
“I wanted to get a straight rail car just for fun,” Skewes said. “We just haven’t hit on the setup yet. We’ve had a lot of trouble with just being tight, but we’re rethinking everything by putting our own setup on the car, so we’ll see how that does.”
Throughout his long career, Skewes has competed in divisions such as the USAR Pro Cup Series, SMART Modified Tour, and ARCA Menards Series East, but has only turned a handful of laps in a straight rail car.
Skewes said the Pro Late Model provides more room for him to drive the car as opposed to a Late Model Stock. Despite the differences, Skewes has been comparing notes with Burrow on their two cars and hopes that sharing ideas will help him be competitive with the top teams in the PLM Tour.
Now approaching his 73rd birthday, Skewes is balancing out multiple responsibilities at Top Gun Motorsports but is proud of the progress the team has made this year with Burrow in the Late Model Stock. Skewes wants that efficiency to translate over to the Pro Late Model and is optimistic months of hard work will finally pay off on Friday.
“We obviously want to get Chase up to speed,” Skewes said. “With the Pro Late, we’ve made a lot of changes to the shocks, springs and the chassis setup. A lot of things have changed for us ahead of Ace this weekend, but now we’ll just see how the car responds.”
There will be a full schedule at Ace on Friday evening that includes races for Mini Stocks, Limited Late Models, Modifieds and Champ Carts starting at 8 p.m. The 100-lap PLM Tour feature will be the fourth event of the evening, which will be followed by the LMSC Tour race.
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.