Carson Hocevar Will Be Racing for His Playoff Life at Kansas
His future remains bright, but the present poses a problem for Carson Hocevar in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Though his numbers are better across the board compared to his rookie season, Hocevar risks crashing out of the playoffs at Kansas this weekend.
Carson Hocevar is presumably in a three-way race for the final spot
The truck series has been off since Aug. 13 at Richmond, the second race of the first elimination stage. Once the series resumes at Kansas Speedway on Friday, the field goes from 10 drivers to eight.
Grant Enfinger and Chandler Smith won at Lucas Oil Park and Richmond, respectively, and four others are fairly safe. Additionally, Ben Rhodes is 21 points to the good vs. the cut line, so he’s feeling fairly safe, too.
Matt Crafton comes to Kansas three points ahead of Carson Hocevar and six up on Christian Eckes for the final spot, baring a disastrous day for Rhodes.
Carson Hocevar knows his season is on the line at Kansas
Carson Hocevar, 19, is one of the better-known drivers in the truck series despite not having won a race in 49 starts, dating to two appearances in 2019 as a 16-year-old. However, he has already doubled last season’s three top-five showings and has 10 top-10 results compared to just eight all of last year.
Additionally, his average finish of 12.2 is an improvement from last year. He has finished on the lead lap in 15 of 18 races despite competing for part of the season with a broken right ankle.
Hocevar made it to the round of eight as a rookie, but finishes of 22nd at Las Vegas and 25th at Talladega put him too far down to qualify for the Championship 4 by making up the difference at Martinsville.
This time around, 21st place at Lucas Oil Park put Hocevar in a hole again. Fortunately, intermediate tracks are the No. 42 Chevy’s strong suit. Hocevar placed 16th at Kansas in the spring but still came away encouraged.
“We showed solid speed to fight from the back in the spring and we think the mile-and-a-half program at Niece Motorsports is our strong suit,” he said in the team’s weekly update. “Friday night will be all about execution and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The bad news for him is that Christian Eckes could potentially leave Hocevar in his dust. Eckes finished fifth in the season’s first Kansas race, and he has shown up in the top five in three of his five career starts there. So, starting the night three points behind Hocevar shouldn’t be a worry.
All stats courtesy of Racing Reference.
Got a question or observation about racing? Sportscasting’s John Moriello does a mailbag column each Friday. Write to him at [email protected].