KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Despite missing valuable stage points early in the Kansas Lottery 200 at Kansas Speedway, Carson Hocevar held the lead late in the running to potentially advance into the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
But on the final lap, a sputter of fuel and a drop to second meant a loss of championship hopes by a mere three points.
“I thought I saved too much,” Hocevar shared after the race. “Then the truck sputtered before the whole final lap. That’s why the 4 truck was catching me so quickly down the front stretch. I know where I lost the race. The 19 had a flat tire in front of me and I was stuck right behind him and had to slam on the brakes. As quick as the 4 truck was, he needed every lap back and I needed those three seconds.”
When John Hunter Nemechek finished a perfect sweep of stage points and the victory, the fuel strategy left the No. 42 camp hoping his competition would fall back far enough to secure their spot by points. That wasn’t the case.
“One last lap,” he joked. “It couldn’t have rained or someone hit a button by accident?”
“I was just trying to nail laps. I was just trying to realize that it would be worthless if I ran out of fuel. I didn’t care a single bit about points. If I could win the race, the points would take care of itself. Even though we struggled early with an ill-handling truck, we somehow figured out how to get it up front.”
But Hocevar has a slightly different approach to etching his name into the record books, and his explanation shows the maturity of the 19-year old.
“It may be a terrible philosophy, but if we’re going to win a championship, we’re going to need to win a race,” stated Hocevar.
In the Playoff era, it has only happened once across all three national touring series when Matt Crafton won the Truck title in 2019 after going to victory lane that season for a grand total of zero times. Daniel Hemric nearly matched that statistic last year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but had to win at Phoenix Raceway to claim the championship.
It’s an even split among the remaining drivers, some stating that a win is necessary to make the Championship 4 in November while others understand that consistency can get you into the hunt on points alone.
For Hocevar, he would love to spoil the party by showing he belongs in the sport.