ARCA/CRA Super Series teams hit the track at Anderson Speedway (IN) for open practice to prepare for Monday night’s Redbud 400. One of the favorites found himself a bit behind the eight-ball after having to go to a backup car.
Former series champion Josh Brock has already won at Anderson this year with the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour, and his quest for the Redbud win took a hit early in practice. He blew a motor early in the four-hour session and the team chose to go to another car.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Brock after taking the backup out for the first time.
“We really were just working on our backup car. We blew a motor in our second session so we brought out the backup car and it’s a better car anyway,” Brock told Speed51. “It feels better, turns better, way more drive. It’s a good thing, we just didn’t want to tear up this car in the Redbud 400 because it’s going to have a lot of scratches and bruises on this thing, but it’s fine. You’ve got to fix them anyway.”
Even after the switch to the backup, Brock feels good about his chances come Monday night. He’s already seen success with the car in the past, and he can add another big win at the Redbud.
“I think we’re going to be good for tomorrow. We have a really good car, it’ll be an exciting 400 laps. This car is the one that won Nashville and it’s ran good everywhere it goes, that’s the good thing. I hate we blew that engine but life goes on, it’s better that it happened today and not tomorrow when you can’t work on the car.”
While the 2018 series champion had his share of problems, it was just the opposite for the 2019 champion. Greg Van Alst set the fastest lap of the day with a 12.201 seconds around the high-banked quarter-mile.
Van Alst’s gameplan for Sunday’s session at his home track was a simple one.
“This is home, so we don’t have to tune ourselves out here like we do at some other places,” Van Alst said. “I just look for a certain feel and once we found that we pretty much stayed with it.”
Van Alst finished sixth in last year’s Redbud, but has struggled to finish off races at the event in the past. He looks to buck that trend in the final laps and go to ARCA/CRA Super Series victory lane for the first time in his career.
“You’ve got to be there at the end. We’ve been towards the front the last few 400’s and it always seems at 75 laps to go we have issues, whatever it is. We’ve got to have more patience for 350 laps versus 325. Hopefully we’ll qualify up front and run there all day.”
Carson Hocevar was also near the top of the board throughout the day in a new ride. He is taking over the TK Motorsports No. 71 that Johnny VanDoorn took to his third Redbud win one year ago after his wife gave birth to their daughter last week.
The pressure on Hocevar went away after his first time on-track.
“I’m real thankful Johnny and Butch and Lisa Thomas and TK Racing had enough confidence in me that I could come and run this. To be able to have the opportunity to fill the shoes of Johnny after they had a baby last week is something special,” Hocevar said. “It’s less pressure than they all thought with me having a good car. We unloaded really good, so we should be really good.”
Even with a new driver, the No. 71 is still one of the fastest cars on the property As Hocevar gets set for his first Redbud 400 start Monday night, he notes the most important thing that has to be done if he wants a shot at the win.
“Just not falling out of the seat. It’s 400 laps, you’re going to have to withstand all 400. Having all four fenders on and being in the right spot at the right time come the end of 400, there always seems to be a late-race restart.”
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-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo