There is nothing like your first win. Kodie Conner will admit that after he scored his first career Super Late Model win in the PRA Tours event at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC). For Conner winning in a Late Model is nothing new, as he was a five time winner the PASS Pro Late Model series before going Super Late Model racing.
The transition took time from being a solid driver, to contender to a winner.
“This is absolutely amazing,” said Conner. “I hate that my grandfather is not here to be able to share this win with me. This is for him and my dad. We are in the shop every night working on the car. It’s just my dad and me. I’m 18-years-old, I am the driver, the owner and a crew member. All the hard work paid off tonight.”
The Kannapolis, North Carolina native has had a fine season both on the PRA Super Late Model Tour and at other regional events. With seven top 10’s in 10 starts it shows they are in the mix each week.
“I figured if there was a place I would get my first win it would be at Hickory,” said Conner. “We race with Matt Craig, and Bubba Pollard here and when you run with the best you learn and that’s what we have been doing all year.”
Leading laps early was the game for Conner, but the pace of the race was too quick for his liking and he allowed Nolan Pope to take the lead. Pope built a lead that seemed to be too much to reconquer, but Conner took his time.
Conner used lap traffic to close in before timing a move into turn three just right to pull along side for the top spot. It looked as if there would be contact, but Conner stuck in the corner and made the pass out of turn four.
“It was tough to make that past, Nolan really knew how to hold me back. It was almost like he was stoping in the center to prevent us from getting a run. It messed up my drive off. I got a good run off two and got a great run into three and that was it.”
Pope was pleased with the run as it was the first time he had led laps in a Super Late Model race and second was a good day for the young driver.
“We had a really good car,” said Pope. “We got into a lap car late and we got tight off. I can’t say enough about these guys. It was a great run and we led laps for the first time. I can’t wait for the next one.”
An hour after the race Conner was still in his fire suit enjoying the moment. He also extended his point lead with his victory which could mean a championship if he can finish the season strong.
The PRA Tours Super Late Models will wrap their inaugural season on December 1st at Southern National Motorsports Park.
1 Kodie Conner
2 Nolan Pope
3 Tate Fogleman
4 Jared Fryar
5 Brandon Ward
6 Mike Speeny
7 Carson Kvapil
8 Wyatt Alexander
9 Toby Grynewicz
10 Lee Tissot
11 Molly Helmouth
12 Tyler Church
13 Austin Reed
14 Bronson Butcher
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo