Emotional hometown victory a year ago has Hall excited for 2014 event
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Every once in a while Pro Stock Motorcycle rider John Hall will go upstairs and look at the Wally that came with his first career NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series victory at the inaugural Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.

What hits him is usually a string of exciting emotions, a number of thrilling memories and everything else that comes along with a first NHRA victory.

“I didn’t know if I would ever get a Wally and when you get it, you can’t believe it,” Hall said. “Whoever won was going to be the first winner at this event and for it to be my first win, it felt pretty cool. I couldn’t believe it. When I look at that Wally it brings back a lot of memories. I could come back here in 20 years and still be known as the first Pro Stock Motorcycle winner.”

Hall gets a chance to defend that crown and become the first two-time winner in the class at New England Dragway at the second annual Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals, which takes place June 19-22 and marks the fifth of 16 races for the Pro Stock Motorycle class.

Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) were also inaugural winner of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event that exceeded all expectations and will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.

The victory clearly meant a lot for Hall, a Hamden, Conn., native, who also had the unique claim of being able to say his first career win came at his home track thanks to his performance at Epping. Hall also remembered the tremendous reception for the event from the massive crowd, which only added to his excitement level.

“The fans were great and they were waiting a long time for us to come up there,” Hall said. “They were so appreciative and probably the most appreciative fans I’ve ever met. It was unbelievable how many fans were there and that was a huge thrill.”

That victory at Epping sent Hall to second in points at the time and he finished eighth overall, also nabbing a victory on his Buell at the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.

Hall’s strong 2013 season has carried over to 2014 as well, as he currently sits third behind the Harley-Davidson tandem of Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec. Hall posted three straight semifinal finishes to start the year and feels confident about where his season is headed as the PSM class enters the bulk of its regular-season schedule.

“I think we’re in a really good place,” Hall said. “The motorcycle is running great and I’m a lot more comfortable now than I was in the past. It takes a while to get comfortable on these bikes. I started to feel comfortable at some races and others I didn’t, but the bike has been consistent and I really feel comfortable. But there’s always something you can improve on and with everybody running so close in this class, you really have to be on your game with your reaction time. You have to be on your game on every pass.”

Besides Krawiec and Hines, who have combined to win the last three events, Hall will face strong competition from the likes of reigning world champion Matt Smith, Hector Arana Jr., Michael Ray and Scotty Pollacheck. Hall, though, remains confident, especially heading to a track that has already carries so many good vibes.

“It would be awesome to get another win in Epping,” Hall said. “We still have same engine in the bike and it’s going to be cool to come back and be the defending champion of the race. We just have to stay consistent and I need to have strong reaction times, but I feel like we have a chance to win every race.”

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Families who are planning to attend the event will want to take advantage of the free tickets for kids ages 12 and under. Fans will also want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

The race also will feature thrilling action in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, June 20, with sessions at 4:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, June 21, at 12:15 and 2:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 22.

To experience the roaring excitement of the NHRA New England Nationals get your tickets by calling (603) 679-8001 or by visiting www.newenglanddragway.com