Team Mom: One of Jr. Drag Racing’s Biggest Cheerleaders Retires
Kim Hall spends many weekends traveling more than two hours from her home in Nokesville, Virginia, to her home-away-from-home, Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP) in Dinwiddie. Her daughter, Katie, races Jr. Dragsters there, and Hall proclaims that she eats, sleeps and breathes Jr. drag racing. But, not just for her own kids (her son Chad also races Comp Eliminator), but for every driver at VMP. She’s become the “Team Mom” for every Jr. driver at the track, which averages an impressive 60 kids at almost every race.
Hall really got immersed in the program at VMP several years ago when she was appointed to plan their annual trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in Bristol, Tennessee. She wanted to step it up from just matching team shirts. And step it up she did. Now Hall spends most of the year preparing for the event, including organizing raffles and getting sponsors to help kids pay for their entry fee at the race.
And once the team is there, the party is just getting started. They decorate the stands, decorate golf carts, get professional team photos, have ice cream socials, team dinners and much more. And there’s always a theme when they travel to Bristol, like the “Wallywood” theme they had in 2018, based off the iconic Wally trophy. In addition to her involvement with the yearly event, she also creates shadow boxes for every driver when they age out of the class or move up to a big car, helps to organize fundraisers, and takes tons of photos and videos of all the racers.
Hall says she got her first taste of racing years ago when her now-husband, Marc, asked her to go to a drag race. He was a crew chief on a Top Alcohol race team and one of their first dates was at the national event in Atlanta.
“I thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” Hall says. “My son was 3 when we started dating, and my husband always said when he turned 8 we would start racing Jrs., and that’s what we did.”
Hall says when she first started racing with her son, Chad, she assumed it would be easy because of her husband’s success in the Top Alcohol field. She found out that the class was, in fact, not easy, as it took Chad two and a half years to get his first win. And that’s why she likes to celebrate every driver’s win.
“It’s hard to get a win in Jr. Dragsters. The kids work so hard to get in the Winner’s Circle. It’s important to celebrate every one of those wins.”
And the Jr. drivers at VMP now have a tradition to take a selfie with Hall after their win, even creating a popular hashtag #WinnersCircleSelfieWithKim. Even former Jr. drivers who now race big cars will often find her after a win to get a selfie. She’s even had Winner’s Circle selfies with NHRA champions like J.R. Todd.
But after years of giving her blood, sweat and tears to the Jr. Dragster program at VMP, Hall will be taking a step back in 2020, retiring as the track’s team mom. Hall says it’s one of the hardest decisions she’s ever had to make.
“I’ve been VMP’s team mom for a really long time and have truly loved it,” Hall says. “My relationships with the kids go on long after they stop racing Jrs. I’ve gone to graduations, traveled to watch them play basketball, watched them get married and have kids. Knowing many of them will always be in my life is the best thing I will take away with me. But, I need to take some time to let my kids do what they want to do with their own racing. That means not being able to be at VMP all the time and giving the Jr. drivers the attention they deserve.”
Judy Franklin, co-owner of PDRA and Virginia Motorsports Park, says as long as she can remember, Hall has always been involved in the program at the track.
“She does so much for our kids,” Franklin says. “She really loves the sport, she loves our kids, and she’s just a great person. She’s one of the first people in the staging lanes on race day to greet everyone. I speak for everyone at VMP when I say that we will really miss her going above and beyond for every one of our kids, and we are so thankful for all the effort she’s put into the program here.”
Hall says she hopes new families that enter VMP’s Jr. drag racing world realize that this is the best sport in the world, and how truly special the Jr. Dragster family can be. This season, Hall will still be at a racetrack most weekends supporting her two children, Katie in Jr. Dragsters and Chad in Comp Eliminator.
This story originally appeared in DI #153, the Season Preview Issue, in February of 2020.