SAN FRANCISCO – Daniel Suárez could have a very busy schedule at Sonoma Raceway this weekend.
Not only will he vie for his elusive NASCAR Cup Series win this Sunday, but he’ll also standby for Carson Hocevar in the Camping World Truck Series’ return to “Wine Country” after 24 years.
Hocevar is dealing with an ankle injury after last Saturday’s horrific last-lap crash at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway.
While battling with Derek Kraus, both drivers tangled resulting in Hocevar spinning in turn 1. With nowhere to go, Tyler Hill slammed onto Hocevar’s driver’s door, requiring further medical assistance.
Following his first DNF of the season, Hocevar ended up 24th which also marked only his second non-top-20 finish of the season.
Hocevar did not comment specifically until Wednesday afternoon when he mentioned about Suárez stepping up to the occasion during a difficult time period.
“I’m feeling better every day and I’m looking forward to being behind the wheel of the No. 42 Worldwide Express Chevrolet this weekend,” said Hocevar in a press release. “I’m thankful for Daniel Suárez willingness to step up this weekend for our No. 42 team.
“None of this is possible without the great partnership Niece Motorsports has formed with Worldwide Express and Trackhouse Racing.”
Suárez last competed in the Truck Series at the Bristol Dirt Race last year when he finished 17th for Young’s Motorsports. Besides the one-off, he hasn’t been in the series since 2016 and never logged laps in the series on a road course.
The biggest picture for the entire No. 42 team is hoping Hocevar can run the entire 75 laps. If Hocevar starts the race but hands the truck over to Suárez, Hocevar will receive credit for all points.
“(Carson’s) a young kid that’s very talented. He does a great job behind the wheel. Very unfortunate what happened to him at Gateway,” Suárez said. “I hope he’s able to make the full race. But in case that he’s not, I’m going to be there ready for him. Obviously, he’s in the fight for the Playoffs. It’s important to do whatever we can to keep him in that fight.”
Due to the accident, Hocevar had to forgo racing the No. 17 McGowan Motorsports Chevrolet for Saturday’s ARCA Menards Series West’s event, the General Tire 200. Instead, it’ll be Kern County winner, Landen Lewis, behind the wheel of the car (2:20 p.m. ET on FloRacing).
Similar to Suárez in Cup, Hocevar is searching for his maiden win in the Truck Series. He’s come close on several occasions with two runner-up finishes this season at Bristol Dirt and Darlington.
Suárez noted that Hocevar’s youth and hungry determination to win has shined bright and it’s a matter of time he’ll visit victory lane. The accident from last Saturday shouldn’t discourage the Wisconsin racer.
“I think he’s going to be just fine,” said Suárez. “What happened to him at Gateway is part of the sport. There’s nothing he could’ve done different. He’s going to win races because he’s very talented, it’s just a matter of time.”
The 19-year-old is currently eighth in points, 70 points above the cutoff line with five races left until the playoffs begin at Lucas Oil Raceway Park next month.
While Hocevar’s doctors cleared him to compete at Sonoma, NASCAR will meet up with him Friday to assure he’s deemed safe to race. Finally, Hocevar is expected to speak with the press in Sonoma on Friday at 2:00 p.m. PT.
Live race coverage of the DoorDash 250 at Sonoma begins Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.