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Mason Diaz Wins Postponed CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour Throwback 225 At Hickory Motor Speedway

HICKORY, N.C. – In 54 USAR Pro Cup Series starts, accomplished short track competitor Kirk Leone was never able to visit victory lane.

Driving a car that resembled the colors Leone carried for most of his USAR Pro Cup Series career, Mason Diaz finally broke through for his first Solid Rock Carriers CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour victory at Hickory Motor Speedway, which came in his 40th start.

Sunday’s USAR Pro Cup Throwback 225, which was pushed back a day due to persistent rainfall the night before, also saw Super Late Model standout Cole Butcher take home his first win in the CARS Pro Late Model Tour following a dominant performance with Donnie Wilson Motorsports.

Breakthrough victory a long time coming for Mason Diaz

In true throwback fashion, Mason Diaz had to earn his first CARS LMSC Tour win in the sweltering heat.

An exhausted Diaz was equally elated to finally add his name into the CARS Tour record books as a winner, which he believed was inevitable with Chad Bryant Racing after matching his career-best finish of second in the most recent event at Caraway Speedway.

“It was a long race,” Diaz said. “I never gave up and this crew never gave up on me. It’s been an up and down season, but we’re getting our roll on here. It started at Caraway and things haven’t stopped since. We stayed up front all day and kept the lead.”

The elements were not Diaz’ only obstacle standing in the way of that elusive first win, as he had to find a way around polesitter and standout Hickory Motor Speedway regular Kade Brown.

Through a handful of late restarts, Diaz and Brown engaged in a hard, but clean battle for the win in the USAR Pro Cup Throwback 225. After Brown got out in front of him on the final restart, Diaz applied steady pressure on the young driver and was able to eventually muscle his way to the lead, which he held onto until the checkered flag was displayed.

Diaz was confident he could contend on Sunday after sweeping both Late Model Stock events at Hickory last weekend. Despite this, bringing home an LMSC Tour victory in a Kirk Leone scheme carried a huge sense of catharsis for Diaz, who intends to keep the momentum going with seven races left on the schedule.

“A lot of pressure has been taken off of me now,” Diaz said. “Getting those two wins [at Hickory] last weekend was big for me, but coming out here now and having a dominant performance like we did was amazing. Chad Bryant Racing brought me a fast car and hopefully we’re just getting started.”

Storied drive for Kade Brown ends in second place

The efficiency Kade Brown had displayed at Hickory Motor Speedway all year was prevalent in Sunday’s USAR Pro Cup Throwback 225.

A solid weekend for Brown, which saw him win the pole and lead over half the event, concluded with a runner-up showing to Mason Diaz. Although he was disappointed by the outcome Brown still came away from Hickory with plenty to positively reflect upon.

“Diaz raced us really hard there,” Brown said. “I thought we saved good up front, but I might have burned our stuff up a little trying to maintain pace. Diaz got us up in the marbles a couple of times and it pissed the rears off. I still felt really good with our effort today and I thought we had a winning car, but Diaz was just a little better.”

With six victories to his name in his debut Late Model Stock season at Hickory, the USAR Pro Cup Throwback 225 served as Brown’s biggest test at the track so far.

Brown had previously won the pole and led laps in the most recent CARS LMSC Tour race at Hickory but was sidelined early by a blown engine. The frustration from that evening was still fresh in Brown’s mind as he prepared to tackle another LMSC Tour Hickory race in a car that honored five-time USAR Pro Cup Series champion Clay Rogers.

The performance Brown showcased in front of the home crowd closely resembled Rogers’ own consistent and stalwart driving style from the 2000s. Brown knows he can still improve in many aspects, but said he came away from his third LMSC Tour start much as a much smarter driver.

“I’m very happy with [second],” Brown said. “We definitely have some things we can learn ahead of the next few races we have [at Hickory] and everywhere else. I learned so much racing with [the CARS Tour] guys.”

Cole Butcher achieves Hickory redemption for Donnie Wilson

After coming close to earning a CARS PLM Tour victory at Hickory Motor Speedway with Isabella Robusto in the spring, Donnie Wilson Motorsports arrived at the facility this weekend determined to pick up from where they left off.

Cole Butcher initially had no idea he would be the one to achieve Hickory redemption for Wilson’s organization. Butcher did not need much time to prepare for the USAR Pro Cup Throwback 225, as he easily pulled away from the rest of the PLM Tour field to score his maiden victory in the series.

“This means a lot,” Butcher said. “I got a phone call from Donnie Wilson about a week ago and he asked me if I wanted to drive the GearWrench Toyota and I said absolutely. Hickory’s one of my favorite racetracks and to get my third win here this year is awesome.”

Butcher was so confident about his chances of winning that he and his crew relaxed as much as they feasibly could on Saturday evening after the PLM Tour race was stopped after 32 laps because of rain.

The only difference Butcher noticed in his car on Sunday was a lack of front-end grip, but that change did little to slow his torrid pace. With Austin MacDonald, Caden Kvapil and PLM Tour points leader Katie Hettinger all fighting for track position behind him, Butcher patiently worked through lapped traffic to cruise towards Hickory’s victory lane.

Butcher cherishes every opportunity to make a trip down to Hickory and turn competitive laps around the facility. He has always been comfortable with racing on Hickory’s abrasive surface and felt honored to earn a win in one of the most prestigious events for the track and the CARS Tour.

“[Hickory] reminds me a lot of the tracks at home,” Butcher said. “It has a lot of history, especially with the CARS Tour and the [current] ownership. It felt great to win, especially in the Throwback race and now we get to bring home this beautiful trophy.”

The next event on the CARS Tour calendar will be a Friday night showdown for the CARS LMSC Tour at Ace Speedway on Aug. 11. The PLM Tour will have an additional week off before hitting the track again at Tri-County Motor Speedway on Aug. 19.

FloRacing will provide coverage of both events.

For more information on the CARS Late Model Stock Tour and the CARS Pro Late Model Tour, visit 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.

LMSC Results:

  1. 52S Mason Diaz

  2. 44 Kade Brown

  3. 55S Brenden Queen

  4. 42 Carson Kvapil

  5. 6 Bobby McCarty

  6. 04 Ronnie Bassett Jr.

  7. 16 Jacob Heafner

  8. 88S Brandon Pierce

  9. 00 Chad McCumbee

  10. 62 Layne Riggs

  11. 08 Deac McCaskill

  12. 41 Chase Burrow

  13. 32 Zack Miracle

  14. 15 Ryan Millington

  15. 97 D.J. Canipe

  16. 98 Connor Zilisch

  17. 22 Landon Huffman

  18. 4S Connor Hall

  19. 56N Mini Tyrrell

  20. 67 Cameron Bolin

  21. 12 Austin McDaniel

  22. 5 Andrew Grady -1

  23. 15C Logan Clark -1

  24. 5C Brent Crews -1

  25. 92 Bryant Barnhill -2

  26. 45 Kaden Honeycutt – OUT

  27. 09 Riley Gentry – OUT

  28. 4 Dylon Wilson – OUT

PLM Results:

  1. 28 Cole Butcher

  2. 96S Caden Kvapil

  3. 13 Austin MacDonald

  4. 81 Katie Hettinger

  5. 88 T.J. DeCaire

  6. 25 Connor Zilisch

  7. 43 Nick Loden

  8. 15B Luke Baldwin

  9. 6 George Phillips

  10. 53 Logan Jones

  11. 49 Jeff Batten

  12. 37 Brett Suggs

  13. 8 Rusty Skewes

  14. 9 Ashton Higgins -1

  15. 27W Kris Wright -1

  16. 7 Tristan McKee -1

  17. 43H Joshua Horniman – OUT

  18. 7C Justin Crider -24

  19. 03 Kyle Campbell – OUT

  20. 7T Tyler Church – OUT

  21. 4 Matt Caprara – OUT

  22. 55 Charlie Keeven – OUT

See the latest from the CARS Late Model Stock Tour:

Photo's: CARS Late Model Stock Tour


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