Silver Hare Racing Eyes Home-Track Advantage at VIR
October 6, 2022
HIGH POINT, N.C. (Oct. 6, 2022) – There may or may not be such a thing as a home-track advantage in a racing discipline as hotly competitive as the TA2 class of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli. But the Silver Hare Racing duo of Maurice Hull and Connor Zilisch can certainly lay claim to one as they head to Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton for the penultimate TA2 race of the season.
The picturesque 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course that plays host to Saturday’s Mission Foods VIR SpeedTour sits a little more than an hour northeast of Silver Hare Racing’s headquarters in High Point, North Carolina, and just four miles as the crow flies from the Waukegan Farms property in Semora, North Carolina, the second home of Hull and his wife and team co-owner Laura.
Hull, the three-time TA2-class Masters champion, has logged more laps at VIR than at any other track in his more than 20 years of racing, highlighted by multiple victories in vintage stock cars. Hull has finished in or just outside the top-10 in each of his last five TA2 outings dating back to 2018.
Meanwhile, VIR may not technically be the home track for Zilisch, who hails from Mooresville, North Carolina, but the 16-year-old driving phenom felt right at home from the very first time he turned a wheel at the facility during a Silver Hare Racing test day instigated by NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick in the spring of 2021. Just 14 years old at the time, Zilisch showed his penchant for getting up to speed quickly no matter the racing machinery and, by the end of the day, was flirting with the TA2 track record. He returned in the fall, a year ago this weekend, for his first taste of TA2 racing and promptly became the youngest pole winner in series history with a track-record lap of 1:48.905. On raceday, he became the youngest TA2 driver to lead laps before a burned spark plug wire ultimately led to an early end to his inaugural run. But more importantly, he turned the heads of Maurice and Laura Hull, who asked him to drive for the Silver Hare stable in 2022, where he’s shown flashes of brilliance throughout his rookie TA2 season and is chomping at the bit for a shot at his first series victory in Saturday’s 30-lap, 75-minute race.
Zilisch has already visited the top step of the podium at VIR this season. Also a fulltime competitor in the prestigious Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Series, Zilisch finished second in the opening race of a weekend doubleheader at the track on Sept. 27, then came back the following day and scored his third of four race wins of the season en route to capturing Rookie of the Year honors. All four of Zilisch’s wins came over the final six races, beginning with a weekend sweep July 2-3 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – a doubleheader weekend where Zilisch qualified sixth and finished sixth in his Silver Hare Racing Camaro on the iconic 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit.
The team welcomes back a host of longtime partners for this weekend’s event, including Hanes Asphalt & Paving, based in Lexington, North Carolina, and Carter Bank, based in Martinsville, Virginia, each of which will adorn Hull’s No. 57 Silver Hare Racing Camaro. Davis Roofing, based in Archdale, North Carolina, will be the primary partner on Zilisch’s No. 5 Silver Hare Racing Camaro.
Silver Hare Racing leverages its Trans Am effort to promote its arrive-and-drive program, where aspiring racers and even tenured professionals hone their road-racing skills on some of the most revered tracks in North America. NASCAR Cup Series drivers Daniel Suárez, Christopher Bell, William Byron and Harrison Burton have all wheeled Silver Hare Racing-prepared cars to burnish their road-racing abilities in top-flight equipment.
The team offers six, professionally built and maintained TA2 chassis from Howe Racing for both competition and private testing. Silver Hare Racing has a dedicated, fulltime crew and operates out of a state-of-the-art facility in High Point. At the track, two 53-foot Featherlite transporters serve as the team’s base, each outfitted with a lounge and smart TVs for data and video review, as well as for hospitality.
“With NASCAR having so many more road-course races, it’s our goal for Silver Hare Racing to be the preferred team for drivers to get that road-course experience,” Laura Hull said. “We want to be that important step in the ladder for the young, up-and-coming drivers like Connor, which we’re doing in collaboration with Kevin Harvick Incorporated.
“It started when they brought him to us for testing at VIR a year ago, and now we’re delighted to have him under contract. That’s how we’re trying to position this. We want people to know we have an arrive-and-drive program, where people who want to run this track or another, we provide the opportunity for them to do that and be successful.”
Maurice Hull, owner/driver, No. 57 Hanes Asphalt & Paving/Carter Bank Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro:
“We’re excited to welcome back some sponsors that we’ve partnered with at VIR over the years. Hanes Asphalt & Paving and Carter Bank are longtime partners with our Marketplace Management and our commercial real estate ventures. Davis Roofing will be the primary on Connor’s car this weekend. They’re great partners with superior products and services.
“I’m really looking forward to VIR. It’s fast, it’s technical and it’s beautiful. It’s the closest racetrack to us, so we consider it our home track. We know the people who own and operate it, just good friends, and it’s a great facility just four miles from our Waukegan Farms property. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to race in such a great series at our favorite track. I’m certainly more familiar with it than anywhere else. I’ve driven more laps on it than anywhere else over the last 20 years. VIR really has it all. It has tremendously technical, low-speed corners. It has big, sweeping, increasing-radius corners. It has the fastest uphill esses anywhere. When you enter some of the low-speed corners, it’s coming off a long straightaway, so you’re hauling the mail. You’ve got downhill braking, you’ve got off-camber corners – it’s a beautiful racetrack in a technical sense. It’s also a very demanding track, the kind of racetrack where if you’re not careful, it can really bite you. It’s challenging, but it’s big enough that you don’t feel confined like you do on some tracks with walls. It’s got an open feeling to it. It’s going to be a great weekend at a very cool place.
“We tested Connor at VIR last year and he definitely caught our attention. And then his performance he came back with on race weekend was when he really caught our eye and we really wanted him to come to Silver Hare Racing this year. He just seems to really take to that track. He’s definitely rocket-ship fast there. He has the talent and the speed and the equipment. He’s there, and if we have some luck, I think for sure he’s got that chance to have a really great weekend. He’s got all the tools to make it happen. This track rewards speed and rewards talent, and Connor has both.”
Connor Zilisch, driver, No. 5 Davis Roofing Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro:
“VIR is one of my favorite tracks. This weekend is circled on the calendar for me. It’s an important weekend. I know how to go fast there and I’ve done it before, so hopefully we can have all of our ducks in a row and be able to go out there and prove that we’ve been getting better and have fast cars. Hopefully, it all goes to plan and we can have a good finish, because that’s one of the things we’ve been missing lately. Just hoping to get that good finish that we’ve been looking for and have Maurice run well and be able to have a good weekend all around.
“My first taste of TA2 was a test with Silver Hare in the spring of 2021. Kevin Harvick had actually put it together for us. He’d been helping me at that point and wanted me to get in one of those cars and just see what it was like and see how I’d do and see if I was ready to start heading in that direction. To Maurice and Laura, I was just a 14-year-old kid that they didn’t know about, so it was probably hard to have the trust in somebody you don’t know, who is that young, to go out there and drive your car. Thankfully, they allowed me to do that and it went really well. That was my first time in anything with more than 120 horsepower. It was something that was completely new to me, but I picked it up well and adapted to it and just learned the most that I could that day. And the next time I got in a TA2 car was the race weekend at VIR in the fall when I qualified on the pole. It didn’t take me too long to get adapted to it and be able to run up front.
“VIR is one of my favorite tracks and I know how to go fast in one of these cars around here. It’s a super-technical track. It seems like it’s forgiving and there’s a lot of runoff room, but if you go off anywhere, it’s downhill and into a wall. It might seem forgiving, just looking at it, but it’s pretty sketchy and that’s what makes it fun – you’re always on the limit, high-speed corners, low-speed corners, a mix of everything. I’m looking forward to getting out there and doing what I did last year. Really hoping we can have another good showing there and get Silver Hare our first win of the year.”
About Silver Hare Racing:
Silver Hare Racing is a fulltime competitor in the TA2 division of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli. The multicar team has won the TA2 masters class championship three times (2018, 2019 and 2020) with driver and team co-owner Maurice Hull. Under the leadership of Hull’s wife, co-owner and team manager Laura Hull, Silver Hare Racing provides a variety of services that includes private testing and arrive-and-drive programs. The team offers six, professionally built and maintained TA2 chassis from Howe Racing and operates from a state-of-the-art facility in High Point, North Carolina. For more information, please visit SilverHareRacing.com.