Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – LONG POND, PA – No question that it has been a dream year for Carson Hocevar.
The 20-year-old, in his third full-time year with Niece Motorsports in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, was finally able to score his first career wins recently at Texas and Nashville.
“We’ve had a lot of speed. Our No. 42 WWEX Chevrolet has been quick everywhere we seem to go. We have a little bit of ups and down but have been in a really good spot in a lot of places.”
It’s not just been that. Hocevar has been able to race in select Xfinity races and made his Cup debut earlier this year at World Wide Technology with Spire Motorsports.
“I thought I was good for a car at a place you can’t pass at. We drove up to 16th. I had a lot of fun doing it. You dream of racing on Sunday, and the fact I got to do it, I got 3-4 days to overthink it, and it was the best-case scenario for me.”
Unfortunately, he finished last after a brake rotor failed.
In Trucks, Hocevar comes into the weekend seventh in points and fifth in Playoffs, seeding as of now. Outside of winning, he’s been enjoying this season.
“We’ve had some bad luck or mechanical issues and have been able to overcome a lot of it. I think we’ve been in a shot to be into the top three regular-season points-wise, but there’s a few races we let get away from us.”
Speaking of overcoming issues, two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio, Hocevar dealt with power steering issues in rain and shine conditions. Thanks to a strategy call by crew chief Phil Gould, Hocevar made up two laps to finish in 12th.
“We kept fighting and being in bad spots. If something happened, we would take three steps back. In the end of it all, we kept taking a few steps forward at a time. Okayish day from what it could’ve been. We should’ve been behind the wall and finished 36th.”
Looking at Pocono, Hocevar only has two appearances and has yet to finish worse than 13th. However, he has less experience than Zane Smith and Christian Eckes, among the notables who have raced here in ARCA competition.
“It’s a tough place. I’ve run here with no practice. Still figuring the place out. When we ran fifth here, I didn’t think I was very good. There’s a lot of stuff I can gain. The resources in the sim has helped. I have an idea on how to run this place, but if I were to put my worst tracks, I think this would be very high.”
When asked what corner is the toughest at “The Tricky Triangle,” Hocevar believes turn two, which resembles Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“The tunnel turn is the toughest. I don’t think you’re gonna hit it consistently right.”
As the end of the 2023 season nears, Hocevar has yet to decide what to run for next year, whether it be run a truck for another year or move up to Xfinity, in which he has four starts this year with Spire.
“Whatever seat they have available is what I’ll get in. I have a lot more smarter people around me. A race car is a race car to me. Whether it’s Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, I am gonna drive what I think is best for me.”
Trucks are in action Saturday at 12p EST on FS1.