The Beef O’Brady’s Karaoke Challenge will give racers a chance to win an extra $1,000 if they sing a song in its entirety on Thursday, then win Friday night’s 100-lap Rowdy Energy twin feature at Five Flags Speedway. Michigan racer Carson Hocevar said on Monday’s episode of “The Bullring” he was a willing participant, but he really didn’t have a choice.
“I think we can go two-for-two so it’s a dumb bet not to sing at least one song and get that $1,000. If I wasn’t so confident I wouldn’t have that excuse but my mom saw that and said yeah, you’re singing Thursday,” Hocevar said. “It’s $1,000, you’re going to win that $1,000 because you’re going to win the race.”
At just 17 years old, Hocevar is choosing to sing a karaoke classic that outdates him by more than 40 years, with hopes the audience will drown him out during the song.
“I put some sort of thought, probably ‘Sweet Caroline’ because that’s the easiest one. It’ll get everyone else pumped up, even if everyone sings along to that song. I don’t even know how you can’t sing along to that song. It might tune my voice out a little bit so that one will probably be my pick.”
However, he says to not have any lofty expectations for his performance Thursday night.
“I’ve never sang a song in my life, so we’ll find out. I don’t have any aspirations.”
While he doesn’t expect much out of his singing skills for Thursday night, the goals for the Blizzard Series races this weekend are sky high. Hocevar is three weeks removed from his biggest win to date in the ARCA/CRA Super Series portion of the Show Me State Showdown at Lebanon I-44 Speedway.
It was his first race with a new Late Model team, having joined forces with Butch and Johnny VanDoorn while bringing crew chief Zach Dunson over from the now-defunct KBR Development. The partnership began early in 2020 after leaving KBR at the end of last year.
“A lot of people don’t realize I left KBR Development in January. We looked over a lot of Super Late Model programs to try to put together. This is a whole new deal put together with Zach Dunson and Butch VanDoorn and Johnny VanDoorn and VanDoorn Racing. We all came together and had aspirations to try to go win races. I’ve only ran VanDoorn cars so it seemed like it was the best fit.
“I’ve worked with Zach the past four years, he left KBR Development to come do this deal with me,” he added. “To be able to go and win week one with this new team, it’s definitely working a lot better and we’re off to a really good start.”
Last year was a struggle for Hocevar behind the wheel, going winless for the first time in his career. While he scored multiple top-fives in ARCA competition, a third place run in the Masters of the Pro’s at Memphis International Raceway and a fifth in the All American 400 were his only top-fives in a Late Model.
He talked about his struggles last season, even admitting self-doubt in the later months of the year.
“When you’re expected to win week in or week out, or at least contend for wins, that was the big struggle for me last year. We weren’t even in the ballpark, half the time we were running 10th or eighth. You can’t blame the car three weeks in a row, you start to think maybe it’s yourself or your feedback’s off, maybe I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel. There was a long period of time last year where I would’ve told you I don’t know how to Super race.
“I got into our new Carson Hocavar Racing/VanDoorn Racing race car for the first test out and me and Zach were both laughing because I said shoot, this is the best Super I’ve ever drove and this is my first time in it, it was night and day. This is what a Super supposed to feel like.”
With the winless streak gone, he heads to Five Flags Speedway with more confidence than ever. He has struggled at the half-mile over the years, but does have a fourth in the 2018 Snowflake 100 and finished 11th in the event the year before after starting 31st.
Despite his history at the track, Hocevar feels they have what it takes to sweep the weekend.
“I think we have a really good program right now and we’re pretty similar to what we had feeling and handling wise and what we’re expecting. For the Snowball Derby and the Blizzard races last year, for the Derby I was just trying to make the race and for the Blizzard races I was trying to run top-10,” he said. “Now, we’re fully confident we can contend for wins both Friday and Saturday. You can always say you’re going down there and winning, but realistically having a shot, you’d be disappointed in running third or didn’t have the speed to win the race. It’s a different mindset knowing you’ll have such a good race car.”
The Rowdy Energy Twin 100’s will be broadcasted live this weekend on Speed51, presented by JEGS. Click here to purchase your PPV tickets for both events.
Click here to watch a replay of Monday’s “The Bullring” episode.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo