HICKORY, N.C. — Despite a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Throwback 276 continues to be the most popular event on the CARS Tour schedule.
Fans came out in droves for Saturday’s twinbill that featured the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Super Late Model Tour. Each series ran 138-lap races, with the lap total (276) equaling the same distance as the final NASCAR Cup Series race run at Hickory in 1971.
Spectators were also treated to the return of the frontstretch fan fest, which also featured an autograph session with drivers of yesteryear, including former NASCAR competitors Joe Nemechek, David Reutimann and Scott Riggs.
By the time the CARS Late Model Stock Tour gridded for the second of the two features, the grandstands were as packed as they had been two years ago during the 2019 edition of the race.
• During the pre-race drivers meeting CARS Tour President Jack McNelly confirmed the postponement of the upcoming race scheduled Aug. 14 at Wake County Speedway in Raleigh, N.C.
McNelly said the postponement is the result of the ongoing Hoosier Tire shortage, which also led series officials to limit race teams to one new set of tires during the Throwback 276 weekend. Teams were forced to utilize used tires during practice prior to Saturday’s race.
The race has been tentatively rescheduled for Oct. 9.
• The wrap on Deac McCaskill’s car for the Throwback 276 was too sweet.
McCaskill, a self-admitted wrestling nerd when he was younger, chose Kyle Petty’s No. 49 nWo paint scheme that he raced in 1996 and ’97 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for team owner Kenneth Shaver.
The scheme played upon the storyline battle between the New World Order (nWo) and World Championship Wrestling, which captivated professional wrestling fans across the world during the mid to late 1990s.
McCaskill discovered while researching the scheme that it didn’t just race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Petty’s late son, Adam Petty, also raced the scheme in a pair of late model races at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., and Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway.
During the pre-race fan fest McCaskill was surprised to meet one of the men that built that late model for the younger Petty, who just happened to be attending the race with no knowledge of the car McCaskill would be driving.
• Mini Tyrrell’s choice to wrap his car like the late model once driven by the late Ricky Hendrick led to a reunion of sorts prior to the start of racing Saturday.
Members of Hendrick’s crew during his late model days visited with Tyrrell and had their picture taken with the car, which featured the green-white-and-yellow Quaker State colors that Hendrick’s car sported during his late model days.
Tyrrell almost gave them a night to remember as he dominated the middle portions of the late model stock car feature before giving up the lead during a restart and fading to a fourth-place finish.
The fourth-place finish is Tyrrell’s best result of the season.
• Veteran late model competitor Bubba Pollard was the lone driver to pull double-duty during the Throwback 276. Driving his own super late model, Pollard finished third before jumping in the No. 4 late model stock car for Justin Johnson Racing.
Pollard, who has little in the way of experience in a late model stock car, crashed late and finished 25th in the 29-car field. He’ll be back in action in his super late model next weekend at Jennerstown (Pa.) Speedway during the Motor Mountain Masters event, which be broadcast by SPEED SPORT TV affiliate Pit Row TV.
• Race winners Josh Berry (late model stocks) and Matt Craig (super late models) opted not to run throwback schemes this year during the Throwback 276. They’ve both been too busy racing and didn’t have time to wrap their cars for the race.