When Kodie Conner returns to Winchester Speedway for the Fly Over States 150 on Tuesday, May 18, he will be known as the new “Tiger King.”
The North Carolinian has filed an entry for this inaugural event and will now bring one of the most well-known Super Late Models to the World’s Fastest Half Mile. The 2019 PRA Tours Super Late Model champion will drive the “Tiger Stripes” car that has amazed fans all over America.
The current theme for his Super Late Model was born when Conner started racing in Quarter Midgets as a kid. As he has progressed in his racing, they have become a mainstay on the No.45 and fan favorite at every track he races at.
“Tiger stripes have been with me for a long time. I had it in Quarter Midgets when I started my racing career when I was about five years and they stuck with me through that, Bandoleros and Pro Late Models,” said Conner. “I was in a full-size car around the age of 11 or 12.”
The livery has since become an attraction in the Mid-Atlantic, where he has spent most of his career. As he continues to expand his Super Late Model program outside of the Carolinas, he hopes to have the same effect on race fans around the country.
“Everybody loves the tiger stripes. Last year was difficult with the pandemic, because normally they have intermissions where drivers can meet the fans; that’s something I look forward to especially when I go out of state to race. The fans are really helping me get there as well, so I’m just excited and hopefully everybody remembers the tiger car and they loved it the last time I was at Winchester.”
Now Conner gets his second shot at the famed high banks of Winchester Speedway. His first start at the facility was a short-lived one after getting caught up in an early incident in last October’s Winchester 400.
While the final result wasn’t what he would have hoped, he enjoyed his first trip to Winchester and is looking forward to returning next month.
“To be honest with you, I’m pretty darn excited. We went to the Winchester 400 last year and didn’t get to finish the race how we planned to. We had a lot of time to think about what to do the next time we go and I’m excited that we’re finally able to make it again.
“It’s definitely a nice racetrack from a driver’s perspective because you really have to drive the car. It’s not an easy racetrack, it’s one of those butt-clencher racetracks. You’re going really fast and it’s bumpy; it’s a real driver’s racetrack.”
Conner experienced a bit of culture shock in that trip to the Winchester 400, coming from the bullrings in the Carolinas and Virginia. His only other start at a track similar to Winchester was when he competed at Bristol Motor Speedway in the U.S. Short Track Nationals just a couple weeks prior.
“My first experience was a lot different than I expected. I had no clue what to expect for my first time going to Winchester. It was really my first time going to a big racetrack, especially one that was big and fast. We’re thinking that we’re going to go back and be 100% this time around.”
With one start at Winchester now under his belt, Conner’s main goal for the Fly Over States 150 remains simple. After falling out early in the Winchester 400, he would like to be standing after 150 laps while competing for a strong finish.
“I just have one goal as of right now, I just want to finish the race. My ultimate goal for the race weekend is to get an idea of what the track’s going to be like. I’ll be going at a different time of year and the track temperature’s going to be different. We’re really going to put our heads together, get some good notes and make sure we have what we need. My ultimate goal is to qualify up front, stay up front and finish up front.”
Tickets for this event are currently available on the Winchester Speedway website at winchesterspeedway.com/tickets. Additional track and event information can be found at www. winchesterspeedway.com. You can also follow @FastestHalfMile on Twitter and Instagram and be sure to like the Winchester Speedway Facebook page.
The entry form and schedule of events for the Fly Over States 150 can be found on the ARCA/CRA Super Series web site at www.cra-racing.com or on the ARCA Midwest Tour website at www.midwesttour.racing.