Over the course of the last three seasons, Kodie Conner built up a reputation as being one of the toughest drivers in the Pro Late Model ranks. The Salisbury, North Carolina driver experienced much success competing in the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Pro Late Models, where in three seasons he collected nine wins and the 2015 series championship. Moving into the 2016 season, Conner decided to take the next step in his racing career by moving up to Super Late Model competition.
The move to the PASS South Super Late Model ranks has been in the works for the past year for Conner. Even while concentrating on winning the 2015 PLM championship, he took some time out of his schedule to get a taste of Super Late Model competition.
“The decision was made last season, kind of towards the beginning,” Conner told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We decided to move up my racing career and make a few Super Late Model starts just to see how I did in there. I thought it was going to be a lot different, but coming off the championship in the Pro going into the Super wasn’t a big change in some ways, but it was in others. The handling of the car is not really different. The difference is the drive off the corner and throttle control.”
With a feeling of comfort, Conner has already put in solid runs in the first two PASS South races of 2016, posting a ninth-place finish at Greenville-Pickens Speedway (SC) and a runner-up finish to Brandon Setzer at Dillon Motor Speedway (SC).
“The first race of this season at Greenville, it didn’t really go well for us, but Dillon was our best finish of second place in the Super,” Connor recalled. “That race really boosted my confidence.”
The second place at Dillon not only propelled Conner’s confidence, but it also catapulted his name to the top of the PASS South point standings. With consistency on his side, the next step for 2016 is getting to the top step of the podium.
“I didn’t think Dillon was going to go as well as it did, that was a little more than we were expecting,” Conner explained. “For this season we are hoping to get one win in the Super Late Model, that’s what we’re going for. But I didn’t think we were going to do well so soon, so we’ll just see what happens.”
While the skill and competition of PASS South is a great challenge, it is one that Conner has enjoyed taking on. Unfortunately, Conner’s fiercest opponent for the championship may not come in the form of another competitor. He explained that the team is working hard to solidify the funding to run the full PASS South season.
“We’re going to try and run as many races as possible,” said Conner. “We will try to maintain the points lead. I’m just going to keep on digging. Last season I was talking to my dad and we were discussing which races I really want to race. We didn’t think we’d have the budget to run every single race, so we’ll try to run as many as we can.”
The team had looked at running a few CARS Tour events in addition to PASS, but determined that for now it would be unfeasible with the available budget.
Conner will be on the prowl for his first win once again on Saturday, March 26 in the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC). Race fans across the land can watch the race live on Speed51.com.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, LI, MA) – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Kodie Conner Racing Facebook