Youth dominated the qualifying sessions Saturday afternoon at the Short Track U.S. Nationals. Fourteen-year-old Carson Hocevar posted the fastest time in JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Pro Late Model qualifying, while 14-year-old Chandler Smith and 15-year-old Raphael Lessard won Super Late Model qualifying races sanctioned by the Southern Super Series, CRA and CARS Tour to set the field for their 100-lap feature on Sunday.
“It feels really good,” Hocevar told Speed51.com powered by JEGS after the Pro Late Model qualifying session. “We didn’t practice much in qualifying trim at all today. I think we qualified once all weekend. We feel like we have a really good race pace and we are really consistent.”
“It’s really intense,” Hocevar said while describing the speed around Bristol’s high banks. “You feel like you’ve got to go as fast as possible because you’re running so fast.”
While Hocevar set the fastest time of the session, he will start the 100-lap Pro Late Model A Feature in seventh position following an invert. However, Hocevar is still confident going into the race.
“It’s 100 laps, so just be calm and collected. We have plenty of laps to get to the front. We’re on the bottom, so we’re in our lane of choice, so we are pretty confident.”
Another pair of youngsters shined during Super Late Model qualifying. Raphael Lessard set the fastest time during group qualifying before leading the Super Late Model qualifying race #1 from wire to wire. In the second qualifying race, Chandler Smith passed NASCAR XFINITY Series regular Bubba Wallace to claim their 35-lapper.
The “veteran” of the standouts in qualifying for the Late Model divisions in Thunder Valley, Myatt Snider claimed the pole for the CARS Tour Late Model Stock 100-lap feature tomorrow. Without any qualifying races for the Late Model Stock division, he will lead the field to the green flag.
“I’m really excited,” Snider said. “I’m very proud of my guys. They gave me a really great car.”
Snider echoed the intensity of a qualifying lap at Bristol.
“It’s pretty insane,” said Snider. “The G-forces are really something to talk about. It really sucks you down in the seat. It’s something you never see at any other track.”
To see all three features from tomorrow’s Late Model division, as well as tonight’s racing action, order the Speed51.com pay-per-view broadcast of the Short Track U.S. Nationals by clicking here.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com/MoJo Photos