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NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series

Connor Hall reflects on NASCAR Weekly National Championship

Ryan M. Kelly | NASCAR

Newly crowned NASCAR Weekly Series National Champion Connor Hall feels misunderstood.

“Not in a negative way,” he points out, but just in terms of how he goes about racing every week and what it took for him to even find the time, commitment and resources needed to race for the national championship in the first place.

He competes in CARS Tour for Chad Bryant Racing, one of the finest operations in the Mid-Atlantic, so that must mean Hall has the kind of discretionary income to make racing a full-time endeavor en route to an obvious NASCAR national touring career and that’s not the case, either.

Hall, 26, works in sales for the yacht distributor founded by his father Earle, with an emphasis on works. Like most everyone else who races at the Late Model level, bills have to get paid before loading a car in the hauler and Hall opened this conversation with a joke that he’s trying to avoid getting fired over how much he has raced the past five weeks.

Since deciding to chase NASCAR points in August, Hall has raced two to three races a week, and that’s on top of putting in the midweek work at Bluewater Yacht Sales. That he has been so successful, especially over the past two seasons, comes with more misunderstandings.

“People don’t realize that I race out of my dad’s shop,” Hall said. “People don’t realize that I know how to put these cars together myself. I’m not playing broke but people think this is a white-collar racing deal and it’s not.

“Chad Bryant has made our family program so much faster the past couple of years and I sometimes wonder how we even got to this point together. When we first met a couple of years ago, he could have told me to kick rocks, but he’s made us better in every facet too.”

Hall has always wanted to be a full-time race car driver, but that just hasn’t happened yet.

“Instead, I have a full-time job that takes me all over the country, mostly the east coast, and I’m just a normal guy that works really hard to be able to race as much as I can.”

Hall began the season chasing a CARS Tour championship after finishing runner-up in the standings to Carson Kvapil and JR Motorsports in 2022. How close the No. 77 team came to that accomplishment left him incredibly driven to make up the difference this summer.

They weren’t that far off either, but the circumstances of the season left them with a choice. Wanting to race as much as possible to keep getting better, Hall spent his free Saturdays racing his blue family car near home at Langley Speedway where he won 10 in a row through August.

Undefeated!

As a result, Hall was the NASCAR Weekly Series national championship leader which presented some tough choices, especially when a pair of races at Langley conflicted with the $30,000-to-win CARS Tour Old North State Nationals at Tri-County. Initially, Bryant was like, ‘lets chase both because no one has ever done both’ but then pushed Hall towards focusing entirely on NASCAR points.

“Any normal racer, I feel like would choose the chance to win $30,000 but I saw that as a chance to gain on points,” Hall said. “By that point, (Doug Barnes Jr.) had six wins and we were already over halfway to max wins (eight) and I saw Langley as a chance to gain points, pad our maximum.

“At the same time, my dad and really anyone who I’ve ever respected have said you shouldn’t half-ass two things when you can go all-in for one.”

Hall was third place in CARS Tour points, 20 behind Kvapil and four behind Brenden Queen in second, and went all-in. He had Bryant’s complete blessing, agreeing to make up the missed CARS Tour races elsewhere throughout the year, and dedicated the last five weeks to maximizing his NASCAR points.

He went to Hickory Motor Speedway on August 12 and swept a pair of Twin 40s, an important result because he defeated Barnes in both of those races, adding to his total and denying his closest challenger a chance to do the same. He did the same thing the next night at Southern National Motorsports Park.

Hall actually finished second at Langley to six-time champion Greg Edwards in a pair of twin features on August 26, the first races he hadn’t won at their home track but responded with a pair of victories on September 9.

Those were wins 12 and 13 at Langley and NASCAR points paying victories 15 and 16 in addition to a CARS Tour win at home, too. The win championship was made official on Tuesday after NASCAR’s standard points audit and now it’s a fair question to wonder what comes next.

Josh Berry and Layne Riggs have both used the national championship to catapult towards a national touring career and Hall would absolutely like to follow in those footsteps but it comes back to funding and maximizing what resources he has.

“It’s too early to know if this will lead to something,” Hall said, while conceding that calls have started to come his way from interested parties.

“I’m trying my damnedest to be a NASCAR driver. Short of being a good father and husband, there is nothing I want more in life than to be a full-time race car driver. I say Trucks more than Xfinity only because I feel like maybe the 20-race schedule is more realistic than a 33 race one.

“But when the choice is $200,000 for a full Late Model season or two truck races, I mean that’s an easy choice, only because I want to be commit to being the best race car driver I can be and I can only do that by racing.”

It goes back to the half-ass versus all-in mantra inspired by his father.

For now, his immediate attention turns to this weekend at Martinsville Speedway and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 — the richest Late Model Stock race in the discipline.

It’s one of those make-up races to Chad Bryant, and there is nothing more he would like to do to add a grandfather clock to his national championship, while also delivering a major accomplishment to Bryant for everything he’s done to elevate his career.

“I never would have imagined I would be here,” Hall said. “I’ve already had the best year and winning Martinsville would just be a dream come true.

“But to do it with Chad would be amazing too. I called him last night and just thanked him for his understanding while we chased this thing and to thank him for his mentorship. I feel like none of this was supposed to happen and so much of it is also because of him.”

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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