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Carson Hocevar appeared heading toward his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory Friday night, May 28, at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but his Niece Motorsports teammate Ross Chastain snuck through for the win in his No. 41 Worldwide Express Chevrolet in a wild last-lap pass.
He led just four laps.
The win was the fourth for Chastain in the Truck Series and his first since 2019 at Pocono Raceway. He also became the eighth different driver to visit victory lane this season.
“Carson Hocevar and that No. 42 team dominated tonight,” Chastain said post-race. “Al Niece (team owner) has given us trucks to come out and fight for wins. I hate it so much for Carson. If I had chosen the bottom (lane) like he did, I would have done the same thing. You’re just in a bad spot and I would have given him the push he needed to win.
“I’m so proud of Carson. I just want to say that over and over. I love him. We learn together and we lose together. I’m ready to bust (a watermelon)!”
The Win That Could’ve Been
Hocevar led 57 of 143 laps but was involved in two separate incidents during the first overtime session that ultimately ended his chances of winning. Coming off turn 2, Hocevar made contact with Ryan Preece, stuffing the No. 17 RaceChoice.com Ford into the wall. Just moments later, Hocevar washed up the track and ran into Preece again. However, this time Hocevar wasn’t so lucky as he spun his truck around and smacked the outside wall. Preece also sustained further damage and finished 11th. Hocevar, who took responsibility for the incident, wound up 16th.
The leaders take each other out!!! pic.twitter.com/9v6rMjF1rj
— NASCAR Camping World Trucks (@NASCAR_Trucks) May 28, 2022
“A dumbass move by myself,” Hocevar said. “I tried too hard. I feel like a sis crying.”
However, Preece, a former full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver, had no sympathy for Hocevar.
"All you kids watching right now wanting to get to this level … don't do that. Race with respect."
A very frustrated Ryan Preece after the late crash with Carson Hocevar at Charlotte: pic.twitter.com/w9WaYI4a8l
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) May 28, 2022
Hocevar pushed back against the comments and withheld using full-blown profanity.
Hocevar pushes back against Preece's assertion that he makes a lot of mistakes. He says he's crashed once this year, at Vegas, and that was from Preece behind him. pic.twitter.com/JpPo6KnRXz
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverRA) May 28, 2022
Hocevar did, though, receive support from at least one driver. Erik Jones, who currently competes in the NASCAR Cup Series behind the wheel of the famed No. 43 Petty GMS Motorsports Chevrolet, stood up for the young driver.
My stomach hurts for Hocevar. Want to see him come home with this one!
— Erik Jones (@Erik_Jones) May 28, 2022
Mr. Consistency picked up his third top-three finish in his last four races. That would be Enfinger, who is inching closer and closer to picking up his first win since 2020 behind the wheel of the No. 23 Chevrolet Silverado for GMS Racing.
“Man, we had a good push going, and I’m glad I was able to push my buddy Ross Chastain to the win,” he said. “I wish we could have got there, but I think that even if we had another lap to catch him, [it would have been tough to pass him]. So, in my book, he owes us one, but man, I’m proud of these GMS Racing guys, everyone on this Champion Power Equipment Chevy has worked their tails off. They’ve been kicked in the teeth quite a bit this year, but man, they’ve worked so hard.
“I’ve never had this much effort put into a vehicle I’ve driven in my entire life, and I’m so proud of that. We’re getting there and we will have something to win with at [World Wide Technology Raceway at] Gateway.”
On the final lap, Nemechek pushed his way to the lead, but was unable to hold back Enfinger and Chastain. Nonetheless, Nemechek extended his point lead by three points.
Eckes also had a taste of the lead on the penultimate lap, but he too could not hold on to the point.
The 57 laps led by Hocevar were a career-high for the 19-year-old.
Zane Smith, who led the second-highest amount of laps with 52, held off Ty Majeski to win stage one, and Rhodes won the second stage under caution.
33 of the 35 drivers in the field hail from the United States, but two come from outside the home of the brave. Friesen, of Canada, finished ninth, and Max Gutierrez, of Mexico, piloted his No. 37 Toughbuilt / Distributed Ledger Chevrolet to a 26th-place finish in his series debut.
Brennan Poole had driveshaft issues and finished the race last after dropping out following 38 laps of competition.
On lap 54, Tate Fogleman spun off turn 4 to bring out the first natural caution of the race. On the subsequent restart, rookie Jack Wood and Matt Mills collided to bring out a yellow on lap 59, which handed Rhodes a stage win.
No. 9 – Blaine Perkins
No. 24 – Jack Wood
No. 40 – Dean Thompson
No. 45 – Lawless Alan
No. of rookies in the race: 4
No. of rookies in the top 10: 0
Rookie of the Race: Alan (22nd)
Nemechek (383 points) continues to lead Rhodes (-7). We have a new third-place driver; following a P5 result, Zane Smith has taken over the bronze position (-25) followed by Chandler Smith (-29) and Texas winner Friesen (-33).
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