On Monday, the CARS Tour announced a change of ownership heading into the 2023 season, and the changes are massive. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Justin Marks have acquired ownership of the series, according to a release from CARS Tour.
Within that group of new owners, you have a legendary track record within the world of motorsport. Aside from the victories and championships on the track, the group also features a NASCAR Cup Series team owner (Marks), NASCAR television analysts (Earnhardt and Burton), a NASCAR Xfinity Series team owner (Earnhardt), and one of the owner of one of the most successful management companies in the sport (Harvick).
The CARS Tour is an asphalt late-model series that competes in the Southeast United States. The series itself was founded in 2014. For Earnhardt, a two-time Daytona 500 champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer, this is the culmination of his lifelong dream.
What the new owners are saying
“This is a dream come true for me,” Earnhardt Jr. said in a release. “I’m a huge fan of the CARS Tour and local short-track racing. The competition, the tracks, and the drivers are some of the best around. These regional series are vital to the quality of racing you see at the top level. Jack (McNelly, CARS Tour founder) has done a tremendous job establishing the CARS Tour as a preeminent series, and I’m thrilled to be a part of its future.”
Harvick sees this as a chance to help build up Late Model Racing, something he has been passionate about his entire life.
“I grew up racing Late Model Stock Cars on the West Coast,” said Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion. “Late Model Racing has always been a passion of mine and I want to ensure short-track asphalt racing and the CARS Tour continue to grow and succeed. I look forward to sharing the responsibility with this like-minded group of racers.”
Marks, who has seen his Trackhouse Racing team flourish in it’s short time in the NASCAR Cup Series, sees a lot of the same ideas he has taken with his race team being possible in the world of short-track racing.
“This is something I’m really excited about, not only for Trackhouse and the initiatives that we’re pursuing but for short-track racing in general,” said Marks. “Asphalt Late Model racing truly is the foundation of NASCAR and bringing a group like this together will serve the racer and fan. The CARS Tour is so important to the racing scene in the Southeast, and this group can bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and passion to the series that will ensure authentic and valuable growth in the years to come.”
And for Burton, the chance to join a pact that has a chance to be so impactful within the sport, is incredible.
“The opportunity to work with a group of partners that I have so much respect for in the sport that I love is amazing,” Burton, a 2023 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, explained. “Collectively, I believe we can contribute to grass-roots racing and the overall health of motorsports in the process. By building off the positive foundation Jack has built, I’m confident we can create a next-level experience for the competitors, partners and fans.”
What will change going forward?
According to the CARS Tour, aside from the ownership change, there will be no changes to the series for the 2023 season. The schedule will remain a 19-race weekend tour.
McNelly, and his staff will continue to oversee operations and track events for the series in 2023.
“Owning and developing the CARS Tour has been an honor and one I’m immensely proud of,” said McNelly. “Fortunately, it’s in the best of hands with this new group. They have the passion and talent to take the Tour to the next level. I can’t wait to see what this next chapter brings for everyone involved.
“I give my heartfelt thanks to all that have contributed to the success of the series over the years. It has truly been a team effort.”
The 2023 CARS Tour season will kick off on March 11th at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, North Carolina.
- March 11, Southern National Motorsports Park (LMSC/PLM)
- March 25, Florence Motor Speedway (LMSC)
- April 22, Hickory Motor Speedway (LMSC/PLM)
- May 5, Ace Speedway (LMSC/PLM)
- May 17, North Wilkesboro Speedway (LMSC/PLM)
- May 27, Tri-County Speedway (LMSC/PLM)
- June 3, Langley Speedway (LMSC)
- June 10, Dillon Motor Speedway (PLM)
- June 17, Dominion Raceway (LMSC)
- June 28, Caraway Speedway (LMSC/PLM)
- July 8, Wake County Speedway (PLM)
- July 29, Hickory Motor Speedway (LMSC/PLM)
- August 11, Ace Speedway (LMSC)
- August 19, Florence Motor Speedway (LMSC)
- August 26, Wake County Speedway (LMSC)
- September 9, Goodyear All American Speedway (LMSC)
- October 7, South Boston Speedway (LMSC/PLM)
- October 21, Tri-County Motor Speedway (LMSC/PLM)
- November 4, Caraway Speedway (LMSC/PLM)