Racers from all over North America will make their way to New Smyrna Speedway next week for the 50th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing. Among those racers will be 21-year-old Garrett Hall, a weekly competitor at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME), who will make the trip to New Smyrna Beach, Florida from his hometown of Scarborough, Maine.
Hall, who finished second in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points in the state of Maine one year ago, will make the trip with his family-owned No. 94 Super Late Model race team.
“I’ve always wanted to go down,” Hall told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “A couple years ago I went down with Larry Gelinas and helped him. Ever since then I’ve wanted to bring down my car whether it was this car right now or a couple years from now. It’s just something I’ve always had an interest in doing.”
As Hall makes his way to New Smyrna Speedway for the first night of racing on February 12, he will be doing it with a dedicated group of roughly 10 volunteer crew members. While they all consider leaving the cold Maine winter behind as a vacation in itself, the main objective for them will be success at the race track.
“Everybody from my team is excited about it and they’ve all been behind it 100-percent, so they’re all going too,” Hall explained. “That’s a big confidence booster for me knowing that everybody believes in me that much to spend that much money to come down to help.
“Our main objective is to be successful racing. If things turn out well and we start doing well then we’ll see what happens. Obviously, it will be a little bit of a vacation getting out of here.”
Although Hall has never entered an event outside of the New England area, he has in fact turned a lap at New Smyrna Speedway before. Surprisingly, that lap wasn’t turned on an online racing simulator. In fact, it was turned right in New Smyrna Beach, Florida behind the wheel of a Super Late Model.
“When I went down and helped Larry he let me go out and practice his car once, so I got somewhat of a feel,” Hall stated. “In order to run with those guys down there you have to go down there, experience it and learn things. If there’s other races and stuff we want to do we’ll know where we match up and how to improve and get better.”
During his rookie season behind the wheel of a Super Late Model in 2015, Hall turned heads by finishing second in points in the Pro Series division at Beech Ridge. In addition to his success at his home track, he also recorded two top-five and three top-10 finishes in Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North competition.
Despite that success one year ago, Hall has realistic expectations as he makes his way to Florida during the month of February.
“Obviously there’s a lot of people down there with a lot of money, so if we were to finish in the top 10 every night and just gain a lot of experience then that would kind of be what my expectations are right now.”
One of the biggest challenges facing Hall and his race team will be the unprecedented amount of races (seven races in nine days) during such a short period of time. Racing weekly at Beech Ridge, he is accustomed to having a full week to work on the car after a race. That won’t be the case at New Smyrna when his team will have less than 24 hours on most days to get the car ready for another battle.
“We all know that we have to do what we normally do in a week within 24 hours,” Hall stated. “We’re all on the same page and we understand. I guess more of the reason why I would want to race down there is because you gain a lot more experience racing every day, whereas if you were to just go to the Snowball or something you’d just have that one weekend to learn and do everything.”
Hall’s performance at New Smyrna will help to determine his plans for the rest of the 2016 season. Following a full season at Beech Ridge last year, he is considering a heavier dose of PASS North races during his sophomore campaign.
“I guess we’ll just see where it goes after New Smyrna to see what we want to do whether it is racing Beech Ridge or going and doing some different races,” he said. “It all depends on how Florida goes. If we still have a car or whatever we want to go race the car at Thompson because the car should be pretty much set up for that PASS race. We have five races on the PASS Tour before Beech Ridge even starts so that’s kind of what I planned on doing and then going from there.”
For more information on the 50th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, visit www.newsmyrnaspeedway.org.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: George Silbermann/@NASCARMayor