Carson Hocevar made a strong case for an early nominee of comeback of the year candidate two weeks ago when he won the ARCA/CRA Super Series portion of the Show Me State Showdown with a late-race drive through the field after a flat tire with less than 20 to go. He now looks to take the momentum gained from Lebanon I-44 Speedway into this weekend’s JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race at Anderson Speedway, where he is set to make his second start with the series since 2018.
Hocevar parted ways with now-closed KBR Development at the end of the 2019 season and joined forces with crew chief Zach Dunson and fellow Michigan racer Johnny VanDoorn for 2020 on the Late Model side, and the partnership quickly paid dividends with the 17-year-old’s first ARCA/CRA Super Series victory at Lebanon I-44. It ended a winless streak dating back to August 2018, putting a win up in his first event of 2020 after missing the Snowball Derby to end last year.
“That meant a lot, that was a big confidence boost with a new team with Zach Dunson and VanDoorn Racing. To go out and win first night out was a huge confidence boost,” Hocevar told Speed51. “It put back in our minds that we can go out and win races week in and week out against a stacked field and be one of those top guys when you get to the racetrack each week.”
Hocevar has just one other start at Anderson, an eighth-place finish in an ARCA/CRA Super Series event in 2018. With less horsepower in a Pro Late Model than what he had for that Super Series start two years ago, his team will go into the weekend with a fresh slate.
“It’s a tough little bullring, it’s tough to pass and make moves. There’s a lot of new bumps there that I didn’t have to deal with. There’s a handful of stuff that I learned there last time but I’m pretty much going into it with a little bit of a blank notebook and try to fill up Friday in practice and try to fill it up as quick as possible before getting to the race.”
Hocevar was scheduled to make nine starts in the NASCAR Truck Series for Niece Motorsports, but the COVID-19 pandemic and NASCAR’s revised schedule has thrown a wrench into those plans.
“It’s pretty much been put upside down. I was supposed to run two Truck races earlier this year, I’m not sure when my Truck races are going to be at. I’m led to believe it’s going to be once August starts it’s going to be knuckle down, there’s going to be a lot of races like we’re seeing with Cup and stuff.”
In the meantime, this has given Hocevar the opportunity to climb in a Late Model for more races in the near future. The open schedule has him looking into bigger races outside his normal playground, which could potentially include trips to the Upper Midwest and the Northeast.
“This gave us a lot of free range to go run a lot more Late Model races than we were planning. Hopefully we can run some bigger crown jewels, even. I think we’re going to go to Slinger and Oxford 250 and Redbud, races we weren’t planning on going to because I had some Truck starts scheduled.”
With their focus turned toward Saturday’s JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Aerco Heating and Cooling 100 at Anderson, Hocevar has a chance to tie Trent Snyder for fifth all-time in series wins with five.
“It would help us be able to keep our momentum going. Your confidence and building your program up gets even better when you keep putting trophies on the shelves. It puts you a step ahead, you’re building your program to keep out front instead of being behind the eight-ball trying to catch something you’re missing.”
Fans who are unable to make it to Anderson for Saturday’s JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race can see Hocevar in action via a live PPV broadcast. Click here to purchase your video ticket today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Kevtron Media