BRISTOL, Tenn. – For a driver who is challenging for his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, Carson Hocevar seems at home in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The 20-year-old Portage, Michigan native’s latest Cup efforts proved most impressive at Bristol Motor Speedway. In fact, the LEGACY Motor Club driver held his own against the best of the Cup ranks in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race.
Qualifying 16th for the 500-lap race, Hocevar initially dropped outside the top 20 before placing 21st in Stage 1. All things considered, he fought tenaciously and successfully defended his place as a lead lap contender.
Once Stage 2 was underway, Hocevar settled in, racing competitively inside the top 10 with a fast No. 42 Sunseeker Resort Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. His strong track position was not by pit strategy but by pure merit and pace.
While Hocevar raced inside the top 10, he was mindful and respectful of his competitors. In fact, his stock car was as pristine as a skillful veteran around the 0.533-mile concrete oval.
When all was said and done in Stage 2, Hocevar placed fifth, a respectable result for the cagey young racer.
“We had a really fast No. 42 Sunseeker Chevy,” Hocevar said. “It was a lot of fun. We were running fifth at one point and I think that’s where we finished in Stage 2. Our car was so fast.”
Based on the scoring monitor data, Hocevar ran competitive times indicative of the top 10 runners, logging a time of 15.597 seconds on Lap 277.
A very motivated Hocevar was matched by an equally delighted crew chief in Luke Lambert. By far, this combination seems to be clicking quite nicely especially in Bristol’s prestigious Saturday night race.
“Luke and this whole LEGACY MOTOR CLUB team has worked so hard,” he said. “They were so excited to come here. This is Luke’s favorite race and it was huge to get a strong finish.
For the balance of Stage 3, Hocevar kept his place inside the top 10 tenaciously, never afraid to run the top lane when others hugged the bottom. As the night progressed, Hocevar’s percolating machine began to get too loose.
“We had a lot of speed,” he said. “We were just too free there at the end. We wanted to get a top 10, but we were really close.”
Still, Hocevar was like Electric Light Orchestra’s 1981 hit tune, “Hold On Tight,” and he made sure his Time counted at Bristol. Now, he will get a chance to race in the premier division as he will compete in Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.