The Future, Near and Far, is Bright For NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series Driver Matt Hall DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 27, 2004) - The 2004 season has not been one in which NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series ...
The Future, Near and Far, is Bright For NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series Driver Matt Hall
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 27, 2004) - The 2004 season has not been one in which NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series driver Matt Hall has run amongst the leaders and compete for wins, but that does not mean it wasn't valuable and no good came of it.
"To be honest, very little has gone well for us this year and we had some high expectations," admitted Hall. "We never could get it going. It's one of those deals that whatever can go wrong did and our luck was not all that good." It is not all that hard to get drivers to confess that luck is a factor when it comes to short-track racing. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time is a common and valid reason for a long night at the track.
"I can't blame everything on luck," said the resident of Spokane, Wash. "As a team, we've had our hand in this, too."
However, as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. "The best thing for us this year was renting that car from Travis (Bennett) in Montana," Hall said. During practice for the race at Montana Raceway Park in Kalispell, Mont. Hall lost the motor on his #28 RentQuest/Affordable Graphics Chevrolet, so he and his team rented Travis Bennett's back-up car in order to run the race. "We got the opportunity to feel how another type of chassis felt and I liked it, so that is one of the main things we are going to change for next season," Hall stated.
In his third full season of racing in the Northwest Series, Hall feels that the learning process never really ends. "In addition to learning on your own over the course of time, many of the other drivers and teams in the series are willing to help out, as well," said the 24 year-old driver. "I'll listen to anyone once. We have a great bunch of guys and more often than not their advice has worked out for the better."
Often times when things are going not so well, a driver's exuberance can be tempered with the thought of what can go wrong next, but that is not the case for Hall. He is very excited for the next race, the Ranch & Home 125 at TriCity Raceway in West Richland, Wash., a track that he once was a successful Late Model competitor and one that he likes.
"It's really a driver's track," explained Hall. "There are three different corners to set-up for and most of the time you have to sacrifice one of them in order to run good in the other two. That's what puts the race more in the driver's hands and not so much on the set-up of the car." He also noted that while he has seen three-wide racing there, it's a solid two-groove track if the car is working well. "It's such a good running track that I think we can do well and start some good momentum to end the season."
Hall is not only excited about the next race, but he is also invigorated with what is to come. "I'm really looking forward to what this off-season will bring to this race team," said Hall. "In addition to the chassis change we plan to make, we have some key people lined up to join the team and we have had discussions with some new sponsors who will bring some good things to the table. Everything will really come together."
Seat time is a term that young drivers use referring to time spent behind the steering wheel driving a racecar. He said, "For a young guy like me, seat time is the most important thing. I'm getting that. We're learning as a team. We've got good things on the horizon and I hope the talk of adding some tracks to the series are true. I like going to the different places plus the exposure to different tracks is nothing but a good thing."
The Hall family-owned #28 car has a rich history that has seen successful Northwest Series drivers the likes of Greg Biffle, Kirk Rogers and Monte English behind its wheel. That legacy is safe and will include Matt Hall before all is said and done.
What: Ranch & Home 125 (Race No. 10 of 12 in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series).
Where: TriCity Raceway, West Richland, Wash.
When: 9:00 p.m. PDT (approx.), Saturday, Sept. 4, 2004.
Track layout: 1/2-mile tri-oval.
Race length: 125 laps/62.5 miles.
Posted awards: $42,092.
2003 winner: Jeff Jefferson.
2003 polesitter: Jason Jefferson.
Top 10 in points: 1. Garrett Evans 1420, 2. Jason Jefferson 1372, 3. Travis Bennett 1371, 4. Jeff Jefferson 1337, 5. Gary Lewis 1314, 6. Pete Harding 1310, 7. Brandon Riehl 1301, 8. Wes Rhodes 1269, 9. Joe Benedetti 1249. 10. Steven Howard 1246.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): 12:00 p.m. Registration opens, 3:00-4:45 p.m. Practice, 5:45 p.m. Time Trials.