Chastain Earns Emotional Trucks Win

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 28 2022

Ross Chastain was among the happy people after Friday’s Truck Series Race in Concord. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C. – Anger, despair, and exhilaration – three intense emotions that defined NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Following Friday night’s race, Ryan Preece was furious at Niece Motorsports driver Carson Hocevar. The 19-year-old Hocevar was in tears, and teammate Ross Chastain jubilantly celebrated his victory with his signature watermelon smash to the fans’ cheers. It was a true exhibition of racing’s emotional toll, one straight out of a Hollywood script.

With five laps remaining, Hocevar possessed a 6.224-second lead over Preece. The Michigan teenager appeared headed for his first career victory. Then Jesse Little and Tyler Ankrum tangled in turn three with four laps remaining. That sent the race into overtime and created the emotional swing.

For the restart, Hocevar chose the inside and Preece the outside and that proved to be Hocevar’s undoing. Side-by-side they charged into turn three. Hocevar’s truck slid up and into Preece, taking them both into the wall. Chastain dove to the inside, took the lead and then survived a three-wide final lap with Grant Enfinger and John Hunter Nemechek to claim his fourth career Truck Series victory.

Hocevar, who finished 16th, climbed from his truck, sat down beside it and cried. Preece, who placed 11th, wasn’t sympathetic.

“All you kids watching right now wanting to get to this level, don’t do that,” Preece said about the first overtime wreck involving Hocevar and himself. “Race with respect. Don’t wreck the guy on the outside of you trying to win your first race. It doesn’t get you anywhere. It’s just really stupid! Don’t be like that.
“I race for a living and if I don’t run good, I don’t make a lot of money. So, I’m pissed right now.”

Hocevar, who led twice for 57 of the 143 laps, knew he made a mistake. That’s part of learning. Chastain, who’s 10 years Hocevar’s senior, also knew his Niece Motorsports teammate made a mistake, but he could only praise him during his post-race interview.

“If I would have given him that shove into turn one on the second to last restart, he would have won the race and Preece never would have been close,” Chastain said. “I messed up. I let him down. So that put him in a really bad spot with Preece tight on his door and Preece knew what he was doing. You know what’s going to happen whenever you’re racing for the win like this. Mistakes were made by all of us and Preece isn’t immune to that.”

Chastain described Hocevar as a “goofy kid” but noted “he’s so good at 19 years old and probably a future star of the sport. It’s amazing to me that he’s 10 years younger than me and he’s doing things that I’m learning from him.”

The Truck Series next race is June 5 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill.


NASCAR Truck Series Race

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Concord, North Carolina

Friday, May 27, 2022

  1. (5)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 143.
  2. (11)  Grant Enfinger, Chevrolet, 143.
  3. (15)  John Hunter Nemechek, Toyota, 143.
  4. (9)  Christian Eckes, Toyota, 143.
  5. (2)  Zane Smith, Ford, 143.
  6. (6)  Tanner Gray, Ford, 143.
  7. (3)  Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 143.
  8. (7)  Chandler Smith, Toyota, 143.
  9. (13)  Stewart Friesen, Toyota, 143.
  10. (12)  Ben Rhodes, Toyota, 143.
  11. (8)  Ryan Preece, Ford, 143.
  12. (16)  Derek Kraus, Chevrolet, 143.
  13. (1)  Ty Majeski, Toyota, 143.
  14. (20)  Colby Howard, Chevrolet, 143.
  15. (17)  Chase Purdy, Toyota, 143.
  16. (4)  Carson Hocevar, Chevrolet, 143.
  17. (10)  Matt Dibenedetto, Chevrolet, 142.
  18. (18)  Matt Crafton, Toyota, 142.
  19. (22)  Kris Wright, Chevrolet, 142.
  20. (25)  Tyler Ankrum, Toyota, 142.
  21. (30)  Timmy Hill, Toyota, 141.
  22. (33)  Lawless Alan #, Chevrolet, 141.
  23. (19)  Jack Wood #, Chevrolet, 141.
  24. (27)  Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 141.
  25. (26)  Austin Wayne Self, Chevrolet, 141.
  26. (31)  Max Gutierrez, Chevrolet, 140.
  27. (35)  Hailie Deegan, Ford, 140.
  28. (24)  Dean Thompson #, Chevrolet, 139.
  29. (21)  Tate Fogleman, Toyota, 139.
  30. (29)  Blaine Perkins #, Chevrolet, 139.
  31. (32)  Josh Reaume, Toyota, 138.
  32. (14)  Jesse Little, Chevrolet, Accident, 128.
  33. (34)  Keith McGee, Toyota, Suspension, 67.
  34. (23)  Matt Mills(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 57.
  35. (28)  Brennan Poole, Toyota, Driveshaft, 38.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  125.827 mph.

Time of Race:  1 Hrs, 42 Mins, 17 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.102 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 25 laps.

Lead Changes:  15 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   T. Majeski 1;Z. Smith 2-8;T. Majeski 9;Z. Smith 10-54;D. Kraus 55-56;B. Rhodes 57-61;C. Eckes 62-65;R. Preece 66-71;C. Hocevar 72-99;T. Majeski 100-101;M. Crafton 102-106;C. Hocevar 107-135;R. Preece 136-138;R. Chastain(i) 139-141;C. Eckes 142;R. Chastain(i) 143.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Carson Hocevar 2 times for 57 laps; Zane Smith 2 times for 52 laps; Ryan Preece 2 times for 9 laps; Matt Crafton 1 time for 5 laps; Christian Eckes 2 times for 5 laps; Ben Rhodes 1 time for 5 laps; Ty Majeski 3 times for 4 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 2 times for 4 laps; Derek Kraus 1 time for 2 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 38,66,17,42,41,51,25,98,88,23

Stage #2 Top Ten: 99,98,17,42,4,38,25,41,66,19


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 28 2022
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