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Kodie Conner Takes Surprise All-American 400 Pole

Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway

Kodie Conner has eight career national touring Super Late Model victories but his All-American 400 pole immediately ranks right up there with each of his race wins.

It was evident from the moment Conner and his team dodged the final bullet, Sammy Smith of Kyle Busch Motorsports, as handshakes, hugs and high fives were exchanged on pit road of the venerable Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

“This is a really big pole award for us,” Conner told Short Track Scene after time trials. “We had to work hard just to get the car inside of the top-10. Yesterday, we were 19th and hadn’t really put together long run speed, but I thought we had short run speed, and fortunately qualifying is a short run.

“My guys do everything they can for me. My dad. It’s me and him in the shop every night, doing everything we can to make this car faster.

“I have my quarter-midget guys from back in the day here. Everyone is a volunteer. They take their time to make my dreams a reality. It’s pretty cool that I can show them that their hard work can pay off, so this is a really meaningful moment for me right now.”

READ MORE: Why the All American 400 is Just 300 Laps This Year

Conner turned a fast lap of 18.432 seconds around the venerable 0.596-mile oval on Saturday evening. It was a surprise to their No. 45 team as it was much of the industry against a field that includes each of the elite from all corners of the country.

He was the 24th of 34 entries and had to wait out heavy hitters Jake Garcia, Donnie Wilson. Jeremy Pate, Derek Thorn and Smith.

Conner has Pro All Stars Series victories at Ace, Greenville-Pickens, Southern National, Orange Country, Hickory and Concord but said a pole against the field at Nashville is different and special.

“Listen, I have a pole at Hickory, but this isn’t Hickory,” Conner said. “This place has a lot of history to it. It’s bad to the bone. Hickory does too, but this is a little different, and it’s a dream come true.”

READ NEXT: The All-American Could Be A Prelude to a National Touring Championship

Carson Hocevar made the overnight trip from Martinsville, where he competed in the NASCAR Truck Series, to Nashville and held the top spot for much of the qualifying session before Conner jumped to the top of the scoring pylon.

Chandler Smith, driving the No. 26 from the Donnie Wilson Motorsports camp, posted the third best time. Multi-time Southwest Tour champion Derek Thorn and former Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway track champion Willie Allen completed the top five.

The top-20 qualifiers locked into the show based on their qualifying times. The remainder of the field was forced to compete in a Last Chance Race to set the remaining starting lineup positions.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

  1. Carson Hocevar 18.456
  2. Chandler Smith 18.518
  3. Derek Thorn 18.541
  4. Willie Allen 18.570
  5. Bubba Pollard 18.592
  6. Casey Roderick 18.610
  7. Hunter Robbins 18.621
  8. Jake Garcia 18.629
  9. Brandon Oakley 18.639
  10. Boris Jurkovic 18.662
  11. Sammy Smith 18.679
  12. Matt Craig 18.680
  13. Gabe Sommers 18.686
  14. Corey Heim 18.697
  15. Jett Noland 18.711
  16. Donnie Wilson 18.720
  17. Stephen Nasse 18.725
  18. Kyle Neveau 18.726
  19. Austin Nason 18.732
  20. Jeremy Pate 18.732
  21. Jeff Storm 18.741
  22. Daniel Dye 18.772
  23. Carson Kvapil 18.772
  24. Connor Okrzesik 18.780
  25. Mason Keller 17.782
  26. Greg Van Alst 18.851
  27. Brittney Zamora 18.857
  28. Albert Francis 18.863
  29. Trevor Cristiani 18.871
  30. Cody Dempster 18.911
  31. Hudson Halder 19.029
  32. Johnny Brazier 19.075
  33. Trevor McCoy 19.184

STARTING LINEUP

  1. Kodie Conner
  2. Carson Hocevar
  3. Chandler Smith
  4. Derek Thorn
  5. Willie Allen
  6. Bubba Pollard
  7. Casey Roderick
  8. Hunter Robbins
  9. Jake Garcia
  10. Brandon Oakley
  11. Boris Jurkovic
  12. Sammy Smith
  13. Matt Craig
  14. Gabe Sommers
  15. Corey Heim
  16. Jett Noland
  17. Donnie Wilson
  18. Stephen Nasse
  19. Kyle Neveau
  20. Austin Nason
  21. Daniel Dye
  22. Connor Okrzesik
  23. Albert Francis
  24. Brittney Zamora
  25. Trevor Cristiani
  26. Cody Dempster
  27. Jeff Storm
  28. Hudson Halder
  29. Mason Keller
  30. Carson Kvapil
  31. Greg Van Alst
  32. Jeremy Pate
  33. Johnny Brazier
  34. Trevor McCoy

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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