LUCAMA, NC – Chris Hales is a relative newcomer onto the racing scene at Southern National Motorsports Park, but he has already made some noise with a third place finish in the season opening race.
Hales, 35, from Lucama began racing mid-season last year and currently competes in the Mini Stock class at Southern National Motorsports Park. As a kid, Hales grew up watching races at the Wilson County Fairgrounds dirt track prior to the opening of Southern National, just a few miles from his house, in 1993.
“I watched races with my family all my life,” Hales said. “Watching NASCAR, going as a kid to Wilson County Fairgrounds watching some races there. When Southern National opened up in the 90s, we’d always go since we were five minutes away from the track.”
Now, Hales is a regular at the track and he finds himself knocking on the door of his first victory.
“I just need to get the car to drive a little better I reckon,” Hales remarked. “It has a lot to do with setup. The car has been there but off at the same time and I’m still getting used to the car. Hopefully I can pull one out this weekend, that would be nice.”
During the day Hales is a flooring installer for Carpets by David, which also sponsors his racing. Along with support from them, he also gets help from Derick Forehand, a Lucama resident who has been involved with Southern National racing for years. Hales goes to the track with his wife, Stephanie, and his kids.
“I have my wife and kids go to the track,” Hales commented. “Mainly I started racing because my buddies racing R/C cars moved up so I moved up with them. It would mean the world to get a win. It’d be exciting I think. I’d have to see what it feels like to get that win.”
For Hales, Southern National Motorsports Park is something of an extended family. He says he gets along with all the drivers and everyone helps each other without any personal grudges while racing hard but racing clean.
“All the guys in our class get along pretty well,” Hales explained. “There aren’t any grudges or anything, we’re all friends outside the track and in the track. We go there to have fun and not try to tear each other up. There’s a lot of respect even with the new guys, we help them out as much as we can.”
Hales will be back in action in the Mini Stock class in Saturday night’s K&N Filters SummerFest 300 presented by Kenly Hardware. His best finish in 2017, so far, is a third place finish back in March.
Saturday’s race is headlined by the Fast Five Pro Late Model Series and also features racing for Late Model Stock Cars, Chargers, Legends, Bandoleros, Any Cars and the Southern Ground Pounders Vintage Racing Club. The green flag flies on the K&N SummerFest 300 at 7pm.
For more information about Southern National Motorsports Park, check out SNMP’s website at www.snmpark.com, “like” Southern National Motorsports Park on Facebook or “follow” @SNM_Park on Twitter.