NEWTON, N.C. — Audio and recap by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Chris Seelman photo —
Call Kodie Conner the restart master.
Conner outdueled fast qualifier and polesitter Chandler Smith on a lap 12 restart and pulled away over the closing 39-lap green-flag stretch to grab the victory in Friday’s 50-lap PASS Pro Late Model Series feature at Hickory Motor Speedway.
The win was the seventh of Conner’s PASS PLM career, as well as his first at Hickory.
“The second restart helped me a ton,” Conner said after the race. “My [original] plan was to pass Smith at lap 35, but when I was able to stay with him on the outside I knew I had to go for it. When I heard my spotter tell me ’10 to go’, I was a little nervous because I knew anything could happen, but I just stayed focused and drove my line — and it got us a win!”
Smith fell back to third after over-driving the corner in turns three and four trying to catch Conner around halfway, and was racing for second with Matt Murphy on the final lap when the two got together in turn four and both spun before the finish. Murphy was able to get restarted and crossed the line fifth, while Smith was credited with seventh at the checkered flag.
Through the smoke, Ryan Krachun slipped by in the middle of the groove to take the runner-up spot at the finish, and was stunned at his good fortune during the post-race activities.
“I didn’t expect that at all,” Krachun said. “It’s unfortunate that we ended up second because of what happened up there, but I’m just glad that we finished the race — we broke a brace there and the car was getting pretty loose and hard to hold on to — but it ended up pretty good for us.”
Jordan McCallum rounded out the top three finishers.
The race’s lone-caution — which set up the race-winning restart for Conner — flew with 11 laps complete when Wesley Noles came to a stop in turn four.
The PASS Pro Late Model Series returns to action on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway with another complete program and 50-lap feature event as part of the 10th annual Easter Bunny 150.
Audio with runner-up Ryan Krachun:
RESULTS: PASS Pro Late Model Series; Hickory Motor Speedway; April 3, 2015
- #45 — Kodie Conner — 50 Laps
- #29 — Ryan Krachun — 50
- #3 — Jordan McCallum — 50
- #23 — Zachary Dabbs — 50
- #7 — Matt Murphy — 50
- #55 — Jake Spillers — 50
- #26 — Chandler Smith — 50
- #82 — Cameron Burke — 49
- #77 — Logan Jones — 49
- #24J — J.P. Josiasse — 49
- #22 — Wesley Noles — 12