The long and open layout of World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway presented an opportunity for the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour racers to open up the throttles and race on the razor’s edge on Tuesday night. While chaos was present up and down the field, it didn’t dampen the tremendous duel up front.
It became a real-world racer vs. sim racer battle, as ARCA Menards Series driver Carson Hocevar took on sim elite Chad Frankenfield over the final half of the 80-lap race. Frankenfield started the race on pole, but Hocevar made his way to the front after starting 12th.
Despite a flurry of overtake attempts by Frankenfield, Hocevar held off all challenges to score his first Speed51 Elite Modified Tour win of the 2019-2020 Fall/Winter season.
“It was fun, I wish we could’ve gotten in a little more green flag racing in. But with those restarts I was able to kind of control the lane. The top was just so good tonight. I took less fuel than I think a lot of other people did, the car was bottoming out a ton already. So, I think that helped out my straightaway speed to keep me out front,” Hocevar told Speed51.
Frankenfield believed that he had the faster car as the end drew near, but that it was Hocevar’s steady hands that kept him at bay.
“I think I might have been a little better, but with how close we were running, and how the track had multiple grooves, it was going to take a screw up on his end,” Frankenfield said. “I noticed a couple guys roll in on the top and turn, I feel like most of your passing is going to go under. What was happening in three was that you could run the bottom and get a good run off. He was able to stick that outside lane in three and make it impossible for me to pass him.”
The main aim for Hocevar in the Speed51 Elite Modified Tour may be to have fun, but winning still gets him fired up. Especially with the Elite Racing League Snowball Derby looming near.
“It’s great to win anything, but I’m just looking for a good time, whether I’m leading or running 17th. Obviously if you’re winning a race you feel good. But, pretty excited for the ERL Snowball Derby later this year, and that should be a good one.”
Behind the lead duel was Ryan Blanchard finishing in the third position while Brandon Wilkinson held off Vincent Isabella for fourth. Joey Bailey, Chuck Sweeting, Mike Christopher Jr, Ken Zeames, and Scot Haney rounded out the top 10.
Race fans can watch an on-demand replay of Tuesday night's race at World Wide Technology Raceway by clicking here.
The Speed51 Elite Modified Tour continues its three-race Midwest swing next Tuesday, November 19 at Iowa Speedway.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT