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CARS Late Model Stock Tour

Connor Hall wins CARS Tour Langley in three-wide photo finish

It’s his first win with Nelson Motorsports too

Philip Goodman Photography

Connor Hall
Brent Crews
Carson Kvapil

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That’s it. That’s the recap.

There was, however, a lot that happened to set up the historic CARS Tour finish at Langley Speedway on Saturday.

There was a Brandon Pierce spin in Turn 4 after Hall took the white flag. That set up a green-white-checkers.

Championship leader Brenden Queen had worked his way to the front but was issued a black flag for a rear bumper bar hanging from the back of his Lee Pulliam Performance No. 03. Of course, that was the result of Hall running into the back of him while racing for the lead.

Queen was issued the black flag and promptly spun in Turn 2 to avoid losing a lap. He’s all but admitted it and the championship was front and center his reasoning.

It was a night, due to the tight confines and flat corners at the Hampton, Virginia bullring, that traditional racing ethics were challenged and compromised.

But through it all, Hall emerged victorious in that photo finish, and it was also his first since moving to Nelson Motorsports over the off-season with the goal of returning the three-time championship winning organization back to the top of the Late Model Stock world.

“That was badass,” Hall told Short Track Scene afterwards. “I don’t know what else to say. It was insane.”

Brent Crews still feels like if you look at the replay enough, a case can be made that he won the race. His spotter, Eric Roll, still entirely believes it with the conviction that Hall won only because he led the previous lap that too close to call finishes always go that direction.

“I’ve had 15 different people tell me I won and some say (Hall) won,” Crews said. “Honestly, I have no idea. All I know is that it’s a great night. This Mobil1 No. 29 Toyota Camry was on rails all night.”

And then there was Kvapil, the two-time and defending series champion, who spent the first half of the race thinking they were not even good enough to have a shot to win by the end of the night.

“It was pretty eventful,” said Kvapil. “I knew it was going to be one of those deals, where, it’s just a matter of who gets the inside coming to the checkers. We were able to get (Hall) loose off two, got under him but (Crews) was able to fill the hole too. I didn’t realize it because I was so focused on trying to get straight drive off (Hall).

“Once we got three-wide, I didn’t have the line I wanted for a drag race to the finish line. But overall, to come out of a place that I don’t feel that good, with a top-3, that’s a good night for us.”

Hall booed

It’s the second year in a row that the Hampton native has won the CARS Tour race at his home track but the reaction was much sharper than it was a year ago.

Since then, Hall has went on to win every single race at Langley that he has started, over a dozen when counting both CARS Tour races on his way to a NASCAR Weekly Series national championship and the locals are over it for whatever reasons.

They serenaded the 27-year-old with boos as he climbed from the Nelson Motorsports No. 22.

“It’s taken me awhile but I’ve started to embrace it,” Hall said. “You need good guys and bad guys. You need Kyle Busch, not that I’m saying I’m Kyle Busch but you need that kind of figure in racing to make it work.”

Is Hall a villain or is he simply a winner?

“I wouldn’t put it that way,” he said. “What I would say is that I think I am misunderstood by the general public. They think that I don’t work on my own cars. They think I just show up and drive. I’ve had people tell me I need to vlog like Landon (Huffman) and show them what I do at the shop and working with sponsors.

“At the end of the day, I don’t even want anyone to know what the inside of my shop looks like. I want to keep them guessing.”

It’ll probably keep them booing but he does keep winning.

Topsy turvy championship

This CARS Tour championship continues to be hotly contested through seven of the 17 scheduled races this season.

Hall retook the championship lead, which he had held up until last week when he was sent to the rear for contact with Kvapil, and Langley was where Queen effectively suffered the same fate with his black flag and subsequent spin.

Brent Crews continues to keep chipping away and is just five points behind Hall with Queen nine back.

“It changes so quick,” Hall said. “We’d be in a really good spot if it weren’t for being sent to the rear last week. That ship has sailed. It is what it is. I keep taking things one week at a time and I keep telling people that winning races fixes all problems and here we are.”

Crews is running one of the smartest seasons overall with only two finishes outside of the top-10 and his win at Orange County. He’s actively points racing.

“We’re trying to be smart, points racing,” he says. “That makes it hard when I took it three wide, trying to win. Great race.”

Queen, who met with series officials after the race, wanted to express to them that his hanging bumper bar was not an impediment to the race and if it was a penalty to him on Saturday at Langley, then it needs to be one every time it happens in the future.

“When (Hall) pile drove us, I guess it knocked the rear bumper free, which whatever, hard racing, I’m not mad about that,” Queen said. “It ran 8 laps or so before the black flag and it is within 10 laps to go. It sucks when you’re in this points battle, and as close as it is, and a call like that happens.

“I get the safety side of it. I just hope that call is going to be consistent, whether the shoe is on my foot or someone else’s. We led a lap so that helps. Bonus point. We’re not out of it. We’re going to go to Dominion and keep on fighting.”

Connor Hall
Brent Crews -5
Brenden Queen -9
Mini Tyrrell -21
Treyten Lapcevich -21
Carson Kvapil -22
Ryan Millington -23
Bobby McCarty -24
Chad McCumbee -31

CARS Tour VisitHampton225
Langley Speedway
May 1 2024

  1. #22 Connor Hall; 125
  2. #29 Brent Crews; 125
  3. #8 Carson Kvapil; 125
  4. #2w Matt Waltz; 125
  5. #77 Treyten Lapcevich; 125
  6. #15 Ryan Millington; 125
  7. #16 Chad McCumbee; 125
  8. #6 Bobby McCarty; 125
  9. #08 Deac McCaskill; 125
  10. #45 Bryce Applegate; 125
  11. #04 Ronnie Bassett Jr.; 125
  12. #1 Andrew Grady; 125
  13. #81 Mini Tyrrell; 125
  14. #03 Brenden Queen; 125
  15. #44 Connor Jones; 125
  16. #55 Gavan Boschele; 125
  17. #95 Jacob Heafner; 125
  18. #21 Tyler Tomassi; 125
  19. #23 Kade Brown; 125
  20. #71 Katie Hettinger; 125
  21. #2 Brandon Pierce; 125
  22. #62 Landen Lewis; 125
  23. #24 Cody Dempster; 61
  24. #11 Buddy Isles Jr.; 55

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.

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