Carson Hocevar’s first Snowball Derby experience didn’t exactly go as planned. He made the 300-lap race through the last chance qualifier, but a crash on a restart around Lap 60 ended his race early. But, Hocevar and his team were planning on doing double-duty between the Snowball Derby and the Snowflake 100, and Hocevar said he feels like he still has a chance at scoring a monumental win at Five Flags Speedway in the rescheduled Allen Turner Snowflake 100 on Sunday, December 9th.
“We felt like we were a top-three car,” explained Hocevar on Thursday afternoon. “It just comes down to the final few restarts that it seems like always happen. It’s just sort of on me now. The car has the potential. I just have to figure out how to outrun Bubba (Pollard) and (Jeff) Choquette. Everybody knows they’ll be the cars to beat, and (Casey) Roderick could be up there too. It just comes down to pretty much myself figuring it out and trying to outrun them there at the end.”
Hocevar has had no trouble quickly “figuring it out” in the past. Hocevar was the youngest winner in the history of the Late Model division at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway in 2016 as a 13-year-old. He was eventually forced to sit out the rest of the season by NASCAR because he was deemed to young to race in a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanctioned event.
Since then, Hocevar has gone on to become a consistent title contender in the highest levels of the Champion Racing Association in the Midwest, and he won the track championship at Berlin Raceway in 2017 as well.
But the Snowball Derby and the Snowflake 100 are completely different than any touring series event or weekly division race that Hocevar has ever run with more than 50 cars trying to qualify into both events.
Hocevar was able to make the Snowball Derby, and even though he wasn’t able to complete even one-third of the race, the 15-year old driver said he still was able to gain a ton of knowledge about racing at Five Flags.
“I was struggling in one and two, but those 55 or 60 laps that I got to run in the Derby really helped. I was focusing on a straight run up off. I figured something out getting into the corner. Whether it applies to the Pro car, I don’t know. We’ll have to see in the hundred. Just line wise that helped me a little bit getting in the race. I felt like I was better than most in one and two for sure.”
In his Pro Late Model, Hocevar said the car was so good that he and his team barely made any changes throughout the weekend before the rains that eventually postponed the event arrived at the race track.
“We really unloaded good and didn’t really touch it or anything. We had issues with power steering. I’ve yet to hear if we ended up fixing that or not. If not, no big deal. I’ll just have to race with no power steering. That was the plan last week was to race with no power steering. Nothing has really changed there, but that was really the only issue we had with the Pro car. We just fine-tuned things and we mainly just made it almost worse, went back to square one and that was the best we had it. That car was really good, so we’re really excited about our chances. That’s the main reason we’re coming back. That thing is so good that it could very well win the race.”
Should Hocevar be able to pull off the victory, he said that it would be the biggest victory of his life to date.
“Any race you win, whether it’s the Pro Trucks or the Modifieds or whatever, Snowball Derby weekend is the biggest race in Short Track Racing throughout the year. If you can win in any division there, it would be huge.”
Carson Hocevar and his fellow Pro Late Model drivers will hit the track on Sunday, December 9thfor the rescheduled Allen Turner Snowflake 100. Race fans that cannot make it to Five Flags Speedway can watch the action live with Speed51.com’s live pay-per-view coverage.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com