Race Weekend Central

Counting Cars: 3 Takeaways from the 3-Wide Finish at Langley

HAMPTON, Va. — The zMAX CARS Tour took to the four-tenths mile Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway on Saturday night (June 1), with only the Late Model Stock Cars on hand for the VisitHampton.com 125.

The CARS Tour drivers electrified the packed crowd with action from beginning to end before three drivers took the checkered flag almost simultaneously. Hampton native Connor Hall won in front of his home crowd in a three-wide finish, beating Brent Crews by 0.007 seconds, with Carson Kvapil 0.064 seconds back in third.

The finish provided a viral moment for the series, but it was far from the only highlight of the night. Here are three takeaways from the VisitHampton.com 125 at Langley.

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It’s Gonna be a Drag Race

You can’t talk about this race without breaking down the finish and taking a look at the three players involved. On a restart with two laps to go in the 125-lap event, Hall led the field to green with Kvapil on his outside and Crews behind him in third.

Hall was able to clear Kvapil coming to the white flag, but Kvapil nudged the No. 22 coming out of turn 2. Kvapil got underneath of Hall entering turn 3, but hard racing from the duo opened the door for Crews to dive under Kvapil with a head of steam. The three cars emerged from the final corner side-by-side-by-side, with no one in attendance knowing who crossed the start/finish line first until timing and scoring showed Hall ahead.

“I held it wide open, and I pretty much was already apologizing to the crew, because I knew I was probably going to put it in the fence,” Hall told Frontstretch. “But I’d rather put one in the fence and win than put one in the fence probably and not win. So I took that into my own matters and just pretty much had my mind made up. It was either going to be concrete with a win or concrete without one.”

Crews being in contention at the end was no surprise. The Orange County Speedway winner started from the pole Saturday night and held the lead for the opening 100 laps before getting shuffled out on a restart when Brenden “Butterbean” Queen took the top spot.

“The 03 [Queen] just kind of ran through me a little bit, but I mean, it’s Langley, right?” Crews told Frontstretch. “So it seems like everybody just runs through each other the last 25 [laps].”

Dropping just outside the top five, the Hickory, N.C., native rallied to come within inches of the lead. Crews said he had no idea who had won when he first took the checkered flag.

“We were like right here at the choose cone, and I knew it was between me and the 22 [Hall],” Crews said. “I didn’t know who had it. Hats off to Connor and them. I know he gets a lot of boos here, but they’re great people. If I didn’t get the win, then I wanted it to be him.”

Unlike Crews, Hall and Kvapil were not in contention for the win for most of the night. In fact, they spent a large chunk of the race battling each other at the back of the top 10.

“All day, we really had to race our tail off to just to hold the top 10,” Kvapil told Frontstretch. “Didn’t have a good car, honestly. Blame me on that one. Just didn’t get it right for the race. We were just struggling everywhere through the corner.

“I feel like if I was able to be more toward the front and save and not have to run so hard, I think we’d have a better shot at it there at the end.”

Despite the lack of speed, Kvapil took advantage of the numerous restarts in the race’s last 25 laps to climb his way up the leaderboard and get to the front row on the final restart.

“I thought I had him [Hall], but once we got three-wide, I kind of knew we were going to be in trouble,” Kvapil said.

While Kvapil’s car never came to him, Hall’s car started equally as bad but got better as the race went on.

“I’m feeling pretty awesome because I will be 100% honest,” Hall said. “At lap 75, I was like eighth, I think, and I told my guys that we just completely missed it this week. It’s like once I got some availability to not worry about being around other cars and using the whole racetrack — I don’t know if it was a timing thing or if I had my fans the right way, but I fired off with a couple restarts to go and it was way better.

“And I was just like, ‘I’m just gonna keep doing the exact same thing until it does something different.’ And luckily, it held on for us.”

The win was Hall’s first of the season and first since Langley last year. He regains the CARS LMSC points lead following the victory.

Hometown Feud Carries Over

Given that Hall won at the track located in his hometown of Hampton, the crowd must have been ecstatic for him, right?

Wrong.

When he climbed out of the racecar, Hall was greeted with some cheers, but they were drowned our by a chorus of boos.

That’s because there’s a rivalry between Hall and Queen dating back to their NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series days at Langley.

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Queen, from nearby Chesapeake, Va., is the overwhelming fan favorite there. His merchandise table had a long line throughout Saturday night. When he took the lead, the crowd erupted.

“I couldn’t [hear the crowd], but I definitely know this place is electric,” Queen told Frontstretch. “And it’s been really electric when I show back up here. Bean Nation was in full force tonight, so I was just super proud to have the support. Know that I appreciate every single one of them.”

Queen is the driver the Langley fans love. Hall is who they love to boo.

“I think the general consensus for the weekly stuff is that I cheat a lot,” Hall said. “Nothing against Brenden [Queen] when I say this, but for whatever reason, he just has like a cult following here. Which like I said, great for him. He sells a pile of T-shirts, I wish I could too.

“I think it’s just kind of like this is your — I don’t want to use an analogy to [NASCAR Cup Series] people, because we’re not there yet. But this might be like, I don’t know, I’m a Kyle Busch, he’s a Dale [Earnhardt] Jr.Chase Elliott kind of fan-favorite, and I get the boos. But honestly, him and I race our tails off, and he’s really good.

During his post-race interview with Frontstretch, Crews paused when he heard the boos for Hall and said, “Holy smokes.”

A run-in between the pair Saturday night amped up the crowd that much more. Queen was leading with just under 18 laps to go, Hall got into the back of Queen and Crews ran into Hall. This led the Nos. 03 and 22 to both be sideways but both caught it and continued on.

“I mean Brenden [Queen] and I touched pretty good,” Hall said. “But I really think, honestly, I tried moving him a little bit down here in [turns] 1 and 2, but getting into 3, I felt like I was just gonna try to push him up the racetrack. And then the 29 [Crews] just came piling into me.

“Not saying like anything bad, but it just caught me way off guard, and I think I caught Brenden off guard. … And it was just a crazy chain of events.”

Queen’s version of the story differed slightly from Hall’s.

“Got a little physical on those restarts, and then I think the 22 [Hall] got into us pretty hard down there in [turns] 3 and 4 and knocked the bumper loose,” Queen said.

While the two Virginia drivers continued on, damage to Queen’s bumper caused the right-rear to drag on the ground. Queen was black flagged for the safety hazard with eight laps to go.

“It’s a bummer, leading the points and you get a black flag with eight [laps] to go,” Queen said. “I get the position they’re in. They got to make a safety call. But it’s just really hard to take and swallow when the points battle’s this close.”

Queen’s dramatic night wasn’t done there. Immediately after he was shown the black flag, Queen’s No. 03 car spun in the next corner, bringing out a caution. That led series officials to park Queen for a lap, and he was called to the CARS Tour hauler following the race – a meeting he claimed went well.

“Not that anybody’s mad at anybody or anything like that, it’s just questions to be asked,” Queen said. “You want to take advantage of that moment and just learn how things can go differently next time and be better and stuff like that. Just trying to handle it professionally.”

Queen was visibly unhappy after the race. He and Hall did not talk.

“It’s just racing,” Queen said. “I don’t have no issues with him or anything like that.”

Racing Like His Father Before Him

Due to the Pro Late Models being off this week, a few of the weekly Langley series served as companion events with the CARS LMSC race. One of those series was the legend cars, and one of the CARS co-owners’ son was a highlight of that race.

Keelan Harvick, son of NASCAR Cup Series champion, FOX broadcaster and CARS co-owner Kevin Harvick, raced at Langley for the first time Saturday. And his third-place result was well-earned.

The younger Harvick was inside the top five for nearly the first two-thirds of the 30-lap race. But contact sent Harvick and one of his competitors spinning off into turn 2.

“I just got drove through,” Harvick told Frontstretch. “It was 50/50 [on blame]. I got hit off my teammate, and I started coming down. But it was 50/50.”

Harvick had to restart at the rear of the field and spent the rest of the race carving his way up the running order before settling in at third.

“That was a lot of bumper cars,” Harvick said. “But we had a really fast Hunt Brothers Pizza machine, and it worked out at the end.”

VisitHampton.com 125 Results

  1. Connor Hall
  2. Brent Crews
  3. Carson Kvapil
  4. Matt Waltz
  5. Treyten Lapcevich
  6. Ryan Millington
  7. Chad McCumbee
  8. Bobby McCarty
  9. Deac McCaskill
  10. Bryce Applegate
  11. Ronnie Bassett Jr.
  12. Andrew Grady
  13. Mini Tyrrell
  14. Brenden “Butterbean” Queen
  15. Conner Jones
  16. Gavan Boschele
  17. Jacob Heafner
  18. Tyler Tomassi
  19. Kade Brown
  20. Katie Hettinger
  21. Brandon Pierce
  22. Landen Lewis
  23. Cody Dempster
  24. Buddy Isles Jr.

What’s Next?

The Late Model Stocks stay in the state of Virginia to race at Dominion Raceway on June 15. The Pro Late Models are once again off as it will be the entire month of June. That tour will be back in action on Wednesday, July 3, when both series head to Caraway Speedway. Live coverage of every CARS Tour event can be viewed on FloRacing.

About the author

Michael.massie 113x150

Michael Massie joined Frontstretch in 2017 and has served as the Content Director since 2020. Massie, a Richmond, Va., native, has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, SRX and the CARS Tour. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad and Green Bay Packers minority owner can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies and Packers.

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