That changes next weekend with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver making his Pro All Stars Series (PASS) debut at the twin Easter Bunny 150s. It comes full-circle for Hocevar, who made his first laps in a full-size car at “The Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars” in an Outlaw Super Late Model owned by former NASCAR Truck and Xfinity Series champion and fellow Michigan native Johnny Benson.
“I’ve been trying to race Hickory for a long time now. That was the first track I ever turned laps in a Stock Car at. I ran Johnny Benson’s Outlaw Late Model when I was about 11. I’ve got thousands of laps there but I’ve still yet to run a race,” Hocevar told Speed51. “To finally get to go down there for the PASS Easter Bunny, it’s two 150s so we’ll get a lot of racing in. The track’s just a blast to drive.”
While Hocevar has yet to compete in a Late Model race at Hickory, he does have one start at the speedway. He competed in a USAC Eastern Midget race at Hickory as a 12 year old in 2015, finishing 11th that day.
While he hasn’t made laps around the track in several years now, one thing that he says will play into his favor is the similarity between Hickory and a track in his home state. With two race days and an extra day of practice, Hocevar doesn’t expect it to take too long to get reacclimatted to the track.
“I remember the past tests and the Midget stuff but not a lot translates. It’s pretty similar to Berlin from what I remember characteristics-wise and how you approach each turn, which would be good for me.
“I know the bumps have changed quite a bit, it’s gotten a lot more abrasive just off of hearing about what the track’s kid of turned into. We’ll just have to see when we get down there, we’ll have a lot of practice throughout the week and we get two races to take a shot at it.”
Two separate marquee races in the same weekend brings on an extra challenge compared to a normal doubleheader weekend. For Hocevar, the tone of the weekend will be set with the first Easter Bunny 150 Friday night and making sure he gets out of there with a clean car for the second 150-lapper Saturday evening.
You just have to be smart and take what you can get, try not to overachieve in the first one. Nobody wants to tear it up in the first race and have to miss the second race or roll the backup car out. Circumstances might lead to that, whether you break something or something happens in front of you or whatever the case may be, but nobody’s wanting to roll the backup out. You just have to take what you can get and if you have a clean car you can work on making it better for the next night instead of having to rush to get it prepared. – Carson Hocevar
As the defending winner of the Winchester 400, Redbud 400 and Money in the Bank 150, Hocevar is no stranger to winning marquee races. He will have two opportunities to add to what is quickly becoming a deep resume next weekend when he joins PASS for his first two Easter Bunny 150s.
“Hopefully we can win one of the two but if we can make it to the scale shed the first night, we’ll have something to build off of for the second night. I’d imagine we’ll be in contention if we execute correctly and play our cards right.”
Both Easter Bunny 150s will be broadcasted live on Speed51.TV during the April 2-3 weekend, with single-day and weekend passes available to purchase. Click here for more information.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo