Connor Hall aboard the No. 77 late model to the NASCAR Weekly Series national championship last year. (NASCAR photo)

Connor Hall’s ‘Dream-Come-True’ Season

The grass in Connor Hall’s front yard may be overgrown, but it’s for good reason.

The Virginia native hasn’t been home much this year, as he’s spent about 20 weekends on the road, chasing the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series championship.

And in between the travel, there’s been plenty to keep him busy, such as his day job selling boats at Bluewater Yacht Sales, weekly maintenance on his family-owned No. 77 late model and everything else that comes with being a 20-something-year-old.

So yes, mowing the grass had to wait until a Tuesday afternoon in early October, when the racing season finally took its first breath.

“I was gone so much that my grass is three feet tall,” Hall said, chuckling. “Not really. But honestly, I’m just trying to get my life back in check and organized.”

The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind for Hall, who hit the ground running in April and didn’t check up until September when he wrapped up his first NASCAR Weekly Series national championship.

While it was a successful season, it wasn’t exactly the year the 26-year-old anticipated.

In February, Hall was pushing the pedal full speed toward the CARS Tour.

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NASCAR national champion Connor Hall in victory lane at Virginia’s Langley Speedway. (Langley Speedway photo)

He originally intended to run the full 16-race campaign with Chad Bryant Racing and contend for the tour’s prestigious late model stock car title.

Along with that, Hall had spent the 2022 offseason rebuilding his own late model and wanted to dedicate a fair amount of time to testing the setup, as he was planning to take it to the esteemed Hampton Heat 200 at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway in July.

“I credited last year’s top-five effort to the fact that I didn’t spend any time racing my own stuff, really,” Hall explained. “So we kind of just set out with the goal to at least race enough to have a good bit of information for the Hampton Heat.”

But it didn’t take long for his plans to change.

After driving his No. 77 late model to an unexpected victory on opening night at Langley Speedway, Hall had more than just information. He had a new opportunity.

“It was just kind of one of those like, ‘What do we do now?’ moments,” Hall said. “So then we went back, kept going back and once we had won a couple races in a row, it was more of just a point of like, ‘Well, we have to go back to try to continue the streak.’”

Eleven wins later, it became difficult to ignore the possibilities.

“Once we got up to 10 wins, I kind of knew that we were going to need to try and chase the national title,” Hall said.

However, regardless of how obvious the decision felt, Hall had a bit of a dilemma on his hands.

Due to his original commitment to race the CARS Tour with Chad Bryant, Hall was considered a Touring 12 member — meaning he would be required to appear at every race, or be at risk of fines from the series.

But if he wanted to better his chances at winning the NASCAR Weekly Series title, Hall would likely be unable to run the full CARS Tour as planned.

“I think it could have been done, but I just thought, usually nothing good comes out of it when you have half your eggs in one basket, half in the other,” Hall said.

With that in mind, Hall turned to his team owner.

“I sat and talked to Chad (Bryant) and he was like, ‘Look, go for it. There aren’t many years you get positioned well enough to go after it,’” Hall said.

Next, he wrote a letter to the CARS Tour, asking to be excused from his commitment. Following an explanatory phone call with series co-owners Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hall was given the green light.

“They were like, ‘Go win the damn thing,’” Hall said.

From that point, it became an all-out war for Hall, who bounced among five NASCAR-sanctioned tracks to keep his weekly series title hopes alive. He recorded commanding wins at three of them — Langley, Southern National Motorsports Park and Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

But Hall hasn’t spent much time reflecting on his victories, at least, until now.

“I’m the worst at appreciating what’s happened. I’m always just so focused on what’s next,” Hall explained. “Like, OK, we won last week, but as soon as we unload the car, last week is over already.”

Despite the tunnel vision, there’s a myriad of reasons why this season has been one for the books for last year’s Throwback 276 winner.

For one, out of his 18 wins this year, 14 of them came at Langley — the .395-mile short track where Hall cut his teeth as a young driver.

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Connor Hall celebrates a CARS Tour victory at Langley (Va.) Speedway. (CARS Tour photo)

It’s where he contested his first go-kart race when he was 8 years old. And since then, he’s wheeled everything from Legend Cars to K&N East stock cars to late models within the track walls. And most recently, it’s where he tied a neat bow on his national NASCAR championship.

As far as it’s status on the motorsports map, Hall admits the track isn’t necessarily iconic or nationally renowned. But nonetheless, it’s been a very relevant place in his career.

Secondly, there was a long list of “firsts” Hall added to his record.

Along with the weekly series Division I title, he won his first late model track championship at Langley. He dominated two late model stock car features at Langley on the same night. And, he won at two different race tracks on the same weekend.

The latter accomplishment took place in mid-August, and the story behind it has become one of Hall’s best anecdotes from the season.

After sweeping a pair of Twin-40s at Hickory Motor Speedway on Aug. 12, Hall hopped in the hauler to make the three-hour trek to Southern National Motorsports Park.

“That weekend I had Robert Arch spotting for me, so I spent like an hour at Robert’s house (in Raleigh) sleeping, then he and I went to Southern National the very next morning with two of our other guys,” Hall said. “As soon as we unloaded, we basically had to reset the whole car.”

Less than 24 hours after visiting victory lane at Hickory, Hall was clutching another checkered flag — this time, at the hallowed four-tenths-mile oval on the North Carolina coast.

Needless to say, the feat was worth the lost sleep.

“Never in a million years did I ever think I’d have a program competitive enough to go to two different race tracks within the same weekend and win races,” Hall said. 

Considering that it’s essentially Hall, his dad and friend, Clayton Parrish, who maintain the race car during the week, it was a bit surprising to Hall to contend for the championship.

But through both the easy weeks and the hard weeks — with maintenance duties ranging anywhere from oil changes and minor tweaks, to pulling engines and rear ends — the family-run operation prevailed.

All around, it’s simply been a “dream-come-true” kind of season for Hall, who, on top of his championship, finished second in the Hampton Heat and added a fourth CARS Tour victory to his résumé.

“I’ve never had a schedule this crazy,” Hall said with a laugh. “It was cool to find that there were more people supporting me than I really thought I had out there. Throughout the year, I would get to race tracks and I’d have people I’d never seen in my entire life come up to me and be like, ‘Man, you’re going to win this thing. We’ve been following you.’

“It was just cool to see how many people were truly keeping up with what I was trying to accomplish.”

This story appeared in the Nov 22, 2023, edition of the SPEED SPORT Insider.

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