Carson Hocevar took the lead on a restart with 11 laps to go and held on the win the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour race at Winchester Speedway, earning him a spot in the championship race when the series returns to the half-mile speed plant in October. He ran in the middle of the pack for the majority of the race before moving to the front and passing fast qualifier Jack Dossey III on the restart en route to his series-leading third win of the season.
“We were trying to get everything we could there at the beginning, but at the same time we knew we had to save the right front, save the right rear,” Hocevar told Speed51.com Powered by JEGS. This place is really hard on tires, so we were just riding there. We got to 20 to go and (Travis) Braden got by me on the top and then moved to the bottom and started to make moves. I knew that was the only way I could do something, try to get some on the bottom. I went down there and got to 2nd with ten to go and I knew I had to get a good restart. I was kinda in the same situation at Dixie and I got a really good restart going into one and I ended up setting sail.”
Jack Dossey III looked to be on his way to his first-ever JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour victory, but a restart with 11 laps to go proved costly, relegating him to a 10th place finish.
“We had a right reat tire go down,” Dossey said, “I’m not sure if it was due to the contact with the 51 (Eddie Fatscher). We were racing for the lead with 12 to go, you gotta give it your all. Hats off to him (Hocevar), he might have ran me a little bit rougher than I prefer, but it’s all racing. We’re here at Winchester and it’s getting toward the end of the season and we’re just having fun and giving it all we got. But if the tire didn’t go down we’re definitely in Victory Lane.”
Jack Smith and Travis Braden were the class of the field early, but a Lap 63 incident saw Smith get loose and spin out of Turn 2 and collecting Braden. Braden was able to recover for a 4th place finish while Smith was finished for the night.
“It was my bad,” Smith recalled, “I didn’t mean for Travis to get into me like that. But I kept getting more free. Then when I drove it down there it felt like something busted on the right front. I tried to stay off him but I couldn’t do it. It is what it is.”
“He was starting to get free,” Braden tells his side of what happened, “He got loose in 1 and 2 and got sideways and tried to drive through it. I was there but I wasn’t expecting him to spin, but it got worse and he spun and I was this far from him, so nothing I can do to avoid him. Just one of those deals. There was nothing anyone could’ve done there.”
The first half was clean, with only a Lap 10 caution slowing down the race until the Lap 63 incident between Smith and Braden battling for the lead. From there, Dossey would hold off Eddie Fatscher and Hocevar until Fatscher hit the wall in Turn 4 on Lap 89, setting up the final restart. From there, Hocevar would take the lead and pick up the victory.
Last weekend, Hocevar picked up the Berlin Raceway track championship in the Battle at Berlin 251 in a Chase-style format similar to the one being used in all the CRA series. His victory at Winchester locks himself into the championship race at Winchester on Winchester 400 weekend.
“That gives us confidence to try stuff and go for wins here in the next two races. Winning the Berlin championship gave us good confidence in this whole chase format. It came out in our favor, so we’re gonna try to do the same thing here in the JEGS Tour. Hopefully we’ll be alright when we come back here, but we’ll focus on the next two weeks.”
CRA Street Stock regular Mason Keller finished a career-high 2nd, followed by David Carter and Travis Braden. Mandy Chick rounds out the Top 5 in a career-best effort.
The JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour moves on to Owosso Speedway next weekend is Race Two of the JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Chase.