Carson Hocevar will have a busy weekend this Halloween weekend. The Michigan native will compete in Sunday’s All American 400 at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, but not before he hops into a Truck to make his sixth NASCAR Truck Series start of the year at Martinsville Speedway Friday night.
It’ll be a weekend that will see Hocevar make the 450-mile trek between the two racetracks to compete in two different-styled cars. It calls for an altered plan going into the Super Late Model crown jewel, with his team getting the car prepared while he is racing in Virginia.
“Hopefully this goes according to plan. We went and tested last week, Butch VanDoorn came down, Johnny (VanDoorn)’s going to be here this weekend. Zach (Dunson)’s been working on the race car hand over fist trying to get it ready and prepped,” Hocevar told Speed51. “We’ve had really good speed, I felt like. I won’t be able to make it to the open test on Friday. Rain pending, hopefully I’ll be able to qualify for that.”
The car won’t spend the entire time sitting during that open practice session Friday night. It’ll be in good hands during the day with former All American 400 winner Johnny VanDoorn climbing into the No. 14 to make a couple runs.
“Johnny’s going to shake it down once or twice and make sure everything’s alright, and then it’ll sit there until I’m done at Martinsville. Hopefully everything goes to plan and works out, but I think we’ll have a good race car whether we get to qualify and start up front or come from the tail on Sunday.”
Hocevar’s comeback 2020 season has been well-documented to this point. After going winless in 2019, the 17-year-old has clicked off six big wins during the season. His most recent trip to victory lane was his biggest, winning the Winchester 400 in dominating fashion after leading 342 laps.
In ten Late Model races so far in 2020, his average finish has been 4.4. Remove a 22nd-place result from the Slinger Nationals after suffering a mechanical issue, and that average goes down to a 2.4. He also enters Sunday’s All American 400 on a four-race winning streak dating back to Labor Day weekend.
This has come after leaving KBR Development in favor of a new team featuring Johnny and Butch VanDoorn, which has immediately paid off.
“It’s been real fortunate, it’s not real often you get these years, let alone these type of races. I’m just lucky enough, it takes a lot to win these big races, it takes a lot of luck. To be able to have good race cars, that takes the luck factor. We’ve had some bad luck this year but I feel like a really good race car makes it easier to overcome bad luck. It’s been really meaningful for me, coming from not winning anything to going from zero to hero basically, winning a handful of marquee races with the season not even being over yet.”
This year’s All American 400 has been downsized to 300 laps, compared to the 400 laps that had been on the schedule since 2016. Hocevar knows those extra 100 laps can be big. He finished fifth in last year’s 400-lap affair, but it would’ve been a completely different story if it were just 300.
“I think 100 laps is huge, if it would’ve ended at lap 300 last year, I would’ve been two or three laps down. There’s a lot of stuff that can happen in 100 laps, especially between 300 and 400. That’s a lot of time at a big racetrack like Nashville, it’s not too huge but it’s bigger than a lot of tracks we go to.”
Hocevar can accomplish a feat done by just two other drivers Sunday afternoon. He can join Michigan legend Butch Miller (1989) and Ross Kenseth (2012) as the only drivers to win the Redbud, Winchester 400 and All American 400 in the same calendar year.
“It would be huge to cap off another 300, 400-lap win. To be able to win the Redbud 400, Winchester 400 and All American 400 all in the same year, let alone in any timespan. Not a lot of people can say they’ve won all three but to win it all in one year and in the first year with myself and VanDoorn, I think it would be huge as a company and for me as a race car driver.”
Speed51.TV will be live from Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway for all three days of All American 400 weekend, including the Super Late Model main event on Sunday, November 1. Order your video ticket for the All American 400 today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo