Tag Archives: Connor Hall

KERN: Racing Heating Up for Several Virginia Drivers Early in 2019

It is hard to believe that it is already that time of year again – Race Season! Seems like just yesterday we were telling you about the final chapter of the 2018 season and crowning champions. Here we are just hours away from what we can call the “official” green flag of the year down at the World Center of Racing – others may simply call it Daytona. In just a few short hours ARCA will drop the green flag on their season and go racing for 200-miles and you won’t have to look but too far to see some local names that TWR is very familiar with.

At this point in the game – yes I know that we are a little late to the game per se but this winter was a little different for us here at TWR – I am sure everyone reading this has seen the news about Hampton Roads natives Connor Hall and Brenden Queen getting “the call” and will be racing this afternoon in easily the biggest race of their career. Both Hall and Queen were down at Daytona a few short weeks ago during the ARCA open test following IMSA’s Rolex 24 Hour race for Vizion Motorsports, along with fellow Late Model driver from North Carolina Paul Williamson, obviously impressing those in the garage. Hall, after presenting a deal to Chad Bryant Racing will be piloting the No. 22 Ford while Queen will be in the No. 36 Toyota for Vizion Motorsports.

For those race fans that may not follow the ARCA Series enough, the race will be televised LIVE later this afternoon on FOX Sports 1 at 4:30 PM EST. Not going to be home to watch? Pull the race up on the FOX Sports App! Hall will also be competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener Sunday night at New Smyrna.

You can see what these drivers had to say about getting the chance of a lifetime in an article published yesterday from our friends at Race22 >> Several Late Model Stock Car Drivers Set to Compete at Daytona

Hall & Queen, however, are not the only Virginia drivers spending some time in the Sunshine State. 2013 & 2017 Langley Speedway INEX Legends Champ Spencer Saunders; 2018 INEX Semi-Pro Road Course National Champ Carter Weedon, just to name a few, will all compete in the 2019 Winter Nationals at Citrus County Speedway.

Five races over the course of a week for drivers from all over to not only prove they are the best but to also get a head start on the INEX national points. Something one driver we mentioned above has kept in the back of his mind for the last couple of weeks.

“We have been doing this quite a while,” Saunders told The Weekly Racer as the final touches were being made to the car before loading her up. “We won the 2011 Virginia State Semi-Pro championship, won a race of champions that same year in Vegas, took the 2013 and 2017 track championships at Langley Speedway, the only thing missing from our resume… a national championship. With the year-end national event being held at Carteret County Speedway in October and if we come out of Florida in good shape, I would say yes, we’re going to make a serious run at a national title”

First Saunders will need to get through the weeklong event where the confidence is running rather high through the Saunders Motorsports camp.

“I think the ultimate goal for our team is to go down there and win a couple of races and represent Langley Speedway and the 757 the best way we can,” Saunders commented. “In all reality, if we go down and ran top five or top three and contended for wins every day that we are on track I would be absolutely thrilled with that. I haven’t seen an entry list but I have heard the Pro division is pretty stacked so we are going to have to be on top of our game all week long. I think we have prepared the best car we can and I think we have good enough equipment to go run with the best.”

Defending Semi-Pro Road Course Champion Carter Weedon is another VA driver making the trip down to Florida for the winter nationals; however, he will be making the trip UP to the Pro division. Weedon is going into the week looking to find himself in the tech shed every race and earn a top five finishing position in the points standings.

“I want to make it into tech every race,” Weedon said. “Our goal is to place in the top five in the points standings at the end of the week. The competition in Pro especially is going to be tough.”

Races are scheduled all this week starting later this afternoon with open practice only. Going off of information given to us by a couple of the race teams, official points races will be held on Monday, Tuesday (doubleheader), Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday is scheduled to be an off day or potential rain day. All races, for that matter, will be streamed LIVE from the fine folks over at LegendsNation.com.

The 10th Annual Hampton Heat is Finally Upon Us — Who to Watch Tonight

After almost a full extra month of waiting due to Mother Nature, it is time for some of the best Late Model Stock Car drivers to get after it later this evening all battling for the prestigious trophy, points towards the Virginia Triple crown, oh and how did we almost forget… $10,000!

Twenty-five cars made the trip out for the annual Friday test session giving those of us who followed on Race Monitor all day long in our offices an idea of what to expect later this evening. A complete list of practice times can be found a little further down this column. We will say that we fully expect thirty or more cars for the actual event. Make sure you have plans to make it out later this afternoon as it will not be broadcasted on Fanschoice! Gates will open to the public at 12:15 PM, “Happy Hour” for Late Models roll off approx. 12:30 PM. Green flag is expected to to drop at 7:00 PM EDT.

So, this might be your first time out to the speedway this year and you are wondering who to watch out for, right? Well folks we have you covered in that department. If you would like to do a little homework before tonight’s feature — Help give you a leg up on your grandstand pool — take a look back at some of the previous Late Model races we have covered to form your own opinion here >> Late Model Recaps. Don’t wanna do research? That’s cool. Let’s take a look at the top five drivers we feel are going to be a threat, in no particular order of course.

Philip Morris

Obvious, right? We know but we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t put Morris on the who to watch list. Morris certainly has made a name for himself and drawn a lot of attention to the No. 01 Trailer Town USA Chevrolet this year has he makes a solid bid for another national title. Morris has found victory lane at just about every track he’s been to this year. Even though Morris “struggled” in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown earlier this year – a similar 200 lap endurance type race – he had found victory lane seven times this year at Larry King Law Langley Speedway, often times starting in the rear of the field for the second race. Oh and not to mention Morris was fastest at the conclusion of practice Friday afternoon with a 15.816.

Danny Edwards Jr.

Take away the fact Edwards has multiple track championships, more than a decade of experience, and have completed more laps at Langley Speedway to make multiple cross country road trips across this great nation, Danny Edwards Jr. has been firing on all cylinders this year. With two wins under his belt, Edwards enters the weekend as the current points leader of the Taylor Waste Services Late Model — he leave the same way no matter what as the Hampton Heat will not count towards track points — but we think it’s more important to point out that Edwards might be the only track regular to have an answer to the pure speed of Morris. If you remember back to April, Edwards earned the pole in the DHSTS and looked to be a force until a wreck took him out. A win tonight could not come at a more perfect time as it would also be his first Hampton Heat victory but it would come on the two year anniversary of the loss of former crew chief John McMasters.

C.E. Falk

CE Falk? He doesn’t even race at Langley on a regular basis, how is he going to be a factor? Well, it’s very simply put. He’s CE Falk and if you don’t respect his ability any time he pulls into Langley Speedway then that’s your first mistake. The car number will be different on race day — he will be in a 02 car — but will still be a factor towards the front. Falk clocked in with just the eighth fastest time Friday afternoon but there was no way to confirm the age of his tires. Falk was also a major factor in the DHSTS and there is no doubt he will be a key player later tonight.

Connor Hall

Yup, we went there! And it’s about time for this young driver to go there again! As you can see pictures above, Hall has already found victory lane once towards the end of last year at his home track and he has certainly carried that speed over into 2018. Constantly running qualifying and running up front this season and coming off of a pole and win at East Carolina Motor Speedway the week prior, Connor Hall will certainly have the momentum going for him. Our biggest concern with Hall will be his patients. 2018 has been filled with 50-75 lap sprint races. He will have to physically and mentally keep the car under him, fenders straight, and tires up for 200 laps. If he can do all three of those things he will certainly have the speed to be a contender.

Bobby McCarty

Want to talk about who’s on fire this year, well see the driver pictured above. Bobby McCarty enters the 10th Annual Hampton Heat 200 not only as the defending champion but he is also the current points leader for the CARS Tour Late Model Series with one pole and four wins in nine starts. Not to mention McCarty posted the third quickest time in Friday’s test session. Traveling with the CARS Tour this year has given McCarty the chance to learn different track surfaces and really improve his skill. Look for him to hover around the top quarter of the field when it’s time to go green.

Honorable Mentions:

Greg Edwards: He has never won the prestigious event but is always a threat to find victory lane when he straps in at Langley Speedway. With a little luck he may come out on top.

Nick Smith: He didn’t earn the nickname “Quick Nick” for no reason. Smith is always fast around Langley and even though he is running a limited schedule this year, has already collected a win. However, could the limited race schedule this year hurt the inaugural Hampton Heat winner?

Peyton Seller: Crazy, right? How in the world does Peyton Sellers only make an honorable mention? We will just have to chalk it up to gut feeling and look to be proved wrong. Sellers is a contender everywhere he goes and he has without a doubt done his homework and is a previous winner. As the winner of the opening round of the VA Triple Crown at South Boston, will Sellers be aggressive and go for the win or play things safe to set himself up for an easier outing at Martinsville next month? Either way, Sellers could easily dominate this race tonight, only time will tell.

If you can’t be there tonight we will have you covered! Follow along with our live coverage here starting at 1:00 PM EDT >> Annual Hampton Heat 200 presented by Bayport Credit Union. We will also have limited coverage on Twitter all day as well.

UNOFFICIAL Friday Practice Times;

1 Philip Morris (CU) – 15.816

2 Peyton Sellers (CU) – 15.938

3 Bobby McCarty (HE) – 15.957

4 Justin T. Carroll (CU) – 15.970

5 Danny Edwards (HE) – 15.973

6 Matt Bowling (CU) – 15.994

7 Brandon Pierce (HE) – 16.000

8 CE Falk (CU) – 16.038

9 Garrett Bunch (HE) – 16.110

10 Timmy Phipps (CU) – 16.132

11 Woody Howard (CU) – 16.153

12 Nick Smith (CU) – 16.154

13 Justin S. Carroll (CU) – 16.207

14 Tyler Hughes (FC) – 16.214

15 Greg Edwards (HE) – 16.295

16 Grayson Cullather (HE) 00 16.295

17 Cameron Bowen (CU) – 16.344

18 Austin Thaxton (CU) – 16.383

19 Colin Garrett (HE) – 16.387

20 Casey Wyatt (CU) – 16.398

21 Terry Carroll (FC) – 16.497

22 Maddy Ryan Mulligan (CU) – 16.509

23 Duane Shreeves (CU) – 16.515

24 Thomas Marks (CB) – 16.550

25 Brenden Queen (CU) – 16.751

**practice times are unofficial and provided by the app Race Monitor. Letters next to the drivers name represent engine package. CU=Chevy Upgrade, HE=Herrington Enforcer, FC=Ford Crate, CB=Chevy Built**

Greg Edwards Earns Sixth Win of Season; Connor Hall Picks Up First Career Langley Speedway Victory in Second Twin

Greg Edwards celebrates his sixth victory of 2017 at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway Saturday, September 16, 2017. (Photo: Langley Speedway Press Release)

Hampton, VA – With an eight-point deficit, two races, and one night left in the 2017 race season at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway, Greg Edwards as crew entered the weekend with one goal in mind – win. Things would look promising for the defending division champion earlier in qualifying time trials as the Poquoson, Va, driver, set quick time with a 16.041 (88.648 MPH) second lap time. Matt Waltz would start the first of two twin features just to Edwards outside with the second fastest time during the late afternoon’s session. Connor Hall, Mark Wertz, and Brenden Queen were the fastest five cars while Lee Pulliam would qualify just ninth on the thirteen-car field.

 

Once the green flag was displayed and Edwards took the field into turn one, he was able to secure the top spot all to himself and start to put some distance between him and the rest of the field. Waltz would fall in into the second position keeping Edwards and the point’s championship at the end of the night in site. Mark Wertz, who had a bit of a hiccup down the backstretch on the opening lap was able to get the car back under him and drive up to the third position. Behind the leaders, fans would witness a great showing by some of the up and coming talents that Langley has to offer in the coming years within the Late Model division.

 

Twenty laps into the sixty-six-lap feature, the five-time winner and defending track champ, Greg Edwards, had built himself a full two-second lead over Matt Waltz and started to take care some of the slower traffic. Waltz, being the smart racecar driver that he is just settled in and clicked off laps, no need to burn up the tires. Edwards would in fact lap up to the fifth position, to include 2017 NWAAS National Champion contender Lee Pulliam, just to give you a true idea of how ‘on’ that car was in race one. Connor Hall, who we will mention more about here in a little bit, ran into what looked to be night ending issues on lap twenty-six after breaking a track bar. Matt Waltz would finish race one in the second position followed by Mark Wertz, Brenden Queen, and Cameron Bowen – earning a second top-five finish in a row for the young Chesapeake native. Throckmorton, Pulliam, and Brock would complete the top eight.

 

Edwards in victory lane thanked his car builder Bobby Creech for giving him a great piece. He also went on to explain it was probably one of the older cars in the field. He went on to mention that the inverts helped keep the competition honest so to speak but it puts you in a better position for a crash but he and his team were there to have fun and that’s what they were trying to do. Edwards would roll off race number two no better than eighth because of that invert.

 

Alex Brock, of Richmond, Virginia, would inherit the pole position for race number two on the evening due to NASCAR’s rule when it comes to twin races. Joining him on the front row was none other than defending Late Model national champion, Lee Pulliam. Chris Throckmorton, Cameron Bowen, and Brenden Queen would make up the rest of the top five starters when the race got underway.

 

In pretty typical fashion for 2017, race number two saw the cautions, torn up race cars and things that just make you say, dang. Brock would spin the tires at the drop of the green flag allowing Pulliam to use the outside groove to take the race lead out of turn number two. The rest of the field, for the most part, took the hint and took Brock’s outside, freight training him and Chris Throckmorton well outside the top five. Have to admit, this was the first time we have ever seen a single car lose that many spots in a row running the inside line like that.

 

Pulliam, however, did not even think about looking back as the veteran driver opened up about a full second lead over the field. All eyes, however, were on the No. 77 machine of Connor Hall after starting shotgun on the field with forty-lap fresher tires, had made his way up to second just ten laps in. Once to Pulliam’s back bumper, the fresher rubber proved to be the advantage and Hall was able to make the pass and take the lead.

 

The evenings two and only cautions both came on lap twenty-two after Thomas Marks, who would clinch Rookie of the Year honors, went for a spin between turns three and four. This would bunch the field up and allow drivers to pick their restart line as Langley Speedway has the “Cone Rule.” Edwards would pull down pit road during the caution from the second position and ultimately end up nose first in his stall. Motor issues plaguing the 97.3 The Eagle crew and instead of running and causing more issues, decided to call it a night.

 

On what we thought was going to be the ensuing restart, Connor Hall would elect to stay on the bottom line while Pulliam would pull up even with the Hampton, Virginia driver. Once the green flag was displayed things took a turn for the worse as Hall could not get going causing a huge pile up on the inside line. Points leader Matt Waltz was turned on the front stretch, Mark Wertz and Cameron Bowen ending up with heavy front-end damage and out of the race. Thomas Marks night also went from not that great to even worse as he got a piece of the wreck. Due to the fact, the caution was displayed almost immediately after the green and the field was frozen, Hall was still scored your leader. However, he would pit multiple times and even climb out of the car thinking is night was over again will fuel pickup issues. Due to the lengthy caution for clean up, his crew was able to get the problem resolved and their driver back on the track.

 

One the track was clear and the green was displayed, Lee Pulliam would find himself in control with Brenden Queen in tow, looking for that first win at home as well. The race would see no more cautions and a very hungry and very fast Connor Hall move up through the field picking off one car at a time. The lap of record was fifty-one when Hall took the lead from Pulliam and never looked back to pick up his third career Late Model Stock victory and first at home.

 

“We were fast in practice all day,” Connor told The Weekly Racer after the races. “We had a pretty good mock run there in final practice which gave us a pretty good indicator where we would be for qualifying. Matt only got us by about two-hundredths of a second and Greg laid down a lap like he always does. We were just running there in that first race following Matt and Greg and the next thing I know the car is trying to spin out. We found out the track bar broke in half.”

 

Hall was able to drive back to pit road and give his crew a car to at least work on for the second race. The only downfall to when Connor retired from the race was that he did not make it to the halfway portion of the race which made him ineligible for the cone and free pass in the second race. However, that would end up being the least of his worries.

 

“We started dead last there in that second race and made it up to the lead by lap thirteen or so and to make a long story short the car just cut off on me there on the restart,” Hall went on to explain. “I jammed up my teammate Mark Wertz, he ran right into the back of me. I feel really bad because it busted his radiator but on the bright side, we did get the monkey off our backs finally. I just have to thank all my sponsors and my team for really working hard.”

 

With the regular season at Langley wrapping up along with the NWAAS national and state points, everyone will look forward to next weekend when teams converge on Martinsville Speedway for a chance at $25,000 and Grandfather clock. We asked Hall if he would be there running for that opportunity, it seemed that plans might still be up in the air.

 

“You might see me at Martinsville without my car,” Hall said. “I have really been focusing on college here lately. Racing hard in the summer. School is my job outside of racing, it is really important to me to get my education and race a lot later. We have a new Hedgecock car that’s almost done so we will probably be testing that a lot this off-season. You might see us at the Thanksgiving Classic as we have run really well there and maybe at the beach race. Hopefully, we can just continue with this momentum and get us a win at one of these big races this year.”

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Results – Race 1

  1. #97 Greg Edwards; 66
  2. #2 Matt Waltz; 66
  3. #55 Mark Wertz; 66
  4. #03 Brenden Queen; 66
  5. #19 Cameron Bowen; 65
  6. #63 Chris Throckmorton; 65
  7. #5 Lee Pulliam; 65
  8. #9 Alex Brock; 65
  9. #94 Cody Carlton; 65
  10. #88 Thomas Marks*; 55
  11. #4 Duane Shreeves; 47
  12. #77 Connor Hall; 26
  13. #71 Travis Wall; 9

 

Late Model Official Results – Race 2

  1. #77 Connor Hall; 66
  2. #5 Lee Pulliam; 66
  3. #03 Brenden Queen; 66
  4. #2 Matt Waltz; 66
  5. #63 Chris Throckmorton; 66
  6. #4 Duane Shreeves; 66
  7. #94 Cody Carlton; 65
  8. #9 Alex Brock; 64
  9. #88 Thomas Marks*; 29
  10. #97 Greg Edwards; 22
  11. #55 Mark Wertz; 22
  12. #19 Cameron Bowen; 22
  13. 13. #71 Travis Wall; 20