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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

2021 Truck Series season in review: Carson Hocevar

(Photo: Michael Guariglia | The Podium Finish)

After racing two part-time seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, young Carson Hocevar secured a full-time ride for the first time in 2021. Hocevar brought unpolished, raw talent to the Niece Motorsports No. 42 truck and wheeled it to the playoffs.

Key Stats

Standings: 10th

Top-five finishes: 3

Top-10 finishes: 8

DNFs: 1 (Talladega)

Average running position: 14.3 (10th)

Quality passes: 478 (12th)

Driver rating: 84. 8 (11th)

Highlights

STARTING STRONG – Hocevar kicked off 2021 on the right foot, finishing fifth at Daytona International Speedway after surviving a late crash and a green-white-checkered finish. It was his first-ever superspeedway race, as before, he couldn’t participate in superspeedway races because of his age.

MAY – The month of May treated Hocevar kindly, as his two best finishes of the season came within three races of each other. He placed third at Darlington Raceway in the Liftkits4less.com 200 after making it through a series of late cautions, finishing behind only Sheldon Creed and series champion Ben Rhodes.

Two weeks later at Circuit of the Americas, Hocevar finished seventh for his best road course finish of the year. Finally, in a Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he finished runner-up to John Hunter Nemechek and led five laps in arguably his strongest performance of the season.

NO PLAYOFF JITTERS – In August, Hocevar finished the regular-season finale at Watkins Glen in 10th to punch his ticket into the playoffs. He opened the Round of 10 with an eighth at World Wide Technology Raceway and followed it up with an 11th place at Darlington to have an eight-point buffer headed to an elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hocevar ran well, finishing sixth and scoring 36 points to comfortably advance to the Round of 8.

Lowlights

EARLY SEASON STRUGGLES – After his fifth-place finish at Daytona, Hocevar finished outside the top 10 in the next six races, three of which were 20th or worse. He finished 14th at the Daytona road course and followed with 24th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his worse running finish of the season.

Hocevar placed 12th at Atlanta Motor Speedway and 21st in the Bristol dirt race, an event deemed a “wild card” by many. Finishes of 12th at Richmond Raceway and 23rd at Kansas Speedway, respectively, put Hocevar 12th in points, his worst position of the season.

LATE SEASON DOOM – Hocevar advanced to the Round of 8 in the playoffs with three strong races, but things quickly spiraled downhill. He had a loose wheel late in the race at Las Vegas in September and spun on pit road entrance and finished 22nd, two laps down. A week later at Talladega Superspeedway, Hocevar spent most of the race running with the lead pack but suffered his only DNF of the season after a crash on Lap 77 involving several trucks.

Headed to the Round of 8 elimination race a few weeks later at Martinsville Speedway, Hocevar needed to win the race to advance to the Championship 4 but instead finished 12th.

2022 Outlook

Hocevar will spend his second full season driving the Niece Motorsports No. 42 in 2022. He entered his first full-time season having not visited most tracks before, and he should benefit greatly from practice and qualifying returning to the series.

But frankly, Hocevar impressed in 2021. Outside of Ross Chastain winning three times in 2019, Niece hasn’t had much success since its conception in 2016. Hocevar finished in the top 10 more than any other driver in single-season Niece history besides Chastain.

2022 looks bright for Hocevar. More track time should help him polish his racing skills and learn tracks more. Niece has winning potential; they just need to find the right mix of drivers to surround him.

At this point, the expectation is that Hocevar will win races in 2022. He made the Round of 8 as an 18-year-old rookie, and the ceiling is just as high in 2022. With a year of full-time experience under his belt, Hocevar will return to the same team hungry for a big year.

Nathan Solomon is a junior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. He serves as the managing editor for his campus newspaper, The BonaVenture, and as the programming director for his campus radio station, WSBU 88.3FM. The station is rated the No. 4 college radio station in the country by Princeton Review. Solomon started his journalism career in 2018 when he began covering hometown Cornell basketball for IvyHoopsOnline. In 2019, Solomon joined Empire Sports Media to contribute baseball content and started covering NASCAR for the outlet in 2020. In 2021, he covered his first two NASCAR races with Empire Sports Media. Solomon joined TPF in September of 2021 and became managing editor in spring of 2022. He is also an NMPA journalist.

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