It took just shy of five hours to complete the rain-delayed Solid Rock Carriers 150 at Carteret County Speedway on Sunday, but after two lengthy delays, Connor Hall hoisted the trophy and the $10,000 check in an attrition-filled race.
Hall, 22, from Hampton, Virginia, took the lead on the opening lap of the race, passing Chris Burns with a power move on the outside, and dominated for much of the race – only surrendering the lead for three laps shortly after the halfway break. After the race, his second $10,000 victory in the past month and his third career Carteret County Speedway win, Hall was ecstatic about his triumph but also relieved the arduous race, which spanned for 4 hours and 57 minutes in length, had finally reached its conclusion.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” Hall said in victory lane. “I would like to think the Hampton Heat was the longest race of my life, but I’ve never had one where we had to fix the track and do a rain delay in the same race. As much as I wanted them to just call it and make it easy on me, I’m glad we stuck it out and I’m glad Carteret County stuck it out. I’ll give them credit. They got it done. They did a good job.”
Hall won the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway in July – a grueling race which was held amid excessive heat. Once again, in Sunday’s Solid Rock Carriers 150, Hall was able to hit his marks during the daytime and in prime time.
“I drove far from a perfect race,” Hall stated. “My guy [Tim] Allensworth, I missed a shift on a restart and we had been sitting from that patch. I guess I just got kind of out of the rhythm. Luckily, we weren’t wrecked. I’ve got to thank Tyler Horne for peddling it. We did run a good race. We stuck through it, and it was fun. The breaks didn’t do anything to my car because Carteret realized we did need to reset air pressures. I thank them for letting that happen. The night definitely helped this car. As soon as the sun went down and saw some colder weather coming, I knew it was going to be game on.”
Allensworth, who went on to finish second, appeared poised to mount a serious challenge to Hall on a lap 104 restart. Allensworth was able to draw even with Hall’s dominant car and was in the preferred line, but his challenge was cut short when Chris Burns and Stacy Puryear tangled for the second time behind the leaders on the race’s 106th lap.
A couple of laps, and over an hour, prior to the lap 106 incident, Burns had spun off Puryear’s front bumper. In the following incident, it was Puryear who went around after exchanging some contact with Burns. After getting his car re-fired, as the field was still under caution, Puryear and Burns tangled, resulting in heavy damage to both cars and both cars being parked for the remainder of the race.
Puryear was unavailable for comment after the race and Burns declined to comment, other than to congratulate Hall on his victory.
The 150-lap Limited Late Model spectacle was marred by weather all weekend. First, the race was postponed from its original Saturday date. Then, after the field had completed 26 laps and was under caution when Brandon Head blew a motor, the sky opened, prompting a 107-minute delay.
The second delay, which lasted for over 80 minutes, came on lap 103 when part of the track surface came apart, prompting a sinkhole to form. Safety crews were able to successfully patch the surface and conclude the race.
Allensworth went on to finish second to Hall – a result he was both disappointed and content with.
“Second’s always the first loser,” Allensworth commented. “We were hoping to get one more spot but Connor ran a great race. We got in so much trouble. I think we passed the most cars here today. We went to the back twice and came back through.
Brandon Clements finished in third while Tyler Horne and T.J. Barron rounded out the top-five.