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NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series

Carson Hocevar: “I Just Want to Race” Following Surgery

Carson Hocevar prior to NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at Sonoma. (Photo: Luis Torres | The Podium Finish)

SONOMA, Calif. – The heart, patience and tenacity of Carson Hocevar were loud and clear at Sonoma Raceway Friday afternoon. NASCAR approved him to practice, and eventually, cleared him to run Saturday’s DoorDash 250.

On a hot and breezy day, Hocevar revealed he underwent surgery Monday following his last-lap crash at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. While battling for fifth with Derek Kraus, Hocevar spun around into traffic.

Moments later, Tyler Hill struck the driver’s side of Hocevar’s Niece Motorsports truck.

“I literally saw him walking here and apologized,” Hocevar said on Hill. “It went through his head, but I’m glad he’s alright too.”

Due to the collision, the 19-year-old broke his right tibia and Monday’s procedure was to stabilize the break with a single screw. He now sports a velocity brace that allows his ankle to roll forward. However, he can’t make it go left or right.

“I didn’t want to have anything done pre-speculated,” said Hocevar. “I was getting frustrated at myself. But I was more frustrated than hurt when it came Monday or Tuesday because I was at Michigan after surgery and wanted to get to North Carolina so I can push the throttle myself. Put my own doubts rest away rather than having to put it out on social media and whatnot.”

Hocevar told the press Friday that he wasn’t fully sure how it broke but initially thought the pain was on his bruised left foot. But that changed once the adrenaline wore off.

“The left foot was starting to go away but the right was still hurting a little bit,” said Hocevar. “Maybe the brake pedal hit it, but a lot of the truck moved and I didn’t because I was seat-belted down. A lot of it absorbed impact but somewhere or another, something hit it and that’s probably how it broke.”

After the Gateway race, Hocevar traveled from St. Louis to Michigan where he met with his doctor and surgeon. From there, he headed to North Carolina before going back to Michigan.

Additionally, Hocevar could take Tylenol and hasn’t been on any painkillers. It’s brought confidence to him and he expects to be fine, but re-iterated the procedure will be taken slowly.

Needless to say, he’s flown a lot and tried logging a few laps on iRacing to get acclimated to the road course. He also tried left-foot braking, which hasn’t changed his driving technique.

Before the single practice session, Hocevar and NASCAR met to see if he can safely be in the No. 42 Worldwide Express Chevrolet Camaro.

“It was fine. There was a lot of in-and-out of the truck, making sure I can walk away from the truck,” Hocevar said. “We jacked it up, dropped the jack and see if I can manage a pit stop.”

“They seemed in good spirits of it but they’re taking it every little bit at a time. They don’t want to get ahead of themselves, but they don’t want to rule anything out too. Which is how I like to take this. I can’t understand half the things they were telling me at the doctor’s office. I wanted to know if I can do it myself and let NASCAR and Niece (Motorsports)’ PR team handle all the rest.”

Regarding the AMR Safety Crew, Hocevar said that they’ve done everything right. A video went viral in which people heard him grimacing in pain while crews tended to other drivers first. Part of the pain also stemmed from the frustration of not finishing a race for the second time this season.

“I think it’s all good. Most of the video is just radioing that I needed help. I threw my window net down and went to get out the truck,” said Hocevar. “I stepped and realized that I needed at least a little help. I wasn’t able to muscle it out by myself, but I was probably frustrated and hot.

“I was more mad that I lost fifth. I kept getting drilled into and everything happening that day. I was just happy to finish fifth and was more mad than hurting at the time.”

The No. 42 Silverado storming around Turn 4. (Photo: Luis Torres | The Podium Finish)

For the time being, Daniel Suarez is on standby to take over Hocevar should it become necessary. As long as Hocevar is cleared and starts the truck, he’ll be credited for points. He currently sits eighth in the regular-season standings.

Any further pain to Hocevar’s right ankle will make the scenario worse in terms of competing for the Camping World Truck Series title. Admittedly, he doesn’t want it to end up being problematic for everyone around him.

“The plan is race for a championship and not prolong this,” Hocevar said. “I’m going to do the best I can and we’re going to take it step-by-step. It’s just going to determine that.

“Niece Motorsports, WWEX (Worldwide Express), Premiere Security – they’ve all planned on us to go 23 races and being at Phoenix. I would be very selfish if I gutted out for 75 laps here at 100 degrees and cost us 2-3 more weeks of this injury versus just taking it as I can.”

Once practice began, both Hocevar and Suarez ran a combined total of 21 laps and the No. 42 Silverado ended up seventh fastest out of the 35 trucks that recorded a lap.

Although Hocevar didn’t have a choice to pick Suarez, it’s been humbling for him to have a building relationship with TrackHouse Racing and Worldwide Express.

“The relationship with them is huge,” Hocevar said. “I wasn’t the one that picked him. But if I was going to pick somebody, for sure it would be in that family of relationship with TrackHouse.

“Humbling for me they want to help and TrackHouse wants to help. I’ve gotten to meet Ty Norris and Justin Marks the last two weeks which kind of jumpstarted this which is really cool for me.

“A few months ago, I swear no Cup owner even knew my name. It’s cool to at least meet one and have that relationship start building.”

The Truck Series race at Sonoma is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

Throughout my young motorsports media career, my number-one goal is to be a personnel that can be flexible with my writing and photography in the world of NASCAR and INDYCAR. Content delivery is vital because this is my main passion and what keeps me going. On the side, I also do sports production ranging from Seattle Kraken hockey to the 2023 NCAA Women's March Madness. All for the love of the game. With four National Motorsports Press Association photography awards, I'm not slowing down anytime soon. Outside of media, I'm super vocal about my musical tastes that goes from Metallica to HAIM. At times, there might be some Paul Thomas Anderson and Southern California references in my social media.

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